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Year In Review - 2022

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2022 Year In Review

It's been a very interesting year for me, having done a lot of new things while also doing a lot of building upon pre-existing knowledge. My favourite things this year were infrastructure based, specifically around Amazon Web Services.

Using AWS Lambda for writing/rewriting requests from an ALB through a VPC.

The task was to migrate a website to a server which the team could gain access to. Simple enough except it required some routing help as the site is located and running using localhost in a VPC on an EC2 instance.

Requests to an URL would come in and an ALB (Load Balancer) would pick up on it. If a specific route was given, the ALB would pass the request to a new Lambda function.

This lambda function takes the entire request body, changes the data to suit what the site needs and passes it on to the site without it even knowing. The lambda then gets the results of the request, extracts it, changes the results for the browser and sends it back to the user.

The lamdba was written in Node JS and was one of the most interesting & satisfying things I did this year.

For some documentation if you are interested, please see below.

  1. Building Lamdba functions with Node.js
  2. Configuring a Lambda Function to access resources in a VPC
  3. Managing external libraries in an AWS Lamdba function

Cost savings using S3 gateway endpoints

Essentially, if you are taking backups to go into S3 buckets that are large, don't do them through a NAT Gateway due to pricing. Ouch.

Enabling S3 gateway endpoints, as long as your EC2 instances are all in the same region and on the same VPC, is essentially free.

For some documentation on how to do this, see below.

  1. Gateway endpoints for Amazon S3

AWS Cloudwatch

This was a relatively simple thing to do but simple is usually best. Applications had been using NLog & .NET Framework to log to Elasticsearch but utilising our AWS infrastructure, was easy to go to AWS Cloudwatch instead as Elasticsearch and its frequent downtime due to cluster problems was a bit of a time soak for development.

For some documentation on how to do this, see below.

  1. Logging .NET to Cloudwatch

  2. Sample NLog config examples and how to

Mobile Printers & Java

I have worked with three new Zebra mobile printers this year, all needing a brand new implementation with the ability to print different fonts, styles & images.

The implementation was done using CPCL in Java for integration amongst multiple printers, a language I had not come across before and is a little more involved than standard line print mode.

While online help & documentation is scarce, Zebra do have a manual so cling to it for dear life!

  1. Zebra CPCL Manual

Jetpack Compose

Coming from a work life of Java sprinkled with Kotlin and XML, using Jetpack Compose has been a blast.

I have my first small Play Store application releasing soon, written entirely in Compose and not having to touch XML & Constraint Layouts has been a blessing.

The application uses Google Firebase for a multitude of solutions which includes:

  1. Authentication (anonymous) for creating users
  2. Firestore Database for real-time read/writing built into the application. This follows the MVVM pattern with the cloud DB, instead of Room.
  3. Admob for small banner ads (interstitial ads in Compose are not fully fleshed out yet)
  4. Firebase Messaging for real-time push notifications to users
  5. Crashlytics/Analytics for monitoring/uptime purposes

The design of the application is using new Material Design 3 which gives a very nice aesthetic look to the app.

Refactors

To finish on, there have also been quite a few changes to older code that needed updating/refactoring and includes:

  1. Moving jQuery AJAX calls to Fetch API & Async/Await patterns
  2. Updating older static sites to mobile friendlier Angular applications
  3. Implementing 3DS V2 for payment sites
  4. Improving upon a singular Android application with multiple customer modules
  5. Migrating from Microsoft SQL Reports to a bespoke front end reporting solution

I am sure there are many other new things I have learnt about and may update this post in the future, but for now, let's see what 2023 has in store.

Happy New Year!