Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mystery of the Nile bluray

Watched for a second time the IMAX movie Mystery of the Nile on Bluray.

Out of five IMAX blurays I own this is one of my favorites.

I like the raft journey from Lake Tana in Ethiopia to the mouth of the Nile at Alexandria.

They visit some amazing sites like rock monolith churches in Lalibela, the Meroe pyramids in Sudan where the Kingdom of Kush existed around 1500 B.C., and Luxor, Egypt.

Doing a third to half of what they rafted or maybe puddle jumping with a plane from some of the highlights would be quite cool.

Friday, September 24, 2010

digital certificates, keys, and message validation

I've been exploring digital certificates a little more in depth this week. They're basically analogous to a "drivers license" in the digital domain.

A drivers license basically allows you to validate who you are (e.g, a face to a name, your age, etc...) to an authority who would like to authentiate and authorize you (maybe a policeman or door man) based on their trust in the authority that issued your license; usually the DMV. Because the license is hard to duplicate and has a certain format (being laminated, has your photo, and a magnetic strip and/or watermarks) the authority has provided strong backing validation when you present your license to third parties like a policeman or other authority figures. Therefore trust and authentication are - hopefully - maintained when you use a license.

An equivalent type of license that validates who you are and is used over the Internet is called a Digital Certificate. Although it might not validate your age, it will help validate a message or document that you might send along with it to the person you are sending it to.

Obviously, drivers licenses offer a lot of private information when you view them: photo, age, address, etc... You keep your license information private by keeping it in your wallet. Digital certificates don't have the same information. They do provide some identity information of who the individual or server is just like a drivers license, but unlike a drivers license a digital certificate provides a mechanism to encypt an exchange (aka transaction) between a client and a server; and itself can be encrypted too.

And since sensitive transactions happen over the Internet, where a sophisticated individual can intercept your credit card information, encryption needs to happen for almost all stages of a transaction (or depending on your level of need).

In this case, a digital certificate is used by a server to authenticate who they are to a client browser. Amazon, for example, sends you a digital certificate to authenticate itself to your browser and then encrypts your shopping cart transaction, etc...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New to Cobertura

Finally got to use Cobertura. I initially started working with the 1.9 build but then decided to use 1.9.4.1, which worked quite well. If I can, I'll always use the latest version.

Took me about a week of experimenting with it - in addition to other duties - to get a handle on the process for creating accurate Cobertura coverage reports.

Some of the things that got me during the initial week were: 1) 100% coverage reports (when I knew there wasn't 100% coverage), 2) using the ant tasks effectively, 3) having an incomplete cobertura.ser be generated by JBoss (in addition to a cobertura.ser.lock file), and 4) having cobertura work with my Eclipse instance where I'd run my junit/htmlunit tests.

For #1 I had to merge the originally created cobertura.ser files (when I instrumented the JAR files I needed) with the one created when running JBoss and the htmlunit tests through the Eclipse IDE. I ultimately used the cobertura ANT task cobertura-instrument to explicitly create a ser datafile while instrumenting, and then used cobertura-merge to merge the ser files together after running my tests.

For #2, I got to know the Ant Task Reference page from the cobertura sourceforge page, which was helpful.

For #3, I'd get an incomplete ser file created after running my htmlunit test cases against a running JBoss server with my deployed application. I'd always have a cobertura.ser.lock file too. One thing I noted was if I had been running multiple test suites after each other and data.zip files would be created. I would try to delete old ones and that seemed to solve most of my lock file issues.

For #4, I had to have Eclipse Helios with the development packages, along with the test packages I was using to test the application's admin interface. I was able to run suite test classes that would have up to 700 tests by running as Junit, and of course, I made sure JBoss was up and running with my deployed application; either created from my dev folder using a maven command or getting a build from Hudson. Either way worked.