Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

By Date: April 2018

Function length and double byte languages

Complexity is a prime enemy of maintainability. So the conventional wisdom suggests methods should be around 20 lines, with some evidence suggesting up to 100+ lines.

When I review code written by non-native English speakers, especially when their primary language is double byte based, I find methods in the 500-1000 lines range, with some special champions up to 5000 lines. So I wondered what might contribute to these function/method worms.

Read more

Posted by on 09 April 2018 | Comments (1) | categories: Java JavaScript NodeJS Software

Creative logging with $A.log()

In Lightning applications there are two ways to log: console.log(..) and $A.log(...). This has led to some confusion what to use.

The official statement: $A.log() will eventually go away, use console.log()

This is a real pity, since $A.log() is quite powerful and closer to what a developer would expect from logging. One reason for its demise: in a production setting $A.log() would output - nothing. There's no official documentation how to change that and the $A.logger.subscribe(...) method is neither documented nor guaranteed, only mentioned on Stack Exchange. So?

Enjoy it while it lasts

The simple case to activate console output in production is to add a helper function that can be triggered by a button or whatever you find necessary:

$A.logger.subscribe( "INFO", function( level, message, error ) {
                                console.log( message );
                                console.log( error );

Instead of sending output to the console, which could confuse users seeing all that ?tech' stuff, you could redirect it into a custom component (the following snippet fits into an onInit script):

var target = component.find("loggerlist").getElement();
$A.logger.subscribe( "INFO", function( level, message, error ) {
                               target.innerHTML += "<li>"+message+"</li><li>"+error+"</li>";

The target element would be <ol auraid="loggerlist"> so you get a running list.

Across the network

One is not limited to staying on the same machine. With a few lines of code logging can happen on a remote location as well. The following shows logging using websockets. For a production run (e.g. permanent instrumentation) I would make it a little more robust, like keeping the connection open and check if it is still there or send JSON, but for the occasional support this is good enough:

$A.logger.subscribe( "INFO", function( level, message, error ) {
    var wsEndPoint = 'wss://somewebsocket.url/ws/log';
    var connection = new WebSocket(wsEndPoint);
     connection.onopen = function(event) {

I'll show a potential receiving end implementation in a future post.
As I said: enjoy it while it lasts, it might go away soon. YMMV

Posted by on 03 April 2018 | Comments (0) | categories: Salesforce

Salesforce one year on

A year ago I said Good by IBM, Hello Salesforce. A lot has happened in the last 12 month. Salesforce is only my second salaried job, I've been running my own companies and been freelance before.

Coming from IBM, where Resource Actions had efficiently killed employee engagement, Salesforce's Ohana culture was a refreshing different. It makes such a difference to work with people who are genuinely interested in your success, without exception. In summary:

  • I became a Trailblazer Ranger, completing 30 trails, 206 badges and collecting 169625 points
  • Passed five Salesforce certifications
  • Contributed to customer success in Singapore, Australia and Korea
  • Wrote 25 blog entries (Way to little, more are coming)
  • Moved my blog from Domino to git (more on that below)
  • Contributed to OpenSource on github:
    • Maintainer for node-red-contrib-salesforce. The nodes that connect NodeRED to Salesforce, including the support for platform events
    • Excel2XML: Tool that converts XLSX tables into XML, so data can be extracted in command line applications. Main purpose is to make Excel data accessible in build pipelines (e.g. sample values for tests)
    • Spring Boot and Salesforce Canvas: Sample application that turns a Canvas POST into a JWT authentication, so classic multi pages applications can be integrated into Salesforce Canvas
    • Vert.x proxy Filtering proxy implemented in Apache vert.x. It allows to front a web application and filter HTML, JSON etc. based on content and URL
    • SFDC Platform Events: Modules for Apache vert.x to connect to Salesforce. It includes authentication and processing of platform events. This allows for high performance multi-threaded interaction with Salesforce APIs, not limited to platform events
    • Blog Comments Tool that accepts a JSON formated comment structure and creates a Bitbucket file, a commit and a pull request. Allows for a database free comment engine
    • BlogEngine: The application that powers this blog. It generates static files when commits/merges happen to my master branch on Bitbucket

What a ride, onto year two!

Posted by on 01 April 2018 | Comments (2) | categories: Salesforce

Boolean to get major overhaul

George Boole didn't seem to understand his five teenage daughters, (he didn't have sons, so this is about teenagers, not daughters) otherwise his boolean logic would encompass not only true and false, but also maybe or don't know. Luckily that omission will be addressed now.

Boolean to merge with Ternary

Quick recap: a boolean value has the values true (usually 1), false (usually 0). Ternary has 3 states, typically denoted -1, 0, 1. Not to confuse ternary with QBits which are true and false at the same time.

To reflect the real world, where nothing is certain, and cater to teenage level developers, the ternary and boolean data types will be merged into a new type: RealBoolean.

Proposals are under way to incorporate RealBoolean into all major programming languages ASAP. RealBoolean will have the values true, undecided and false. While it is up to the programming languages how these values are represented, consensus is, that the most likely candidates are -1, 0 and 1.

New hardware

Like specialized mining hardware for Crypto, RealBoolean will benefit from purpose build ternary computers. Early models had been running since 1958. Ternary computing also has arrived in micro processor architectures. Of course there are doubters

Transition period

Having multiple data types to express the truth might fit the political desire for alternate facts, but is an unsustainable confusion in programming. Therefore the classic boolean values will become illegal April 01, 2042.
In the transition period classic booleans will be ducktyped into RealBoolean whenever the values true, false or 1 are used. For boolean 0 or -1 (as some unfortunate languages use) compilers and runtimes are mandated to issue a warning for the first 5 years, thereafter a stern warning before they finally become illegal


All version control repositories will be scanned (the NSA does that anyway) and offending code flagged with new issues. Binary code, not compiled from a repository, will be treated as virus, blocked and deleted. After the deadline all remaining offending code will be transpiled into COBOL - good luck with finding developers to make sense of that code thereafter

Posted by on 01 April 2018 | Comments (4) | categories: After hours Software Technology