Character set woes

Applications not respecting character sets

Character encoding can be the bane of your life when you’re doing integration. It’s all fine and dandy when you’re dealing with the US-ASCII character set, but it all goes wrong when you start dealing with internationalised data. Even worse, there are situations where the source data is a mix of 2 different character encodings and you get 2 different byte representations for the same character. This is down to the source application not respecting encoding properly; screwing it all up.

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Unison on Centos 7

Why isn’t Unison in the EPEL repository for CentOS 7

I generally use unison to keep my work environment on various machines in sync. I use it like a poor man’s Dropbox in effect; call me old fashioned but I don’t tend to use any cloud storage provider for security reasons. Unison means that it is trivial for me to move between my main development environment and other platforms, but as a project it appears to be unloved. I’ve recently installed a couple of instances of CentOS 7 in my test lab, and unison isn’t provided; it’s not in in the epel repository either.

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How To Be a Developer

The things you do to become a better developer

I’ve been doing development now for a long time; I enjoy it, and it’s something that I’m good at; that statement could easily be switched around, I’m good at it, so I enjoy it. Regardless of how it is now, it was still something that I had to learn how to be good at it. For me it was always about acquiring a set of skills and a methodology for approaching a problem. These are the things where simple things like having been taught how to learn can help. I learnt Modula-2 at university; of less use than COBOL in the real world; but it taught me how to learn a new language, and I’ve applied that knowledge everywhere I’ve worked. The skillset that you acquire through your career will be quite varied but the methodology is always invariably the same.

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FIPS certified algorithms

Using FIPS certified algorithms with Interlok

FIPS compliance is all the rage in some sectors. Our formal statement has always been that Interlok can be configured to be as FIPS compliant as the underlying JVM. All encryption/SSL duties are delegated to the JCE and JSSE layers respectively. Failure to support FIPS algorithms isn’t normally a product issue, it’s a java virtual machine configuration issue.

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Integration is like town planning

Integration is a bit like town planning; you’re bringing a lot of different things together

I’ve said that what we do is a combination of house-building and town-planning. Town planning sounds easy, stick some houses in, join them up with a road and voila: a new town. I haven’t spoken to any good town planners but I can imagine that it’s not that simple. You have to know what makes a community work; have the big picture, map out the roads, organise the bus-stops, know where the sewage system runs and know how all these things will impact the community. A city is not an accident but the result of coherent visions and aims1

  1. Leon Krier - The Architecture of Community ↩︎

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