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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
A seasoned developer's little discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

This Week I Learned - Week #137

Sunday, November 22, 2015
This Week I Learned -

WebHooks is a simple pattern for integrating event notifications across different SaaS services. If the service you want to integrate with supports WebHooks then you can use that. If it supports SignalR then you can use that. In that sense the two are quite complementary.

WebHooks is a lightweight HTTP pattern providing a simple pub/sub model for wiring together Web APIs and SaaS services. When an event happens in a service, a notification is sent in the form of an HTTP POST request to registered subscribers. The POST request contains information about the event which makes it possible for the receiver to act accordingly.

Because of their simplicity, WebHooks are already exposed by a large number of services including Dropbox, GitHub, Instagram, MailChimp, PayPal, Slack, Trello, and many more. For example, a WebHook can indicate that a file has changed in Dropbox, or a code change has been committed in GitHub, or a payment has been initiated in PayPal, or a card has been created in Trello

Microsoft ASP.NET WebHooks makes it easier to both send and receive WebHooks as part of your ASP.NET application:
On the receiving side, it provides a common model for receiving and processing WebHooks from any number of WebHook providers. It comes out of the box with support for Azure Alerts, Dropbox, GitHub, Kudu, Instagram, MailChimp, PayPal, Pusher, Salesforce, Slack, Stripe, Trello, and WordPress but it is easy to add support for more.
On the sending side it provides support for managing and storing subscriptions as well as for sending event notifications to the right set of subscribers. This allows you to define your own set of events that subscribers can subscribe to and notify them when things happens.

The latest drop of ASP.NET WebHooks has added a generic JSON WebHook receiver, which can be used to receive WebHooks from services like IFTTT and Zapier.

* Some of the new documentation from Microsoft Patterns & Practices is on Github

Microsoft Edge no longer supports extensibility models such as ActiveX and Browser Helper Objects.

FreeFormatter.com provides a lot of online programming utilities & tools

Google Maps is now available offline in India

73% of the total VC/PE investments in India are concentrated in only 10 companies: Flipkart, Snapdeal, Ola, Paytm, Quickr, Zomato, Oyo, Practo, and Pepperfry.com.

Cashews are from the same plant family as poison oak, poison, sumac, and poison ivy (Anacardiaceae). The nuts aren't sold in the shell, because contact with the shell or the oil that's removed during processing may result in poison ivy-like rashes!

* "This is an era of intolerance. When it comes to religious matters, people become very sensitive." - Bombay High Court

* "Whoever wins, the people of Bihar have already lost." - Historian Ramachandra Guha, citing the lawlessness that defines Lalu Prasad Yadav’s politics. Lalu Prasad Yadav...a notoriously corrupt populist..commands the allegiance of one of the state’s largest caste communities.


HOW TO invoke a Chrome App / Extension with a single click

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
To conserve time while doing repetitive tasks, shortcuts can help. If you often use Chrome Extensions, you can place a specific Extension in the Windows Taskbar for easy access.

Select the desired Chrome App / Extension from the list of installed Apps by clicking on the Apps button which is the first button in the Bookmarks bar of Chrome browser or type chrome://apps in the address bar
In the page that opens up, right click on the Chrome App / Extension in the list and select "" from the context menu.
In the dialog box that opens, choose where you wish to have the application shortcuts.

I like invoking the Postman Chrome Extension (for testing REST calls) from the Taskbar with a single click.

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Open-source ASP.NET based web apps on Azure Marketplace

The Azure Web App Marketplace lists popular web apps including those which are open-source. The  open-source web apps are great learning material for beginners to dig into and extend existing functionality. The facility to deploy it to Azure with a few clicks can help beginners take the app off the ground.and let them focus on the functionality and code rather than be bogged down with deployment.
As the documentation of the Marketplace web apps doesn't directly include the links to the source code or clearly mark those which are open-source & based on ASP.NET, I'm compiling it here -

MVCForum is a fully featured responsive and themeable ASP.NET MVC 5 discussion board/forum and features similar to StackOverFlow - source code

BugNET is a .NET based open source issue tracking & project management application - source code https://github.com/dubeaud/bugnet

BlogEngine.NET is a open source blogging platform written in ASP.NET - source code

Orchard CMS is a free, open source content management system built on the ASP.NET MVC platform -  source code

Virto Commerce is open-source project built on .NET 4.5, ASP.NET MVC, IoC, EF, AngularJS providing e-commerce functionality - source code

Composite C1 CMS is an open source web content management system - source code

Related: Free ASP.NET based CMS

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This Week I Learned - Week #136

Sunday, November 15, 2015
This Week I Learned -

Ivan Ristic started  SSL Labs as a side-project in early 2009...after he joined Qualys in May 2010 and became the company's director of engineering, he showed the project to Qualys CEO Philippe Courtot, who fell in love with it. Ristic remains the only developer, but the production servers are now maintained by the Qualys's Ops team

* H-1B visas are designed to bring foreign professionals with college degrees and specialized skills to fill jobs when qualified Americans cannot be found. 13 outsourcing companies took nearly one-third of all 85,000 H-1B visas in 2014.With more applications, the number of visas given to outsourcing companies has risen sharply. Many H-1B workers earn salaries below market rates. The vast majority of H-1B workers are from India. - NY Times

The mobile commerce market will grow to $19 billion, according to a Forrester report and most of this will come from tier-II towns. For companies like Shopclues & Paytm, browser and app are both equally important. As of the 2011 census, there are 3,000 tier-II towns. Shopclues calls itself the shopping destination of the tier-II and III cities. According to the analysis of Shopclues, high-value transactions are still done on a desktop and low value on the phone. Consumers in tier-II towns have low memory, low processing power in phones. It means they can’t have an app constantly asking them to update or sending them notifications. So, every time there is a sale, they install, shop and uninstall an app. The real estate on the phone’s memory is very expensive.

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of  the Star Trek television series, survived 3 plane crashes

* "I see folks misusing Scrum and using it as an excuse to be sloppy. They'll add lots of telemetry and use it as an excuse to avoid testing. The excitement and momentum around Unit Testing in the early 2000s has largely taken a back seat to renewed enthusiasm around Continuous Deployment." - Scott Hanselman

* "It's difficult to have a good plan when you are forced to react to external events" - Ivan Ristic


HOW TO filter products in Flipkart sold by WS Retail

Friday, November 13, 2015
Before you read further, note that this is not a perfect way to find all products in Flipkart sold by WS Retail but it is possibly the simplest and may help you find something you are looking for.

Like many other annoyed users, I was stuck with money in my Flipkart wallet that can be used only to purchase products from the seller "WS Retail" till I found this way. Just in case you didn't know, if you are dealing with Flipkart gift vouchers, you can only purchase from the seller "WS Retail" on the Flipkart shopping site.

Try this set of keywords with the site operator on Google or Bing or DuckDuckGo - "SOLD BY" "WS Retail" site:flipkart.com

To exclude "Out of Stock" products stick a minus sign before the quote-enclosed keywords and add a plus sign before product names that you want to restrict your search by.

The below keywords will fetch results for products that have Lumia in them which are sold by WS Retail and NOT out of stock  -
+"Lumia" -"Out of Stock!" "SOLD BY" "WS Retail" site:flipkart.com 

Note that WS Retail may also appear anywhere in the page - in the comments section or in the list of other sellers and there may be some "false positive" results.

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