Friday, June 26, 2009

Creating a self-signed certificate

Jotting down the quick commands in .NET and JDK frameworks that can be used to create a self signed certificate.

In the .NET framework, open the Visual Studio command prompt and type the following:
makecert -r -pe -n "" -b 01/01/2000 -e 01/01/2036 -eku -ss my -sr localMachine -sky exchange -sp "Microsoft RSA SChannel Cryptographic Provider" -sy 12
Just replace the CN with the name or IP of your server. The certificate would be created in the default personal store on Windows. Go to MMC and add the 'certificates' snap-in.

In JDK first use the keytool utility to generate a certificate in the keystore.
keytool -genkey -alias myalias -keystore .keystore
You would be prompted to enter the CN and other details. Once the cert is stored in the keystore, it can be exported as a file.
keytool -storepass password -alias myalias -keystore .keystore -export -rfc -file outfilename.cer

Thursday, June 11, 2009

.NET Web Methods Tips and Tricks

It is possible to pass a parameter by reference to a Web Method? I thought this does not make sense, but behind the covers the .NET webservice proxy and runtime make this possible.
A detailed example with sample source code can be found here.
Also given in the above link is an example of supporting polymorphism in Web Methods.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Open Source Application Management Software

We needed a simple application mangement tool for monitoring our Java applications running on Tomcat servers. My team evaluated the various free/open-source options and gave a demo of the following 2 tools that proved to be interesting.

1. ManageEngine Applications Manager - This is free for use (upto 5 monitors). Very user friendly and professional look and feel.
2. JManage - (open source. Good support for Java console applications)

Passing large .NET datasets across layers

If your .NET webservice is returning datasets, then you might face performance problems with large payloads consuming the network bandwidth. There are a few strategies around this problem.

1. Convert the dataset into a byte[] using the Binary Formatter. Compress this byte[] using the Deflate classes in .NET. On the client side, the reverse process needs to be done.
Peter Bromberg has written a nice article explaining the details of this strategy.

2. Convert the dataset into a XML string and compress the XML string. This discussion forum thread contains sample source code for the same.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Migration Factory

Recently, I have been hearing a lot of buzz around the term - "Migration Factory". A lot of IT service companies have jumped on this buzzword and offer conversion services based on the Migration Factory model.
So what exactly is a Migration Factory? A Migration Factory is a methodology that endeavours to adopt a factory model for churning out migrated components. Essentially the migration landscape is segmented into various well-defined tasks and each segmented task is assigned to dedicated teams having specialized skills in that area. An analogy to a vehicle manufacturing factory would give a fair idea of what the methodology tries to achieve. So this essentially is an assembly line methodology with phases such as planning, assessment, conversion, implementation, etc.

The key drivers in the Migration Factory approach are the reuse of patterns, models, tools gained from past experiences. Toolkits for automation of activities such as code converstion, automated regression testing, etc. form a important part of the Factory model.

In my personal experience, I have observed that no migration project is the same. Each project brings its own technology and business challenges, but we can reuse the best practices and other tools developed in previous engagements.