Tip and tricks for learning a new code base

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As a consultant, approaching new code bases is something that happens every day. As exciting as it sounds however, working on many different projects can be really tough. This is because in many occasions we are not provided with all the details that we need, but we just requested to fix something that is broken.

What makes these tasks difficult is that the data and code structures can be very large and not very intuitive. Also, it might not be clear who holds the knowledge on them, or in some cases the knowledge can be even lost; for example being held by people who left the company.

Of Darts and Buckets

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Web Services

Recently, I had the opportunity to work on an exciting in-house project for Grio called Filedart.  This service, which will launch in the near future, affords the denizens of the web the ability to effortlessly upload content to the cloud by dragging photos or files to a small icon in their taskbar.  After the file is uploaded by the client, the service automatically copies a mini-fied URL to the client’s clipboard.  This URL leads to a brand-new, public web hosting wrapper for that file that they can easily distribute to their friends of colleagues to share.  The service is free, and users don’t even have to log-in to use it.

Create an HTML Signature Including Image Links in Mac Mail (OS10.8)

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You might imagine that this subject would be rather straight forward and hardly worthy of an article of any sort.  Unfortunately, you would indeed be imagining.  Adding an HTML signature to Mac Mail is not as simple as pasting the html directly into the signature field of the client like in Gmail or Outlook.  With Apple Mail pasting HTML or images directly into the signature field just doesn’t work very well. In fact, the process for setting an html signature with images in mac Mail is remarkably un-Mac-like.

Server-side pagination with AngularJS

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AngularJS is one of the most used Javascript frameworks nowadays.

A characteristic of this framework is the possibility of binding input or output parts of an HTML page to a model represented by standard JavaScript variables.

Looping through arrays and collections is made easy by the ngRepeat directive.
This directive becomes handy when dealing with lists and tables, especially if associated to the AngularJS filters, which allow you to handle pagination, filtering and sorting by adding just one line of code to your html.

Unfortunately, one of the limitations of this approach is that the filtering is done client-side, therefore it wouldn’t be an optimal solution when dealing with a substantial number of rows/records.

Writing a Secure Android App

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When it comes to developing an Android app that deals with sensitive information, you must take extra precautions to make sure that the information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Although Android devices come with state-of-the-art security features, app developers often don’t leverage them. Even if they do, they may not necessarily be using them properly. One simple security hole is all it takes to compromise your app’s security as well as the security of the servers/systems it’s connecting to.