- 14 September 2023
Method chaining is a programming style in which multiple method calls are made on the same object, in sequence. Each method call returns the object itself, so the next method can be called on it without having to assign the object to a variable in between.
This can make code more concise and readable, as it can be written as a single line of code instead of multiple lines. It can also make code more efficient, as the object does not have to be passed around between methods.
- 04 September 2023
Hardcoded variables are never a good idea and one solution is the update the during deployment with Ansible for example. Another option is to set read those variables from the environment and maintaining them via systemd via a separate environment file or as part of the container deployment.
The example below is how Django reads the environment variables to configure the database connection to Postgresql. This way the application can easily be configured as is described in Environment variables set by systemd and the application itself never has to be modified or redeployed.
- 01 September 2023
In Extending GitHub Actions with Annotations the output of GitHub Actions was transformed into Annotations that could be shown in the web interface. The example shows that part for Flake8 which is a framework for different plugins to be combined and scan Python code on common mistakes and improvements. But later in 2023 a plugin was release for Flake8 to generate a report that can be used by GitHub Annotations.
By changing to GitHub Actions workflow file as shown in the example below, then the plugin flake8-github-annotations is installed and the flake8 commands are executed with the option
--format github like as with yamllint. The lines to add the probem matcher can also be removed.
- 29 July 2023
Flake8 is a Python tool that checks Python code for style, programming errors, and help reduce code complexity. It is a wrapper around PyFlakes, pycodestyle, and Ned Batchelder’s McCabe script. Flake8 has a plugin structure and there are many plugins available. One of the plugins is Flake8 Bugbear. Flake8 Bugbear is a plugin for Flake8 that finds likely bugs and design problems in your program. It is a plugin for Flake8 that adds rules from the community that are not included in the core flake8 package.
As Flake8 Bugbear is a plugin for Flake8, you need to install Flake8 first. You can install Flake8 Bugbear with pip for example and in the example below Flake8 Bugbear is installed into a virtual environment.
- 19 July 2023
Python 3.9 introduced new methods called
bytearray.removesuffix() via PEP 616 to remove a prefix or suffix from a string. These methods are similar to
str.rstrip() but they are more efficient and easier to use as they use a string instead of a set of characters. The latter is useful when you want to remove a prefix or suffix from a string that is not a set of characters.
Lets see an example where we want to remove the prefix
www. from a list of URLs as shown below:
- 04 January 2023
With the introduction of GitHub Actions automated testing became more accessible and integrated into the pull requests to make it more clear what is being merged and if it checks off all requirements. This makes other services like Dependabot easy to use and keep your code up to date, but these small changes in dependencies for example. Reviewing code or documentation changes can be more difficult when a linter like yamllint or flake8 gives an error or warning as you have to dig into the logs to search for what is wrong.
GitHub Actions also support annotations that can be presented in the web interface to directly see which notifications there are including files and line numbers as shown below. This way feedback from a workflow executed by GitHub Actions is presented in the web interface.
- 26 May 2022
Python is a powerful language to quickly and efficiently do work with data, but it requires a more in-depth knowledge of the language to write more elegant and readable code. For many new Python programmers, this is a catch-22 as they’re still learning all the details and it takes time. Let’s take a simple example about finding the longest string in a list and simplify some code. Secondly making the code faster as we will use built-in functions at machine speed instead of interpreting Python code.
The example is a for-loop over a list and checks if the new item is longer than the current longest item before it stores it as the longest. Afterward, it prints the result which will be
longest in this case.
- 03 January 2019
Last month PHP 7.3.0 was released and with that a lot of functions or aliases were deprecated that may lead to issues down the road. While Xdebug still needs to be released for PHP 7.3 an automated test with GitLab isn’t possible yet as the build phase of Xdebug fails. Luckily I’m using PHP CodeSniffer and extending
phpcs.xml.dist with the lines below make the build already fail if any of the forbidden functions are being used in the code.
Hopefully PHP Code Sniffer will be extended to check on deprecated constants as well, but for now all code running on PHP 7.2 can be checked to run smoothly on PHP 7.3 and later.
- 17 December 2017
Big sites like GitHub or GitLab are hosting a lot of projects and have numerous of releases a day. And while you as a person can watch a repository on GitHub, you can’t filter out new releases easily. At least not easily findable in the interfaces and checking all the repositories manually because they aren’t part of a build process is too much hassle and will fail in the end. So also for me with highlight.js as it has been updated from version 9.11.0 to 9.12.0 months ago.
Looking at some solutions people were writing about on StackOverflow for example was to parse the HTML and use that as a basis for actions to be executed. A quick check and grep of the output shown that we only have links to releases, but no structured data we can easily parse.
- 01 May 2017
Generating documents in PDF form is becoming the standard nowadays, but how to generate them easily when they’re mostly free format? One of the goals of the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) Certification is writing a report based on the evidence you find. This is where LaTeX comes into the picture as you can easily have multiple files with data and one or more TeX-files combining this into a proper document. The question then also comes “How to optimize this pipeline?”
The first step is to see every report as a git repository where you can store and version all data. And running rubber locally solves the problem to quickly create a PDF from your sources, but wouldn’t it be nice if this part also could be automated? Who didn’t make the last moment change and forgot to run rubber if the document would still compile into a PDF? GitLab CI can luckily also compile LaTeX into a PDF and the notification if your update broke the build process comes for free.
- 23 April 2017
But how does it work? First, let’s calculate the SHA256 hash of JQuery version 3.2.1 hosted by Cloudflare. Also, keep in mind to verify this number with the official version offered by JQuery. In this example, we download the minimized version of JQuery with curl and run it twice through OpenSSL to generate the checksum and encode the result in base64 format.
- 11 February 2013
In a previous posting, I gave an example of how to make database queries safer by using parameter binding and basically stopping SQL injections. The next step is to make the code more readable and maintainable. This doesn’t sound like a priority for secure software development, but readable code is also code that can be verified and maintained by other people. It gives you the edge to debug problems quickly and invites others to supply patches. So let’s take the example where the previous posting ended.
For one or two parameters this may work, but when queries become bigger you need to start counting, and counting beyond three is a bad idea in most cases. Let’s change the question mark with a named variable called ‘:username’ in this example. One could then use the function bindParam() to specify which named variable needs to be replaced and has additional features, but in this example, we use the standard binding during in execute phase.
- 10 December 2012
In a lot of examples about PHP, strings are concatenated before a database query is executed as below. Some examples advise to use PHP-functions mysql_real_escape_string() and/or addslashes() to make database query safe against SQL-injections. But this isn’t really a solution as when using addslashes() also requires the use of stripslashes() after retrieving data from a database. Some sites show the lack of proper implementation and show the famous ' string on a website.
Like in Perl with DBI, also PHP has PDO that allows for variables to be parameterized while executing a query as in the example below. This removes the need for homemade solutions that don’t cover all use-cases and allows for a way to provide a stable and more secure interface for your applications when communicating with databases.
- 08 December 2012
Input validation is a known issue, but writing some PHP code today let me write the following and I’m wondering if I forgot something. It is only to make sure no cleansed variable will enter a switch statement for example.
For now, I need to check the code that no
$_POST variable is entering the code unchecked before I put the code online. This also includes variables for SQL statements to eliminate SQL injections.