Stuff I'm Up To

Technical Ramblings

ESXi 6.0 to 6.5 Upgrade — October 14, 2018

ESXi 6.0 to 6.5 Upgrade

This weekend has turned out to be a challenge. Upgrading our VMware Horizon 7 estate to the latest release involved upgrading all the components from connection servers, security server, composer, vCenter and vSphere hosts.

Last weekend was upgrading the connection servers, security server and composer. This weekend is vCenter and the vSphere hosts.

99.9% of the skills required are really about how strong your Google Fu is!


My skills include Google-fu and Duck-Jitsu, but I’m a Bing-do novice!

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Jira Token Error, Leading to Fisheye + Crucible Failure — October 12, 2018

Jira Token Error, Leading to Fisheye + Crucible Failure

Today Jira fell over. Not sure why, but the result was a token error which refused to let my user or admin accounts ability to login properly. I managed to logon, but none of the dashboard or menu items worked as it had this persistent token error.

I ended up rebooting the server and restart the two services for Jira and Confluence.

These use the regular service start and stop with systemctl start jira and systemctl start confluence.

Crucible however, uses a start and stop sh script.

As root starting Crucible from

# /home/crucible/fecru-4.4.7/bin/

Caused some very strange behaviour.

First thing I noticed was that I had lost all of the configuration and it had reverted to a blank database and launched the setup program when I visited the URL! Something clearly wrong there.

Next I thought I’d run it as the crucible user I setup for this purpose.

# sudo -u crucible /home/crucible/fecru-4.4.7/bin/

Even worse! Now not only was it empty but the log had all kinds of permissions errors.

The clue was, but what log am I looking at? I ended up with logs in the ~/fecru-4.4.7/var/log folder AND in ~/instance/var/log folder, but with different dates. It looks like I spannered the install somehow as logs should only be in the instance folder. Although I ran the script it must have been as the root user and therefore created my config under fecru* NOT instance. When I then ran it as the crucible user using sudo it did the same, but all the files were owned by root and caused the permission errors.

The outcome showed that the problem related to running sudo and not maintaining the environment variable for FECRU_INST which points to the instance folder. I fixed this by running visudo and set the rule to keep certain environment variables – in the same way as I would for a proxy server.

Edit the line:

Defaults        env_keep += "ftp_proxy http_proxy https_proxy no_proxy FISHEYE_INST"

I then had to make sure I moved the config.xml file and data folder that had been erroneously created under fecru into instance.

# mv fecru-4.4.7/config.xml instance
# mv fecru-4.4.7/data instance

Now when I run sudo for the crucible user it keeps the environment setting pointing to the install path, the instance path and all contained files must belong to crucible:crucible so chmod them:

# chmod crucible:crucible instance/* -R

Finally starting crucible with:

# sudo -u crucible /home/crucible/fecru-4.4.7/bin/

All is good once again.


  • fecru = FishEye + CRUcible
Proxy Fun and Games — October 11, 2018

Proxy Fun and Games

I seem to spend most of may day trying to sort out issues regarding getting different applications through the corporate proxy server. I’m really hoping one day we can setup a transparent proxy if for no other reason than to make our development lives easier.

At present we need use a browser proxy script (http://wpad/wpad.dat) to determine which of the corporate proxy servers to use. We have an internet proxy and a Gov’t gateway proxy. Depending where the user is trying to go determines which proxy they must use.

The script works just fine for 99% of our user base.

However, when it comes to the other 1% there’s need to tell not just the browser what proxy to use, but in the development world we need to inform the various development tools how to use a proxy too. This is where the pain is.

We need to setup a proxy in several places eg. for the operating system, for the browser, for Git, for NPM/Yarn, for Composer, for Java…

Operating System


Open a CMD/PowerShell window with Administrative permissions

C:> netsh winhttp set proxy http://username:password@ "<local>"

You may not need the username and password here as the OS will send your Windows credentials.

The <local> means bypass the proxy for any local address. You may add into that for other specific servers eg. "<local>,server.domain.tld"

Also set the Environment variables for the proxy

Windows Key + R

control sysdm.cpl,,3

Click the environment settings and add in the following settings to your user variables.



$ sudo vi /etc/envronment


Git proxy settings

$ git config --global http.proxy http://username:password@

You’ll probably need to ensure this is set for the sudo environment too if you ever have the need to install global requirements with npm.

$ sudo git config --global http.proxy http://username:password@

NPM proxy settings

$ npm config set proxy http://username:password@

Again you’ll probably need to ensure it’s replicated into sudo.

$ sudo npm config set proxy http://username:password@

This actually writes to a file in your home folder called .npmrc which you can edit if you need to put in some backslashes to escape and special characters in your password. eg. c:\Users\myuser\.npmrc or ~/.npmrc and the sudo version will write it into the root users home folder.

Yarn proxy settings

As Yarn is essentially npm on steroids it works the same way but writes to ~/.yarnrc

$ yarn config set proxy http://username:password@
$ sudo yarn config set proxy http://username:password@

Composer proxy settings

Thankfully this is capable of using the Operating System proxy environment variables. So if you set them as above for Windows and/or Linux you should be good to go.

Java proxy settings

This has it’s own rules just like all the others. But you may also run into Java applications having their own proxy settings too. Such as gradle which has it’s own properties file to setup the proxy. They all seem to be a similar pattern though, edit a properties file and add in:


Typically this is done in the JRE’s lib/ file so it applies to Java globally. eg. My file is located under c:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.80_151\lib and has plenty of helpful commented examples on how to set things.

Under Debian my is located under /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.8.0-openjdk-amd64/jre/lib

They can also be passed to the Java command line as -D parameters eg.

$ java -Dhttp.proxyHost= -Dhttp.proxyPort=8080 -Dhttp.nonProxyHosts="localhost|domain.local"


Opening another Window with electron-vue — October 9, 2018

Opening another Window with electron-vue

Having entered the world of Electron and mashing it together with Vue.js using electron-vue I needed to figure out how to open another window from Electron and still have vue active within it and better yet, still have the hot module reloading active in that new window whilst developing it.

It was whilst trawling the electron-vue github issue page that I came across a golden nugget of code that answered the very question for me.


First of all, you need to disable mode: 'history' in your vue-router, check in vue-router docs

Then do the following:

src/main/index.js example

ipc.on('showChart', function (e, data) {
  const modalPath = process.env.NODE_ENV === 'development'
    ? 'http://localhost:9080/#/showChart'
    : `file://${__dirname}/index.html#showChart`
  let win = new BrowserWindow({ width: 400, height: 320, webPreferences: {webSecurity: false} })
  win.on('close', function () { win = null })

In your router, use the exactly path to your url

src/renderer/router.js example

  path: '/showChart',
  name: 'showChart',
  component: require('your-router'),


Local Git Repository — October 6, 2018

Local Git Repository

When working on a project at home I don’t necessarily want to host my Git repo online and don’t feel the need for installing a Gitlab server on my home network, but I do want to backup my projects to my cloud backup.

I also would like to not backup all the vendor resources with my project. So I’d like to exclude the node_module folder and other .gitignore content.

Whilst googling around I discovered I could just use a folder as a repo. Most people tend to do this onto a network file share, but my needs were simple. All I wanted to do was include my Git repo within the folders that are automatically backed up to the cloud.

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When this isn’t this and becomes that — October 2, 2018

When this isn’t this and becomes that

I recently tried to assist a colleague with an issue in JavaScript involving an undefined variable within a Vue.js app.

Now I have encountered this issue several times and never really gotten to the crux of the matter other than I know it’s because the context of this changes, depending on where you are in your code.

It was during this tongue twisting exercise that he found a useful document that gives an outline more elegantly than I could phrase.

Since arrow functions provide a lexical this value, the this inside our function() refers to the window instead of our Vue object which breaks our current implementation! When attempting to get this.item, we will actually be looking at window.item which is currently undefined.

electron-vue —
Adding Crucible to Jira — October 1, 2018

Adding Crucible to Jira

Continuing the Jira and Confluence journey into Crucible I faced a challenge of adding it beneath the same reverse proxy setup.

My aim was to end up with a single host with multiple URL’s for each feature eg.

https://jira.domain.local – for Jira Software

https://jira.domain.local/confluence – for Confluence

https://jira.domain.local/crucible – for Crucible

The documentation on how to achieve this was a little fragmented and whilst it made sense I failed to get things working first time round.

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React and Webpack – Project Template — September 22, 2018

React and Webpack – Project Template

I’ve begun looking at building a project using React and followed some online sources to begin with. But then I fell into outdated material that related to babel. So I could only take many of the tutorials so far before having to update the construction to suit @babel/core v7.

It seems it’s very easy to install different versions of babel and it’s components and then discover things won’t compile. The error message I was getting:

Error: Plugin/Preset files are not allowed to export objects, only functions.

It doesn’t exactly make clear that what you have probably done is installed a preset  from an older version of babel and your babel core doesn’t like it.

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JIRA, Confluence and Nginx — September 15, 2018

JIRA, Confluence and Nginx

With Atlassian Jira Software and Confluence installed onto the same server I thought I’d investigate setting things up so we don’t have to use the default TCP port type of access over HTTP. instead let’s setup a reverse proxy using HTTPS over TCP 443 that forwards to the TCP 8080 and 8090 ports.

The aim is to get Jira accessible as https://jira.domain.local and Confluence as https://jira.domain.local/confluence.

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JIRA Software and Confluence — September 14, 2018

JIRA Software and Confluence

Installing Atlassian Jira Software onto an in-house or self-hosted server is as simple as following the Jira installation guide. The only thing missing is the setup of the database.

Jira suggest that whilst other databases are available, MySQL, MSSQL etc. their preferred DB is postgresql. Primarily because it’s common in their user space and support environment, meaning that their support and documentation is likely to be more readily available for postgresql instances than other DB’s.

Let’s follow the advice and install postgresql.

$ sudo apt-get install postgresql

At the time of writing this installs postgresql version 9.6 on Debian Stretch.

In order to create the environment that we can manage there are a couple of postgresql config changes that we make to ensure you can access the DB from another system – for managing with pgadmin 4.

Enable access to postgresql from specific network/IP addresses by editing pg_hba.conf under /etc/postgresql/9.6/main.

$ sudo vi /etc/postgresql/9.6/main/pg_hba.conf

Find the line:

host    all    all    md5

Add a line below to match your required IP addresses/subnets eg.

host    all    all  md5

This allows any machine with a 192.168.0.X address to access the DB.

Now we need to listen or bind to an IP address that is available on the network. By default postgresql only listens on port 5432, meaning it will only accept connections to the local machine from the local machine.

$ sudo vi /etc/postgresql/9.6/main/postgressql.conf

Find the line beginning:

#listen_addresses = 'localhost'

Add a new line below it:

listen_addresses = '*'

Restart the postgresql service:

$ sudo systemctl restart postgresql.service

Databases and User

Create a database and a user for Jira/Confluence to use

$ sudo -u postgres createdb jira
$ sudo -u postgres createdb confluence
$ sudo -u postgres createuser jiradb

Set the users password and grant them access to the DB’s.

$ sudo -u postgres psql 
psql (9.6.10)
Type "help" for help.

postgres=# alter user jiradb with encrypted password 'mysupersecretpassword';

postgres=# grant all privileges on database jira to jiradb;

postgres=# grant all privileges on database confluence to jiradb;

When you install Jira and confluence you can then use the database settings you’ve just created.

Database Type: PostgreSQL
Hostname:      localhost
Port:          5432
Database:      jira
Username:      jiradb
Password:      mysupersecretpassword
Schema:        public





All of our SOAP interactions with the Lagan CRM send and return SOAP and by association, XML. The normal practice of handling the sent or returned XML is by using XSLT to transform the data to and from the required format.

The forms product will submit XML through an XSL translation taking data from the POST’ed form data and turning it into the XML format/type required. The returned XML data must also be processed via an XSLT to present the data to the form.

How do we go about testing translations and stylesheets without constantly publishing forms and requesting data from the CRM server?

For this I used postman to submit and retrieve sample SOAP envelopes with the required XML soapenv:Body. Then I can take the returned sample data and save it to an XML file. Now I have a local sample of the XML I can use an XSLT tool to process it via a locally created stylesheet. No more repetitive form submissions or having to work with only the form product to develop the XSLT.


XSLT Tools

There are a very few XSLT tools that seem to do the job for free. Certainly when it comes to a GUI environment all the tools are paid for products.

At the command line there are some free options, but each have challenges. But I figured that just because it’s command line, doesn’t mean I can’t use it in a GUI. Atom has a very useful plugin that can be used to interface with the command line XSLT programs – atom-xsltransform. The settings for the plugin just point to the XSLT processor of your choice.

Once installed you press ctrl-shift-p whilst in your XML source file, it prompts you for the path of the XSLT transformation file to use and then returns the output into an edit tab in Atom.


For Windows I came across a very simple command line product from Microsoft MSXSL. It doesn’t look like there’s a recent version as this dates back to 2004. But as XML has been around for 20 years or so this may not be a problem. I did however find it seemed to produce broken output that looked to be to do with unicode. So maybe it’s not capable of handling the UTF-8 files I’m using.


This is from the world of Linux, but there is a port to Windows that works.

For Linux just install it from the repository:

$ sudo apt-get install xsltproc

For Windows, it’s harder work. Not significantly, but frustrating. You need to download a series of files, extract them all into the same place, to let their individual bin folders merge their contents. Then you can run the included xsltproc.exe and it should find all of the dll’s.

I chose the 64bit 7z files and extracted these files:

  • iconv-1.14-win32-x86_64.7z
  • libtool-2.4.6-win32-x86_64.7z
  • libxml2-2.9.3-win32-x86_64.7z
  • libxslt-1.1.28-win32-x86_64.7z
  • mingwrt-5.2.0-win32-x86_64.7z
  • openssl-1.0.2e-win32-x86_64.7z
  • xmlsec1-1.2.20-win32-x86_64.7z
  • zlib-1.2.8-win32-x86_64.7z


This is a Java product and comes in a number of versions from home edition to professional that requires payment.

It’s hosted here on Sourceforge:

I downloaded the HE (home edition) and just placed the jar files somewhere I could use them.

From the Linux command line I used it like this:

$ java -jar saxon9he.jar -s:/home/user/lagan/xslt/FWTCaseFullDetails.xml -xsl:/home/user/lagan/xslt/FWTCaseFullDetails.xslt

Atom plugin settings

It’s a simple case of putting in the path of the executable you want to run. Pay attention to the order of the parameters for the tools. MSXML and xsltproc have the XML and XSL options in a different order.

For the Linux xsltproc settings I used:

/usr/bin/xsltproc %XML %XSL

For Saxon I had to be specific about where the jar file was as I haven’t installed it into the java class path.

java -jar /home/home/saxon/saxon9he.jar -s:%XML -xsl:%XSL


The XSLT stylesheet acts as the instruction set to take the XML input and apply the XSLT logic to transform the XML content into another format such as text or HTML.

W3Schools has some useful guidance here:

Another useful intro: