Aaron Mulder

Building Serverless Apps with AWS by Alexa (and Aaron, I suppose)

Alexa’s so smart, she learns more every day. (That’s what Amazon tells me, anyway.) So I’m going to pick her brain a little, and see if she can tell me anything about AWS. Maybe she knows how to write Alexa apps, or even regular REST & JavaScript apps — apps that run entirely in AWS. … Read More

How to Fake Alexa Notifications

It’s a known limitation that a custom Alexa skill cannot perform notifications. That is, Alexa can only speak when first spoken to, and cannot spontaneously alert you that you have an appointment coming up or whatever. There’s a simple way to fake it, though, if you’re using an Echo device and you have a spare … Read More

Alexa, her Node SDK, and Firebase

When I first looked at Firebase, I thought it was garbage. (Sorry, I ran out of sugarcoating this morning.) But things changed when we came across an app that was a much better fit for it. That app was an Amazon Alexa skill, which needed to control content in a browser showing full-screen on a … Read More

Firebase: The Good, the Bad, and the… Good Again?

First Contact We were building a small proof of concept for a mobile app, when one of the stakeholders requested that we evaluate Firebase for it. It was my first exposure to Firebase, which looks like it was a cloud database that grew to include authentication, notifications, and other features. On the face of it, … Read More

Tyk as an on-premise API Gateway

Recently we looked at API Gateway products for a microservices project. The constraints were that on-premise was preferred, low-cost was preferred, and open source would be fine. While we could have built something simple, the thought was that a product would have more in the way of management and monitoring features. We settled on Tyk for the time being. Here is a quick summary of our evaluation.

Overheard: Angular 2 vs. the Portal

On a recent project, we worked on building microservices to support a Portal application. That’s right — Portlets running in IBM’s Portal product. Here are some of the concerns the team faced on the Portal side integrating with Angular 2.

What's New in Ionic 2

Now that Angular 2 is final, I thought I’d take another look at Ionic 2. With an Ionic 2 Release Candidate also available, hopefully everything will be a bit more stable from here on forward… (Hopefully.) In any case, here are some of the differences I’ve found in Ionic 2 compared to Ionic 1: The … Read More

Sending Mail via GMail with JavaMail

If you use JavaMail and/or the Spring MailSender bean to send mail through a GMail account with JavaMail these days, you get an authentication error saying GMail blocks less secure apps. At that point there are two options: Configure your GMail account to accept low-security connections (e.g. https://www.google.com/settings/security/lesssecureapps) Configure your JavaMail sender to use OAuth … Read More

Form-Based Login for Java WebSocket Client

Needing a Java-based WebSocket client, I started with Tyrus, the reference implementation for the Java API for WebSocket. Writing a simple Java WebSocket client with Tyrus went well enough — until I went to turn security on. The Web App I’m connecting to uses form-based login, and out of the box the only authentication support … Read More

Upgrading a WIMBoot Machine to Windows 10

Needing to drive a few touchscreen kiosks, I found myself in possession of some compute stick type devices. These are tiny but full-fledged computers, with an Atom CPU, 2 GB of RAM, and a 32 GB SSD. They shipped with Windows 8.1 with Bing. Naturally, I wanted to upgrade to Windows 10. There were a … Read More