Disable auto-update for Chrome extensions

Sometimes a Chrome extension gets very popular and then the authors choose a commercial path. Or some feature is discontinued, but you want to keep it as is. Below I describe a way to keep the extension from auto updating itself with the help of the Chrome extension source viewer. This extension is very useful for learning how to develop chrome extensions (how did they did this/that?).

First install the Chrome extension source viewer from the Chrome webstore. Or if you are planning to use it once, you can use the online version.

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Steps to modify a Chrome extension (to disable auto-update)

  1. Download a specific version of a Chrome extension. My example I used it for is Media Hint. Version 0.1.12 can be found here

  2. Go to your extensions folder in Chrome, turn on Developer Mode, and click on the options link below Chrome extension source viewer

  3. Open the viewer

  4. Open the recently downloaded Media Hint file

  5. Click "Download" in the upper left corner. Finder will open showing you a null folder that contains the Media Hint logo, a javascript file, and the manifest.

  6. Open the Manifest JSON file (Any text editor will do)

  7. Change the update url (found in quotations) to http://127.0.0.1 (you own local machine IP) and save the file

  8. Optional: Go to the Chrome Developer tools and choose to pack a chrome extension to create a .crx file again.

  9. Drag the entire null folder or the .crx file (with the newly edited manifest file) into your Chrome Extensions page with developer mode turned on.

  10. . Enjoy your customized extension

Hope this helps,

Guus

Tip of the day – redirecting in Asp.net

When you want to disable a specific site, there are several ways to do this. One is to remove the site completely or disable the site in IIS. But then the visitor of the site will get a 404 not found message. When you have a new site you want to redirect to, you can use this little snippet in your web.config to redirect to any url / site:
 
..
<location path="index.aspx">
    <system.webServer>
      <httpRedirect enabled="true" destination="http://www.other-site.com/" httpResponseStatus="Permanent" />
    </system.webServer>
</location>
..
 

Sidewaffle templates

Sidewaffle is a Visual Studio extension that gives you more templating power. It has lots of snippets for Item templates and Project templates. You can install it via the ‘Extensions and Updates’ or by downloading the .vsix package manually. Did I already mention that is productivity tools is coming from Microsoft and is open source on GitHub?

Install:

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New project templates are visible under each project type. Note: screenshot is created on 13 april. It’s open source, so new templates can be there after each update (notification via the standard Visual Studio window).

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After selecting a template, a default setup is ready to go:

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Let say you want to create a new Robots.txt. You can choose it as a template:

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Use AngularJS template for controllers, directives, etc (with/without typescript):

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Example code for a AngularJS controller template:

(function () {
    'use strict';
 
    var controllerId = 'controller1';
 
    // TODO: replace app with your module name
    angular.module('app').controller(controllerId,
        ['$scope', controller1]);
 
    function controller1($scope) {
        $scope.title = 'controller1';
        $scope.activate = activate;
 
        function activate() { }
    }
})();

 

Hope you now have a good overview of what SideWaflle is and how it can help you speed up your development.

20 Database Design Practices

When designing database, you have choices to make. To work in the right direction and preventing regretting design decisions, I am using these best practices :

  1. Use consistent names. Well defined and consistent names for tables and columns (e.g. School, StudentCourse, CourseID ...).
  2. Use singular for table names (i.e. use StudentCourse instead of StudentCourses). Table represents a collection of entities, there is no need for plural names.
  3. Don’t use spaces for table names. Otherwise you will have to use ‘{‘, ‘[‘, ‘“’ etc. characters to define tables (i.e. for accesing table Student Course you'll write “Student Course”. StudentCourse is much better).
  4. Don’t use unnecessary prefixes or suffixes for table names (i.e. use School instead of TblSchool, SchoolTable etc.).
  5. Keep passwords as encrypted for security. Decrypt them in application when required.
  6. Use integer id fields for all tables. If id is not required for the time being, it may be required in the future (for association tables, indexing ...).
  7. Choose columns with the integer data type (or its variants) for indexing. varchar column indexing will cause performance problems.
  8. Use bit fields for boolean values. Using integer or varchar is unnecessarily storage consuming. Also start those column names with “Is”.
  9. Provide authentication for database access. Don’t give admin role to each user.
  10. Avoid “select *” queries until it is really needed. Use "select [required_columns_list]" for better performance.
  11. Use an ORM (object relational mapping) framework (i.e. hibernate, iBatis ...) if application code is big enough. Performance issues of ORM frameworks can be handled by detailed configuration parameters.
  12. Partition big and unused/rarely used tables/table parts to different physical storages for better query performance.
  13. For big, sensitive and mission critic database systems, use disaster recovery and security services like failover clustering, auto backups, replication etc.
  14. Use constraints (foreign key, check, not null ...) for data integrity. Don’t give whole control to application code.
  15. Document your database design with ER schemas and instructions. Lack of database documentation is evil. Also write comment lines for your triggers, stored procedures and other scripts.
  16. Use indexes for frequently used queries on big tables. Analyser tools can be used to determine where indexes will be defined. For queries retrieving a range of rows, clustered indexes are usually better. For point queries, non-clustered indexes are usually better.
  17. Database server and the web server must be placed in different machines. This will provide more security (attackers can’t access data directly) and server CPU and memory performance will be better because of reduced request number and process usage.
  18. Image and blob data columns must not be defined in frequently queried tables because of performance issues. These data must be placed in separate tables and their pointer can be used in queried tables.
  19. Normalization must be used as required, to optimize the performance. Under-normalization will cause excessive repetition of data, over-normalization will cause excessive joins across too many tables. Both of them will get worse performance.
  20. Spend time for database modeling and design as much as required. Otherwise saved(!) design time will cause (saved(!) design time) * 10/100/1000 maintenance and re-design time.