Category: Software

Azure Days

Microsoft Azure Days #1

A quick blog post about the past Thursday at Microsoft conference center where the (French) Azure Days #1 took place. As a previous insider, I was invited to a full day of conferences about the Microsoft cloud platform and I was really impressed how it becomes massive: about 80 services from VM and hosting to database and AI. I won’t make ads here but numbers speak by them self:

Numbers about the strong Azure momentum
Azure Days #1 – Momentum

During the day, we learned basics of the platform: platform specific wording and concepts, how to prevision VM, deploy applications, setup networking and deal with the resource manager. The speakers, 4 architects, were very motivating and knew how to keep people attention (specific mention for Pierre’s distraction when a live demonstration temporary failed). The event will be repeated each 6 to 8 weeks and, good news, it’s totally free! Except if you have to take a day off like me because your company doesn’t think cloud is important… Anyway, I should be present the 12th of September for the Azure Day #2 and I’m now looking forward to participate to the first Google Cloud summit at Paris this October!

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Dev story: project hosting

It was a long time since the previous post and it’s the opportunity of trying a new format I call « dev story ». A less verbose post format but more based on day-to-day coder life. The story I would like to share is about the port of one of my Firefox add-on: Scroll Up Folder. I recently made big changes for this project on which I could share: first I had to change its hosting then I rewrote the whole add-on using a new SDK.

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Security conferences by AFUP

Early in the week, I was to the security conferences led by the AFUP about the software security. The main goals of those conferences was to make developers aware of the real dangers of security breaches. The first conference was given by the OWASP organization, a non-profit organization focused on improving security. The main key points of its talk was:

  • If your application wasn’t attacked yet, it will be,
  • If your are aware of the most critic security risks and you choose to handle them, you could prevent the bigger part of coming attacks,
  • You could handle security risk easily with theirs documentations and tools freely available.

The second conference was made by an AFUP member, Christophe Villeneuve, the creator of the elephpant. The talk focused on how to secure you PHP applications. It tooks the most common security risks previously described and explains how to prevent it with PHP language. He deals with subjects like database request escapement, user input cleaning or risky specific language features (PHP-SELF, global, …).

The third and last conference was made by a security engineer of Mozilla to present security solutions added to Firefox OS. She explained last additions like application signature and installation source, permission system or content security policy (CSP). It also was also opportunity to demonstrate the last version of Firefox OS 2.0 and a static JavaScript code analyzer ScanJS.

To conclude, the conferences were interesting and networking very pleasant. I would like to thanks talkers for their time and Mozilla for their premises and I end with some picture of the night and the video will be soon online.

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Time4Popcorn for Android

This week was released an Android version of Popcorn Time. For those who don’t know the project, it’s similar to Netflix: you select the movie or serie you want to watch and could instantly play it. Unlike Netflix, it’s free, based on user torrent seed and illegal in almost all countries. So don’t use it and go buy you DVD instead !

Existing versions still confine to desktop releases until now. So be happy mobile users, you day is coming ! Except one thing (or two, which career will allow you to download 1080p movie with p2p ?), it’s not the official / legacy team of Popcorn Time which releases the application. What does it means ? An alternative team is releasing the same software under an alternate name « Time4Popcorn ». But what for ?

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Why Flash is still alive ?

I post today to ask an open question : « Why Flash is still alive ? ». Some days ago I was raging again Flash on some website when I wondered why Flash is always used ? In my computer user life, I lost several hours trying to get Flash work properly. Bad Linux support, browser freezes, oh wait, making a list !

Cons:

  • CPU and memory consumptions (for the player itself and browser sandbox),
  • Security leaks and intrusion vector (see Adobe security bulletins numbers and date),
  • Bad support for OS other than Windows (only old and vulnerable versions for Linux),
  • No multiple screens support (start player from one screen, move it to a second one and go fullscreen: player displays content on full first screen),
  • Freezes and BSOD (under Windows at least),
  • Invasive updater (does not take care of user update preferences, no proxy settings, deletes itself if download fails, offline installer well hidden in Adobe site),
  • No more supported on mobile devices (Android, iOS, WP8).

Pros:

  • Advanced features for video player (stream quality switch, ads overlay),
  • Fast and cheap indy game development.

For the video player advanced features, I think web standard evolutions will quickly offer equivalent features (including standard adoption in browsers). Technologies like WebRTC show how browsers evolved into natively supported multimedia platforms. For the Flash browser game, how long could they fight against full web games when you see that Unreal Engine 3 works with JS and WebGL ? Or against the Chrome gamepad API ?

And how long browser developers will let Flash ruin their hard work of speeding up and responsibility increase ? Remember the other Adobe software plugged in browser, Reader, was brushed aside by some lines of fast JS.

Definitely Flash belongs to the past. But for how long will it remain in the present ?