Category: Programming


This year, I was lucky to attend JsConf and CssConf which took place in Berlin. It was the first time I have attended a conference away from Malta. Everything was faultless, the speakers, the venue, the food and the organisation.

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For those interested to watch the talks online, this is possible from their YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/jsconfeu/videos.

To start with, the below is one of my favourites, which can help you think about a smarter way in which as a developer we should load our CSS in order to achieve a better perception of our site being fast, without doing any technical improvements.

I was lucky to attend a 5 day in depth course which was organised by Bank of Valletta and was offered by Dr. Bart de Win who holds a Ph.D. in Software Security. The course focused on Secure Development in Java and .NET. I will not going in detail about all the topics covered during the course, however, I would like to point out some things which can be done in .NET applications to greatly help the security of the application using the least amount of effort required:

  • Disable Caching
  • Validate all Inputs, if using the .NET validation components which come out of the box, they will be validating both on the client and server side. Therefore, this should be quite a good solution with minimal effort since the validation control is specified once. It is important to handle server side validations and not just client side validations because the client side validation can be by-passed easily by disabling JavaScript or using a program like BURP to play with the packets. 
  • Check the HTML Header for manipulation. This can be easily specified in the web config file by adding <httpRuntime enableHeaderChecking=”true”/> within the <system.web> tag. 
  • Output Encoding
  • Error Handling Redirects – as to ensure that the attacker cannot view the stack trace of any exceptions which are raised. Error pages should be created and the user will only see the 403, 404 and Generic Error Pages. The exception should be logged somewhere secure such as in a database or text file on the server which can only be viewed by the authorised people. 
  • Use of SQL Commands and SQL Parameters – This elimanates the risk of most SQL Injection techniques
  • Protect Connection String
  • Use HTTPs
  • Clickjacking Protection (add this to the code: ‘Response.AddHeader(“X-Frame-Options”, “SAMEORIGIN”);’ this should work on most recent browsers
  • Disable .NET Version Header <httpRuntime enableVersionHeader=”false” />
  • Protect against automation with a tool like CAPTCHA
  • Use Virus Scan on File Upload

Comments and suggestions are appreciated.

I have now finished university and have found myself a full-time job at Malta’s largest Bank (BOV) where I was already a student worker for the last two years. I am currently fulfilling the role of a Junior Software Developer and I form part of a small team which builds web based applications. On the programming side, I have been working a lot with C# and asp.NET 4.0 Web Forms and I’ve had a very enjoyable experience so far. The .NET framework is great, C# is very similar to Java which is what I was used to, and the IDE is amazing. I have found tasks like stress testing to be a breeze with load tests and web performance tests. This is why I’m so excited to try out the new Visual Studio 2012 and the asp.NET 4.5

Thanks to Dream Spark, I am downloading the Visual Studio 2012 Professional version at this moment!

 

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Barbagann Games were asked several questions about gaming, mobile gaming, and the challenges faced during game development and this article was featured on the TV Guide which is handed out by The Times. The game Scarfish is still being developed and should be released some time next Summer. In the meantime, follow http://www.barbaganngames.com and https://www.facebook.com/barbaganngames for the latest news.
barbagann games, tv guide When I have a full, readable copy of the article, I will try to share it here so all of you can enjoy it 🙂

PaperOpus

Scarfish, the game we developed snapped 2nd place and an honourable mention from Vince Briffa, one of the judges during the GameZing 2011 awards ceremony who is the head of department of Digital Art within the University of Malta.   The competition consisted of 13 teams in total from St. Martins Institute of IT, University of Malta, and a competitor from the University of Copenhagen.  After achieving third place when we were competing at the GameDev Challenge 2011 we were quite happy that we improved our position in this competition, with more competing teams.  We were also quite delighted we got an honourable mention from one of the judges for having the best graphics amongst other qualities. 

After this success with Scarfish, an iOS/Android/Web game we have developed during the last 7 months, we would like to improve the game further until we see it is in a position to be placed on the Apple and Android App Stores.  I would like to thank St. Martins for the support and tuition in the area of game development, GameZing for the awards ceremony and prizes, my team mates at Barbagann Games with whom we have worked so hard to achieve this placing and all of our supporters and testers.

GameZing 2011 Trophy

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The game “Scarfish” which my team, Barbagann Games were working on the last six months placed 3rd at the GameDev Challenge 2011 organised by St. Martins Insitute of IT.  The next real proving point is when the app is released on Android and iOS markets. We will also know the results for GameZing 2011 in January 2012. 

In the meantime, enjoy our introductory storyboard: 

I just started working at Bank of Valletta for the Summer time as a Junior Programmer. I have an interesting project coming up, it involves Oracle RDBMS, Pl/SQL, C#, asp.NET and some HTML, CSS and Javascript. After these 3 months I would be able to compare how PHP compares with .NET technologies since I did similar stuff with PHP already.

After I finish my work on this project, I would have now worked a mix off different programming technologies, these are: Java, Processing, C#, asp.NET, SQL, PL/SQL, HTML, CSS, jQuery. 

I will keep you updated with any interesting finds I will find during my experience with the .NET Framework.

 

asp.NET logo

 

I had basic knowledge of PHP, I had created some contact forms and small scripts before, but never really went deep.

This week I thorn my ankle’s ligaments, so I am spending most of my time in bed. Thanks to my iPad and iBooks I have much more time for reading now, and I’m trying to use it wisely by learning something new. I am reading this book: PHP and MySQL Web Development by Luke Welling & Laura Thomson.

It is quite an interesting book, and I can already see how my web development skills will improve once I get confident with PHP. Another very good website is http://www.php.net. It has manuals for each function in PHP, which can make your life easier.

I work mostly with Oracle Database Technologies, so there were a few things which I’m not used to when it comes to mySQL. However I found it pretty easy to work with mySQL and I have to say that the new phpMyAdmin interface looks much better too.

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As part of my second assignment I built a Colour to Monochrome Application with a twist. This program leaves red colours as they are and converts the rest to monochrome.

Controls:

Press 2 to filter the image, and Press 1 to load to original image again. Click to loop through the images.

For those of you who do not know what Processing is, it is an IDE which is used to create animations, and interactive applications. The good news is here, for those of you who use WordPress and Processing, there is a great Plugin which you can use to integrate your Processing Sketches.

All you need to do is upload your file to the ftp, then tell your plugin where it can find your jar file, adjust width and height window, and it automatically integrates it to your blog post.

An example of an integrated processing sketch in a blog post can be seen in my previous post.

Links:

Processing: http://processing.org/
Wordpress Processing Embedding Plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-processing-embed/