Continuous Delivery, Security, Self-Improvement, Web Development

Techorama 2014 takeaways

Last week I attended the very first installment of Techorama, a new conference for developers hosted in Mechelen, Belgium. This post will walk you through my experiences of the conference and will highlight the most important takeaways from the various talks I attended.

General impressions

The conference had tracks on ALM, Mobile, Web, Cloud, Language & Tools, Sharepoint & SQL and best-of Build 2014. I mostly attended the Web and ALM tracks since they are most relevant for my current work, but I dabbled in the other tracks here and there. I expected this conference to be heavily Microsoft-oriented but it turned out that there were a lot of non-Microsoft specific talks. As a matter of fact, it would have been entirely possible to schedule your conference without attending a single Microsoft-specific talk.

Most of the talks I attended were high-quality presentations. The booth hall had some entertaining side tracks and there was a lot of swag up for grabs. The food was delicious (warm meals instead of the usual sandwiches!). Overall there was a very good vibe during these two days.

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Javascript, Web Development

Cross-Domain requests in Javascript

If you are developing a modern web-based application, chances are you:

  1. Are using javascript on the client side.
  2. Need to integrate with services that are not completely under your control (or that reside in a different “origin”).
  3. Have been confronted by this error message in your browser’s console:

XMLHttpRequest cannot load http://external.service/. No 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin' header is present on the requested resource. Origin 'http://my.app' is therefore not allowed access.

Every time I need to integrate a web app with some external service or some server-side API I have no complete control over, I bump into this error. Google has not yet provided me with a concise description of the problem or an overview of alternatives to perform Cross-Domain requests, so this post will serve as a personal future reference.

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Mobile, Web Development

Are You Ready for HTML5?

I recently attended a workshop on HTML5. It has been around for a while now, but I still learned a lot of new stuff. This post gives an overview of the new things I learned during the session and provides some benefits and drawbacks of adopting HTML5 in your web sites right now.

I had some experience with HTML5’s new features when I was creating a mobile application using HTML/Javascript, but this workshop really freshened up my HTML5 knowledge. The workshop was facilitated by Mathias Bynens, most of the topics I touch upon are inspired by his course material.

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Testing, Web Development

Creating cross-browser extensions with Crossrider

Last year I had the opportunity to work on the development of a browser extension for multiple browsers. As I wanted to minimize the amount of browser-specific code and wanted to avoid duplicating my extension for every browser, I used the Crossrider framework. This post provides an overview of my experiences with developing a cross-browser extension using the framework.

The requirements

The extension I had to create was meant to search through web pages as the user visited them and then add some extra functionality to certain keywords on the page. I won’t go into details here, but it’s something similar as Skype’s Click to Call, which does the same with phone numbers: Click to Call recognizes phone numbers and adds a button to the webpage to easily call this number through Skype:

Skype Click to Call in action - copyright www.skype.com

Skype Click to Call in action – copyright http://www.skype.com

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