Stuff I'm Up To

Technical Ramblings

Laravel 5.5 HMR and Windows — January 15, 2019

Laravel 5.5 HMR and Windows

Using HMR in Chrome on Linux is faultless, but on Windows HMR fails to start in the browser.

Looking at the entries in the bowsers script tags they seem a bit goofy. There’s leading slashes and spaces before the script filename.

It seems this is a popular issue. We hunted around for quite a few pointers to resolve this.

The only thing we changed was line 90 of Entry.js to add on the extra replace(/^\//, ''); A restart of yarn hot and a browser refresh and we were good to go. HMR and WDS show in the Chrome console as expected and changes to code are now dynamic.

php 7.0 on Debian Buster — January 2, 2019

php 7.0 on Debian Buster

Actually this is more about any version of php (5.6, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2) on buster. Php source has taken on a bit of a split and the standard repositories only deal with the one supported version for the current release of Debian you are using.

This means that on Debian 9 (buster/sid) the only version available from the Debian repository is php 7.3.

Our current production systems are Debian 9 stretch and only support php 7.0 and therefore only Laravel 5.5. In order to bring my development platform down to php 7.0 I must use a non-standard repository.

Ondřej Surý has been packaging php for Debian and Ubuntu and distributing them. To get them you need to add his key and repository into your aptitude:

$ wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -
$ echo "deb stretch main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/php.list

Now you can add in whatever version of php you’d like even 5.6. eg.

$ sudo apt-get install php7.0-fpm php7.0-mbstring php7.0-zip php7.0-mysql php7.0-sqlite3 php7.0-dev php-pear

If you already had 7.3 installed nothing will have changed yet and when you type php from the command line you’ll see it still runs version 7.3.

$ php -v

PHP 7.3.0-2+0~20181217092659.24+stretch~1.gbp54e52f (cli) (built: Dec 17 2018 09:26:59) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.3.0-dev, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies
with Zend OPcache v7.3.0-2+0~20181217092659.24+stretch~1.gbp54e52f, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

To switch back to 7.0 use the following and you’ll see your php go back to 7.0. Switch back in the same way, but replace 7.0 with 7.3.

$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.0

update-alternatives: using /usr/bin/php7.0 to provide /usr/bin/php (php) in manual mode
$ php -v

PHP 7.0.33-1+0~20181208203126.8+stretch~1.gbp2ff763 (cli) (built: Dec 8 2018 20:31:26) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2017 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.0.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Zend Technologies
with Zend OPcache v7.0.33-1+0~20181208203126.8+stretch~1.gbp2ff763, Copyright (c) 1999-2017, by Zend Technologies

Damn that Proxy! — December 12, 2018

Damn that Proxy!

In Windows when you run into an application that doesn’t use proxy settings and doesn’t look at the environmental variable,  IE or netsh settings, then you’re kind of stuck when you must send web traffic through a proxy.

That was until we discovered proxycap.

Proxy cap is a very flexible solution that can add specific rules for various requirements. It will then intercept matching traffic and direct it to the proxy without the application even realising there is a proxy.

The example we based this on is the application Bluestacks, not being able to proxy. When we Goggled a solution we came up with posts about using proxycap. We could then add in rules only for the programs bluestacks.exe and hd-player.exe using https to be intercepted and Bluestacks would then work – even though it knew nothing about proxies.

Proxycap seems very clever in that it seems to just modify the Windows firewall to make the magic happen. It’s very flexible in that you could even set different apps to use different proxies. It also supports authentication.

It’s a commercial product, but sometimes you just have to pay the price.

Cross Origin Resource Sharing and Content Security Policy — December 4, 2018

Cross Origin Resource Sharing and Content Security Policy

Got to love having a vendor carrying out half a job… again.

Having installed a new VMWare Horizon environment for Windows 10, I thought we’d at least have Blast available via HTML  – which we don’t currently have in our Windows 7 Horizon setup.

During the install I setup a load balancer which only really handles the authentication process. This worked fine using IE or Edge, at which point I guess the vendor decided that’s enough testing and it’s considered functional. After they left I fired up my Chrome browser and found it didn’t work. So I tried Firefox with the same non-functional result.

Checking the console log in Firefox I see:

Content Security Policy: The page's settings blocked the loading of a resource at wss:// ("default-src").

A trawl of VMWare documentation results in:

Now all I have to do is translate that to Nginx so I can put that into the config.

Editing my ssl/snippets.conf file and changing the CSP header, I added the missing parts for wss: and blob: to end up with:

add_header Content-Security-Policy "default-src 'self' wss:; script-src 'self' 'unsafe-inline' 'unsafe-eval'; img-src 'self'; style-src 'self' 'unsafe-inline'; font-src 'self'; frame-src https://horizon.domain.tld blob:; object-src 'none' blob:; connect-src 'self' wss:; child-src 'self' blob:;";

A reload of Nginx and a refresh/reload on the browser and I’m into the Horizon Desktop!


Laravel Routing Returns 302 Redirect — November 20, 2018

Laravel Routing Returns 302 Redirect

That was a frustrating few hours. I added a route into my api.php route and every time I visited it it triggered a redirect. I saw nothing in the browser and it was like my controller function wasn’t even being called.

I put the usual dd() and dump() into my function and it wasn’t being called. I even changed the function name so it didn’t exist and thought I’d get an error message, but nothing – still a redirect.

What is going on? I expanded out the call from “Namespace\Class@function” to put in a function () {} and that was being called and ran ok.

Clearly there was something wrong with my class somewhere. The other functions within it worked fine, just this new one didn’t even seem to be there.

Sure enough a bit of Duck-Jitsu and I found this: – answer 3 is where I got my clue.

I looked at my class constructor and I was using the auth middleware to ensure the functions were not used unless authenticated.

public function __construct() {

For my function I wasn’t using any authentication, so of course I was getting a redirect. But because it’s an api call and the expected return in JSON under an XHttpResponse I wasn’t able to properly debug it. I was getting back a HTML page instead.

As a work around all I needed to do was add in an exception for my function:

public function __construct() {
  $this->middleware(['auth:api'], ['except' => [ 'myFunction' ]]);

Now all I have to do is go back and sort out the authentication for the function so I don’t need to bypass it.

Java Decompiler — November 6, 2018

Java Decompiler

Today I’ve been working on a problem where properties being loaded into our CRM system from a GIS DTF file are doing some strange updates. It appears that the vendor in their wisdom has decided to populate user defined fields that we already use!

The Loader is written in Java, I have a .jar file and can extract the .class files, but they’re all compiled.

A bit of searching reveals an online decompiler I can use:

I started using it to decompile one .class file at a time and quickly became bored. So tried the whole .jar file. It happily decompiled the file and returned a single zip file containing the decompiled .class files as .javafiles.

Now I can scan the .java files to find out what other SQL calls they are making to fill other fields we might be using.

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'),


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.

Continue reading

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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