Stuff I'm Up To

Technical Ramblings

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 But then I fell into outdated material that related to babel.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: