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pluralsight_new

First pluralsight course live

ps_course
I’m proud to announce that my first pluralsight course now is live, make sure to check it out:

Authenticating Your Angular SPA with ASP.NET Web API and Auth0

Modules

The course is split into the following three modules.

An Introduction

Course introduction with brief overview of Auth0, where we also register for a free developer account.

Building the Back-end API

In this module we create the back-end and secure it with Auth0, we also test our API by making secure calls with postman.

Building the Front-end SPA

In this module we create the front-end using AngularJS to communicate securely with our back-end. We use Auth0Lock to get a professional looking login dialog that displays well on any resolution and device.

Time spend

I must admit that it was quite cumbersome to edit the material especially since camtasia was really buggy on windows 10. I kept track of all my time and this is how I spent it.

Audition

8 hours to learn/record/edit the audition video. Check it out here if you’ve missed it!

Recording

19 hours to learn the tech I want to teach and record.

Editing

11 hours editing.

Total

38 hours for an hour of production material.

Financially worth it? (UPDATE)

Since I’m an independent consultant I can calculate if it was worth my time. UPDATE: Now after I’ve received my first royalty check and with my second course in the pipeline to be released soon, I can confidently say it was worth it. Both experience wise and financially. I also got reimbursed $200 for the new microphone, which was cool since I needed a new one for my youtube screencasts anyway.

One thing I do know though is that it’s good PR to be a pluralsight author, which could lead to higher hourly rating.

Working with pluralsight

From the initial contact with the audition to working close with my editor on the course, pluralsight was super professional. I really enjoyed the experience, and it’s definitely something I recommend and encourage others to do. Being a web developer using the aspnet stack it was quite hard to find a course that wasn’t already done though. First I wanted to do an angular 2 course, but that was off the table since it’s still in alpha and a lot of authors are standing in line on that topic. My second idea was to do something with aspnet5, but that was off the table as well since it’s in beta, soon to be RC.

One thing that bothers me though is that as I was completing my course, I saw Shawn Wildermuth do a course on aspnet5 that has gone viral. Seems like different rules apply to different authors, which isn’t cool. Other than that, I really enjoyed working with pluralsight.

In conclusion

So, 38 hours to produce a 1 hour long course, to be fair the audition process is something I only need to do once so it’s really 30 hours spend on the actual course. As I recorded the course I became better at it, I’m sure the next course I do will be quicker. I definitely encourage other developers to go through the experience of creating a course, even if I have some experience from creating screencasts on youtube this was something entirely different.

My ambition is definitely to create more courses for pluralsight, preferrably on angular 2 when it’s released.

Until next time, have an excellent day!

socialtime architecture (1)

socialtime.se lab days project

Lab days

I’ve been super busy at work but finally I’ve come around for some fun lab days coding.

The objective

I’ve often wondered how much time we spend on social media apps on our phones. The idea came pretty naturally – create an app that accurately measures the time for us.

Coding sessions

The 1.0 version of socialtime.se was coded in 4 sessions and this is how I disposed the time. The sessions are 1 or 2 days apart since I rarely have the time to sit and code for 8h straight nowadays, unless it’s for a paying customer of course.

  1. 2h developing the android app for monitoring running processes.
  2. 1h studying the android facebook SDK and implementing auth from the app.
  3. 4h developing REST backend with facebook auth and a super simple frontend.
  4. 1h publishing the app to play store and minor refactorings.
  5. 1.5h writing this blog post, 45 minutes on creating the graphics 😉

Android App

The app is really basic, it has a background service running which monitors the running processes on a separate thread and just one activity to display the social time.

socialtime_app_v1.0

My first approach was to read the log and filter for ActivityManager since that seemed to work with the adb. But when running logcat from within the app I didn’t get the same information, which I guess is a good thing looking at it from a security standing point.

REST API and Authentication

Since we initially only measure facebook time it’s safe to assume that the users could use facebook to authenticate themselves. One other upside is that we can retrieve their identity by requesting their public information, meaning they won’t need to create a local account for providing a username.

This is where it became interesting, we’ve built a backend using asp.net webapi which allows authorized calls if the user’s authenticated via facebook. The user is authenticated via facebook but via the app, we can’t use the access token issued for the app to communicate securely with our backend. So this is my solution.

android facebook webapi authentication

In a sentence – We issue a new custom token by validating the facebook access token that is passed to us which can be used for secure communication. Pretty neat!

Frontend

I think it was about 2:55am when I finished the app and the API and everything was in place and working. My deadline was 3pm and not a minute more, I needed to be at work 9am and since I’m not in my twenties anymore I need the sleep to function properly.

I hosted the backend in an azure website and I had bought the domain socialtime.se via surftown and once I uploaded the page to surftown I noticed it couldn’t fetch the data. Why? You guessed it, I hadn’t enabled cross-origin resource sharing. So I quickly just installed the nuget package for cors, enabled it, decorated the controller with a EnableCors-attribute, re-deployed the API and voilá, beautiful fully working stack in place. And all this exactly as the clock turned 3am!

 

socialtime_v1.0

It isn’t pretty but hey, it worked!

Future

The infrastructure is in place so adding functionality will go fast. My unprioritized backlog looks something like this.

  • Measure time for Twitter, Instagram and G+, separately.
  • Measure time spent per app and per day. (now it’s just milliseconds since forever)
  • Proper frontend and move it to azure.
  • Remove the public list, you’ll need to login to see only your social time. Several requests for this actually 🙂
  • Use some cool HTML5 charting lib to display your social time.

Until then, get the app and have a nice day!

 

googleplay

 

Using Microsoft OAuth Identity provider with IIS Express

Shouldn’t be any problem right? Facebook apps allows you to specify localhost for the callback/redirect url. Sweet! But microsoft doesn’t! So this is what I did.

I created a new application https://account.live.com/developers/applications/create and specified kingen.se as redirect domain.

I added a DNS record to C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts that routes 127.0.0.1 to kingen.se.

I changed the site binding in %Documents%\IISExpress\config\applicationHost.config :

<site name="<site name>" id="24">
  <application path="/" applicationPool="Clr4IntegratedAppPool">
    <virtualDirectory path="/" physicalPath="<your-path>" />
  </application>
  <bindings>
    <binding protocol="http" bindingInformation="*:80:kingen.se" />
  </bindings>
</site>

I changed the “Default Web Site” binding to port 8080 (or whatever) for IIS.

I turned off SQL Reporting Services because the agent used port 80. Use netsh to list port usage if you run into other problems.

netsh  http show urlacl | Select-String :80
Finally in my asp.net mvc project I changed the properties for the project to
  • Use Local IIS Web server
  • Check Use IIS Express, Project Url: http://localhost
  • Check override application root URL: http://kingen.se
  • Set Start URL to: http://kingen.se/
Voilá, press F5 and IIS Express will fire up on http://kingen.se with a working Microsoft OAuth Identity provider.
Cheers!