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I’m an independent IT consultant and entrepreneur in the Internet and software business. I’m interested in design, enterprise applications, web apps and SaaS products. I design and develop business solutions and applications. I help companies in terms of software quality and knowledge transfer, e.g. with Angular and Spring Boot.

7 Practical Design Tips

Some time ago, Adam Wathan & Steve Schoger of Tailwind CSS and Refactoring UI published this article with "7 Practical Tips for Cheating at Design". While I don't think that you can actually cheat at design, design being a skill that can and has to be learned, practiced, and honed like any other, pragmatic advice such as using colour and font weight for creating information hierarchy can help with achieving some quick wins and reaping the low-hanging fruit when it comes to ... Read more

Stratospheric – 1.6 Released: AWS CDK Bootstrapping 🏗

This week, we released version 1.6 of Stratospheric - From Zero to Production with Spring Boot and AWS. The main reason behind this release is that we somehow entirely missed talking about an important topic: Bootstrapping an AWS environment for the AWS CDK. You may have already run into this issue when trying to deploy one of our AWS CDK stacks: Has the environment been bootstrapped? Please run 'cdk bootstrap' We've now added a dedicated section on the AWS environment bootstrapping and explained the why ... Read more

Spring Framework RCE Vulnerability With War File Deployments on Tomcat

Yesterday, an RCE vulnerability in the Spring Framework has been announced: Spring Framework RCE, Early Announcement CVE-2022-22965: Spring Framework RCE via Data Binding on JDK 9+ While, as of now, only WAR deployments of Spring Boot applications running under Apache Tomcat seem to be affected, it is still recommended to upgrade to Spring Boot 2.6.6 as soon as possible, even for Spring-based applications deployed as a JAR, because "the vulnerability is more general, and there may be other ways to exploit it that have ... Read more

Christopher Alexander – Patterns in Architecture

Sadly, a few days ago, seminal architect and design theorist Christopher Alexander passed away. Having coined the term "pattern language" Christopher Alexander is considered the father of the pattern language movement. It is this term we as software engineers - oftentimes quite casually - refer to when we're talking about design patterns. In 1996, Christopher Alexander gave this compelling talk at the 1996 ACM Conference on Object-Oriented Programs, Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA): In this talk, Alexander addresses the connection between architecture and software ... Read more

Performing Effective Code Reviews – A Checklist

A few years ago, software architect Surender Reddy Gutha compiled a - still quite relevant - Code Review Checklist. All too often, when performing code reviews, we as software engineers tend to focus on minute details such as code formatting rather than the big picture, non-functional requirements, or architecture and security considerations. Perhaps, the problem already originates with the term code review: Rather than reviewing code we are - or should be - reviewing the resulting software and the impact code changes ... Read more

Documenting REST APIs Provided by Express Applications

swagger-jsdoc is an NPM library that allows us to generate an OpenAPI specification for REST APIs provided by an Express application. swagger-jsdoc consumes YAML-formatted OpenAPI specification segments within JSDoc comments annotated with the @openapi annotation and turns those into a comprehensive OpenAPI specification for our API. This specification, in turn, can for example be used for automatically having a Swagger UI documentation page created for our REST APIs (using Swagger UI Express, for instance). While annotating Express routes with syntactically and semantically correct OpenAPI ... Read more

endoflife.date – Dataset with End-of-life Dates for Products

Recently, I came across endoflife.date, which is a quite useful database of product end-of-life dates. While it also includes hardware products (e.g., various iPhone models), its current main focus is software products, in particular those used in (enterprise) software development, such as Java, Spring, or Angular, or infrastructure and runtime environments like Docker or the Apache HTTP Server. A comprehensive, searchable collection of lifetimes for library and framework versions can come in handy when assessing - and potentially improving - the future ... Read more

Clearing the Spring Security Context During Unit Testing

Last week I wrote about a minimal Spring Security Context setup for unit testing. I'd like to add just a tiny, yet depending on your use case perhaps quite important, tidbit to that: In case you need to reset a SecurityContext setup, e.g., a mocked user authentication, because, for instance, other test methods from the same unit test class verify behaviour for an unauthenticated application state and hence expect an anonymous user, you can clear the SecurityContext (for example, in your ... Read more

Minimal Spring Security Context Setup for Unit Testing

Creating a minimal Spring Security setup for JUnit unit tests can be a tedious as well as somewhat daunting task. With its Authentication, Principal, GrantedAuthority, and UserDetails classes Spring Security is extremely flexible and configurable and probably accommodates pretty much every authentication and authorization use case under the sun. However, in software architecture such flexibility often comes at price, the trade-off in this case being that simple use cases can require more implementation effort than one would expect. One such use case ... Read more

Optimising Docker Image Sizes: “Self-extracting” Node.js Applications

As a follow-up on last week's article on tools for inspecting Docker images, and Docker image sizes in particular, today I'd like to introduce another - more custom - approach for reducing the size of Docker images for production deployments. As a means of shaving off an additional 50 MB from the packaged application in question I came up with an idea somewhat reminiscent of the self-extracting archives of yore (of the WinRAR and 7-Zip flavours, for instance) for reducing the size ... Read more
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