Saturday, 27 October 2018

Keep learning, Keep sharing!

A wise man once said -
 If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.


I crossed 40k reputation on Stack Overflow(SO).  And that accounts to 2544 rank in the world!




It has been almost 5 and a half years since added my 1st answer to the site. And today 1,130 answers, 144 questions and a people reach of ~21.4 million later here I am going back to where it all started. I still remember the 1st answer that I wrote - it was downvoted just because an admin read it wrong and when he realized it, he was the 1st person to upvote the answer and that's how the journey began. I am taking this opportunity to stress a very important point - Knowledge increases by sharing.



I am sure every developer has relied on some SO answers for finding directions to get their issues resolved. The reason I am sharing this today is to stress the point that if it has helped you, it would probably help a hundred others around the globe. So make sure to upvote that answer. If the answer did not work out for you but it helped you in the correct direction go ahead and add it as a new answer or a comment. Innovation is not always in doing different things, it can be doing things differently. Never hold back anything thinking the answer or question might be silly. You already know the outcome if you don't, so why not give it a try and see how it goes. If it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid - as simple as that. Worst case scenario - someone correct you which not only helps you understand it better but also everyone else who is in the same boat. I personally consider this the best scenario - You don't learn anything if you think you are always right!



Personally other than technical learning aspect of it, this has helped me a lot in terms of interviews, communicating with fellow developers and expanding personal reach. I get this question a lot during the technical interview - "Why do you have so many questions answered as compared to the questions asked with just 5 years of experience?". What I have learned during the course of last 5 years is that the same question has many different angles and like I said before if you are facing a problem there would be many others facing the same issue. It could be different OS, different library version, different runtime, a different flavor of language etc. I have always tried to add more content to the answers based on the issue I have faced and today based on the shown stats there are around 21.4 million developers who were in the same boat. That's a win-win scenario!


I will conclude this post by saying - "Keep learning, Keep sharing!". Good luck :)

Sharing few more stats - Just for fun :)







PS: If you need my help in getting traction to your question in terms of upvote or bounties feel free to reach out to me at - opensourceforgeeks@gmail.com.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Lerna Tutorial - Managing Monorepos with Lerna

Background

Lerna is a tool that allows you to maintain multiple npm packages within one repository. There are multiple benefits of using such an approach - one repo, multiple packages. This paradigm is called monorepo (mono - single, repo - repository). You can read more about monorepo -
To summarise pros are -
  • Single lint, build, test and release process.
  • Easy to coordinate changes across modules. 
  • A single place to report issues.
  • Easier to set up a development environment.
  • Tests across modules are run together which finds bugs that touch multiple modules easier.
Now that you understand what a monorepo is, let's come back to Lerna. Lerna is a tool that helps you manage your monorepos. In this post, I am going to show you a complete tutorial of how you can use lerna to manage a custom multi package repo that we will create.





Lerna Tutorial -  Managing Monorepos with Lerna

First of all, you need to install lerna. Lerna is a CLI. To install it you need to execute following command -
  • npm install --global lerna
This should install lerna in your local machine globally. You can run the following command to check the version of lerna installed -
  • lerna -v
 For me, it's 3.4.1 at the time of writing this post. Now let's create a directory for our lerna demo project.  Let's call it lerna-demo. You can create it with the following command -
  • mkdir lerna-demo 
Now navigate inside this directory
  • cd lerna-demo
Now execute following command -
  • lerna init
This should create a basic structure of monorepo. Take a look at below picture to understand it's structure.


 It does following things -
  1. Creates packages folder. All packages go under this.
  2. Creates package.json at the root. This defines global dependencies. It has the dependency on lerna by default.
  3. Creates lerna.json at the root. This identifies lerna repo root.
 Now let's go to packages folder and start creating our packages. We will then see how we can link them and use. So navigate to packages directory.
  • cd packages

Package - AdditionModule

Let's create a package that takes care of addition. Let's call it AdditionModule. Create a directory for this inside packages folder and execute following commands -
  • mkdir AdditionModule 
  • cd AdditionModule 
  • npm init -y
This should create a file called package.json inside AdditionModule directory. Now in the same folder create a file called index.js in the same folder and add following content to it -

module.exports.add = function(x,y){
    return x + y;
}


Save the file. This basically exposes add method to any other package that would have a dependency on this. Your 1st package is done. Let's create one more package for subtraction.

Package - SubtractionModule

 Run similar commands inside packages folder -

  • mkdir SubtractionModule
  • cd SubtractionModule
  • npm init -y
 Now in SubtractionModule folder create a file called index.js and add following code to it -

module.exports.subtract = function(x,y){
    return x - y;
}


Save the file. This basically exposes subtract method to any other package that would have a dependency on this. Now let's create a package that would have a dependency on  AdditionModule and SubtractionModule and can use add and subtract functions.

Package - Calc

Our final package - let's call it Calc would have a dependency on  AdditionModule and SubtractionModule packages. So let's create the package 1st -

  • mkdir Calc
  • cd Calc
  • npm init -y
Now create a file called index.js and add following content to it -

var add = require('AdditionModule');
var subtract = require('SubtractionModule');

var sum = add.add(2,3);
var diff = subtract.subtract(3,2);

console.log("Sum: " + sum + " Diff: " + diff);

Save the file. Now open package.json to add our dependencies. Edit package.json to add following content to it -

  "dependencies": {
      "AdditionModule": "1.0.0",
      "SubtractionModule": "1.0.0"
   },


So your entire package.json looks like -

{
  "name": "Calc",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  },
  "keywords": [],
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC",
  "dependencies": {
      "AdditionModule": "1.0.0",
      "SubtractionModule": "1.0.0"
   },
}

Now you are all set up. Your directory structure should look like below -



Now it's time to use lerna to link packages. Go to lerna-demo directory and execute the following command -
  • lerna bootstrap
 This should do all linking for you. It would create node_modules directory in Calc package and add symlinks to AdditionModule and SubtractionModule. Your directory structure would now look like -


Now you can simply run calc index.js as follows -

  • node packages/Calc/index.js
And you should get expected output -




The important thing was the linking part that lerna does for you so that you do not have to worry about it.


For complete details on all available commands see - https://github.com/lerna/lerna

Related Links




Sunday, 14 October 2018

What is the purpose of Node.js module.exports and how do you use it?

Background

If you have ever used nodejs and npm you must have encountered usage of module.exports syntax. Or perhaps just exports? If you do have encountered this that you might be aware that it exposes a certain functionality of the code so that other outside code can reference and execute it. Though this is a short version of what exports syntax does, in this post we will see a lot more of how it behaves and some examples to help us understand this better.










What is the purpose of Node.js module.exports and how do you use it?

The module.exports object is created by the Module system. module.exports is the object that's actually returned as the result of a require call. exports is just an alias to module.exports. So you could use either. There are some things that you would need to take care if you are just using exports but more of that later. For now, let's just take a simple example and see how it actually works.

First, create a file called calc.js  with the following content -

var add = function(x,y) {
return x + y;
}

var subtract = function(x,y){
return x - y;
}

module.exports = {
add  : add,
subtract: subtract
};



This code is simply defining two functions -  add and subtract and exporting them. Notice how these methods are declared as exports. We will revisit this back in a moment. Now let's try to use this code in a separate node code.

Now create another file - Let's call it demo.js. Now in this file add following code -

var calc = require('./calc.js');

console.log("2 + 3 = " + calc.add(2,3));
console.log("3 - 2 = " + calc.subtract(3,2));

And finally, run the demo.js file as -

  • node demo.js
It should give you the expected results -




If you understood above logic you must have got a basic idea of how exports work. To revisit our earlier statement we said - "module.exports is the object that's actually returned as the result of a require call." In this case, it returns a map of add and subtract which point to corresponding functions that you can invoke.

NOTE: Notice the "./" in the require statement. This is required to tell node that it is a local package.

Another way to use the same module.exports would be as follows -

module.exports.add = function(x,y) {
return x + y;
}

module.exports.subtract = function(x,y){
return x - y;
}


And if you now run demo.js again you would still see the same output. Both are just different ways to expose your code outside.

NOTE: Note that assignment to module.exports must be done immediately. It cannot be done in any callbacks. So following will not work -


var add = function(x,y) {
return x + y;
}

var subtract = function(x,y){
return x - y;
}

setTimeout(() => {
  module.exports = { add : add, subtract : subtract };
}, 0);



This will fail with below error -

TypeError: calc.add is not a function
    at Object.<anonymous> (demo.js:3:31)
    at Module._compile (module.js:653:30)
    at Object.Module._extensions..js (module.js:664:10)
    at Module.load (module.js:566:32)
    at tryModuleLoad (module.js:506:12)
    at Function.Module._load (module.js:498:3)
    at Function.Module.runMain (module.js:694:10)
    at startup (bootstrap_node.js:204:16)
    at bootstrap_node.js:625:3



So make sure your exports are done immediately and not in any callbacks.



Now let's come back to the exports keyword that we said is just an alias to module.exports. Let us rewrite the code with just exports now.  Let's say your code is as follows -


exports.add = function(x,y) {
return x + y;
}

exports.subtract = function(x,y){
return x - y;
}


Now run demo.js and you should still get your desired output. Like I said earlier exports is just an alias to exports.module. Now lets out 1st approach with just exports -

var add = function(x,y) {
return x + y;
}

var subtract = function(x,y){
return x - y;
}

exports = {
add : add,
subtract: subtract
}


And if you run demo.js again you will get an error -

TypeError: calc.add is not a function
    at Object.<anonymous> (demo.js:3:31)
    at Module._compile (module.js:653:30)
    at Object.Module._extensions..js (module.js:664:10)
    at Module.load (module.js:566:32)
    at tryModuleLoad (module.js:506:12)
    at Function.Module._load (module.js:498:3)
    at Function.Module.runMain (module.js:694:10)
    at startup (bootstrap_node.js:204:16)
    at bootstrap_node.js:625:3

So why did this happen? This brings us to another crucial fact -

If you overwrite exports then it will no longer refer to module.exports. The exports variable is available within a module's file-level scope, and is assigned the value of module.exports before the module is evaluated. So if you overwrite exports it is no longer an alias to module.exports and hence it no longer works.

So make sure you do not overwrite exports variable. It is always safer to just use module.exports.

To summarize this in a single picture module.exports work as follows -




Related Links

Thursday, 11 October 2018

How to install Eclipse plugin manually from a local zip file

Background

Eclipse is an integrated development environment (IDE) used in computer programming and is the most widely used Java IDE. It contains a base workspace and an extensible plug-in system for customizing the environment. You can download Eclipse from their official site - 
It also supports installing the plugin to customize your IDE environment. If you have already used Eclipse you might know how you can install a new plugin. All you need is the sites link where the plugin is hosted and you are all set. You can do this from
  • Help -> Install new Software



In this post, I will show you how to install a plugin downloaded as a zip file from the local disk.

 How to install Eclipse plugin manually from a local zip file

First, make sure your zip file is a valid Eclipse plugin. To verify that you can simply view contents of that zip. You should see two folders-
  1. features,
  2. plugins
The new version of Eclipse might also have following files -
  1. content.jar, 
  2. artifacts.jar
Eg.



 If above files exist then it means this is an archived update site. Once you have verified that your plugin zip file is correct it's time to get it installed.

Now go back to
  • "Help" -> "Install New Software"
Now click on "Add"


 Now click on "Archive"



 Now select the zip file you downloaded earlier. You can leave the name blank. Now click on Ok.

You can now see the plugin details. Select it for installation. Make sure you unselect "Contact all update sites...." checkbox as it can sometimes create problems.

Click "Next", accept terms and conditions and click "Finish".


You should now see a warning that you are installing unsigned content.



You can view the details if you want. Finally, click Ok and restart eclipse for changes to take effect.

 Once installed you can go to -
  • "Help" -> "Installation details" 
to see the installed plugin details.



 You can also uninstall the plugin from here. Just click on the "Uninstall" button at the bottom.


Related Links


Saturday, 6 October 2018

How to do iterative tasks with a delay in AWS Step Functions

Background

Very recently I did a video series on Building Web application using AWS serverless architecture -
In one of the videos, I covered AWS step function service that can be used to create distributed applications using visual workflows.

Step functions use Lambdas internally to execute business logic with the provided workflow. But there could be limitations that arise. Eg.
  1. The business logic that the Lambda is executing might take more than the maximum allowed time of 5 minutes.
  2. The API that you are calling from the Lambda might have the rate limiting.
One straightforward way would be to break down the Lambda into multiple lambdas and execute the business logic. But it is not always possible. For eg. let's say you are importing some data from a site through an API and then saving it in your DB. You may not always have control over the number if user returned and processed. It is always a good idea to handle it on your end. Fortunately, step functions provide a way to handle such scenarios. In this post, I will try to explain the same.

 How to do iterative tasks with a delay in AWS Step Functions

 Let us assume we have the following flow -
  1. Get remote data from an API. Let's say we can process only 50 items in that data in a minute. Let's say the API that we call to process each item allows only 50 APIs per minute.
  2. Let's assume we get more than 50 items in the fetch API call. Now we have to batch 50 items at a time and process it.
  3. Wait for 60 seconds and then process the next batch of 50.
  4. Do this till all items fetched are processed.


To do this we can use the following Step machine definition -


 {
    "Comment": "Step function to import external data",
    "StartAt": "FetchDataFromAPI",
    "States": {
        "FetchDataFromAPI": {
            "Type": "Task",
            "Resource": "arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1:499222264523:function:fetch-data",
            "Next": "ProcessData"
        },

        "ProcessData": {
            "Type": "Task",
            "Resource": "arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1:499222264523:function:process-data",
            "Next": "ProcessMoreChoiceState"
        },

        "ProcessMoreChoiceState": {
            "Type": "Choice",
            "Choices": [{
                "Variable": "$.done",
                "BooleanEquals": false,
                "Next": "WaitAndProcessMore"
            }],
            "Default": "Done"
        },

        "WaitAndProcessMore": {
            "Type": "Wait",
            "Seconds": 60,
            "Next": "ProcessData"
        },

        "Done": {
            "Type": "Pass",
            "End": true
        }
    }
}


Visually it looks like below -




If you have gone through the video link shared earlier most of this would have made sense to you by now. The only difference here is the "Wait" state that waits for 60 seconds before retrying.

You will have to send the entire array and the number of items processed so far as output to "ProcessMoreChoiceState" and subsequently to "WaitAndprocessMore" state so that it can be sent back to "ProcessData" state again to process remaining entries. If all entries are processed we just set "done" variable to true which transitions to "Done" state finishing the state machine execution.

Hope this helps. If you have any questions add it in the comments below. Thanks.

Related Links

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