My name is Philipp C. Heckel and I write about nerdy things.
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Posts Categorized / Code Snippets


  • Dec 04 / 2015
  • 4
Administration, Code Snippets, Linux, Scripting, Security

Snippet 0x0D: Let’s Encrypt – 5 min guide to set up cronjob based certificate renewal

Let’s Encrypt was officially released to the open public today. That means the Internet can finally get free, trusted SSL/TLS certificates. This quick guide shows how to set up Let’s Encrypt with auto-renewal through a cronjob — using the simp_le client, an alternative client developed by one of the same authors who develop the official client.

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  • Aug 22 / 2015
  • 0
Code Snippets, Programming

Snippet 0x0C: Load multiple composer.json files at runtime

Remember the times when we copied PHP “libraries” into our project folder, or we copy and pasted code from some random site into our project? Those times are over. Composer and Packagist are the modern way to manage PHP dependencies. They are great. Almost as good as The Maven repos and their build tools in the Java world. However, while Composer is really good at managing the dependencies of a single project, i.e. one composer.json file, it does not play well if you want to plug different projects together at runtime. And by “does not play well” I mean it simply doesn’t work if you have two or more composer.json files. This quick post demonstrates a way around this limitation. Quick and dirty. Just like the foundations of PHP :-)

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  • Mar 24 / 2015
  • 2
Code Snippets, Linux, Scripting

Snippet 0x0B: Bash completion with sub-commands and dynamic options

Every system administrator, most programmers and countless of command line surfing Linux/Mac users use it every day without thinking twice. Hitting the tab key twice, [TAB][TAB], has become the most common thing in the world. Bash completion is the magic behind the tab key. It’s easy to use, but it’s a pain to write. This tiny post demonstrates how to write scripts for bash completion, with sub-commands and dynamic parameters. A working script is embedded in my open source file sync software Syncany.

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  • Jan 24 / 2015
  • 0
Code Snippets, Programming

Snippet 0x09: Reading a ZIP/JAR file with PHP (here: a JAR manifest)

For my open source file sync software Syncany, I have integrated the automatic plugin build process (we provide plugin repository and an easy plugin API to download plugins) with an upload to the Syncany API server. Plugins (JAR files) are uploaded by Travis (example: Samba plugin) to the Syncany server. To serve meta data on through the plugin API, I need to parse the plugins’ MANIFEST.MF files and store them in a database.

This tiny blog post shows you how to read a ZIP/JAR file entry with PHP, and parse JAR manifest (MANIFEST.MF) file. That’s it. Nothing fancy.

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  • Oct 30 / 2014
  • 0
Code Snippets, Programming

Snippet 0x08: HTTP Basic Auth for secure WebSocket connections (with Undertow)

For my open source file sync software Syncany, I use the embedded web server and web socket server Undertow to provide a websocket and REST based interface by the Syncany daemon. Syncany clients (such as the GUI, or potentially a web interface) connect to this daemon, send requests and receive asynchronous events. Syncany’s GUI client also uses the Undertow websocket client to connect to the above mentioned daemon.

To authenticate the websocket client with the daemon, the simple HTTP basic authentication mechanism over HTTPS is used. This tiny post shows you how to authenticate against a websocket server with HTTP basic auth using the Undertow websocket client.

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  • Oct 17 / 2014
  • 0
Code Snippets, Security

Snippet 0x06: Disable SSLv3 in Firefox to protect against POODLE attack

The recent POODLE attack (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) exploits a vulnerability of an older version of SSL (SSLv3) by performing a padding oracle attack — and thereby allowing a man-in-the-middle scenario.

To be vulnerable, both client (browser) and server have to support SSLv3. If either one does not support or has disabled the protocol, this vulnerability cannot be exploited. This tiny article shows you how to disable SSLv3 in Firefox — thereby effectively making your browser POODLE-safe.

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  • Aug 07 / 2014
  • 3
Code Snippets, Programming, Scripting

Snippet 0x05: Windows .bat: Checking if process is running by PID file

Batch (.bat) files are an MS-DOS legacy technology and I don’t know a single person who loves writing them — and yet, to this day, many people have to do it. In order to run Java programs, start daemons or check if a process is running, batch files have to be used. For my open source file sync tool Syncany, I had to do just that:

The Syncany daemon runs in the background and is started by a batch script. To check if the daemon is already running, the batch script needs to read a PID file and determine if a process with this PID is running.

Since it took me an enormeous amount of time to figure out how to do that (I am a Linux guy!), I wanted to share that little script in this code snippet.

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  • Jun 22 / 2014
  • 4
Code Snippets, Programming

Snippet 0x04: Run .sql-scripts from Java (on HSQLDB, Derby, MySQL, etc.)

Java is sometimes harder than it should be. Oftentimes, very easy things are made hard for no apparent reason. Running SQL scripts (.sql) from inside Java is one of those cases. I really expected this to be easy. And it should be, right? Simply take your JDBC connection and do connection.executeScript() or something. After all, a .sql-script is just a file with many statements.

Turns out there is no easy way to do it without writing some code yourself — at least not to my knowledge. Please enlighten me if there is. In the meantime, checkout my SqlRunner class — a class that reads SQL script files and executes the statements.

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