Tallan Blog

Tallan’s Experts Share Their Knowledge on Technology, Trends and Solutions to Business Challenges

Category Archive for "Custom Software Development"

Integrating Cloud Services: Azure Cache for Redis

Introduction
Cloud services do a great job relieving the burden of managing and maintaining various IT infrastructure elements. However, the responsibility still belongs to the developer to determine how to integrate these cloud services into an application. This blog series will focus on Microsoft Azure Services, providing guidance and examples on how to integrate services into your application, starting with Azure Cache for Redis.
What is Azure Cache for Redis?
Azure Cache for Redis is Microsoft’s cloud caching solution based on the software Redis. You are provided with an instance of a Redis cache that is hosted within Azure and can use it to improve the performance and scalability of your application. A common circumstance where a Redis cache improves performance is when the same data is accessed frequently. The cache provides a temporary location close to the application for data to be…

Demystifying a Common “Bug” Encountered by Developers new to Angular

I often work with clients that are transitioning their legacy MVC or WebForms web applications over to using Angular and Web API instead. After the initial ramp-up period with the framework, I’ve often had developers on these teams tell me how much easier it is to debug logic in Angular versus “how it used to be.” Writing logic with Angular and TypeScript provides these developers with a level of code organization on the front-end that they’ve previously only seen in their back-end .NET code. As a result, I think the framework especially appeals to developers who have previously shied away from front-end development.
With that said, there is an “Angular bug” I’m often asked to help remedy that I’d like to share in this article. The “bug” often comes up when new Angular developers begin sharing data between components. As you…

Compiling and Running a DLL in .NET Core 2 Using Roslyn and Reflection

During a recent client engagement, my team and I were given an unusual task: give the user the ability to write, compile, and run Visual Basic .NET code in a web app environment. This presented us with a great learning opportunity since no one on the team had experienced anything like this before. Our first choice was to use the System.CodeDom namespace to compile the source code and generate a dll to be run on-demand in other components of our web app. However, we quickly discovered that while CodeDom is available for .NET Core 2 (after installing it via NuGet), calls to the CompileAssembly methods would throw a System.PlatformNotSupportedException. We knew that we would need to change our approach. This led us on a path to Roslyn. Roslyn is a .NET compiler framework written in .NET. It contains code analysis…

Pain Points in Mortgage Lending

Before you start reading, write down (or mentally note) two things: 1) what is one of the pains you face on a daily, weekly, monthly, or some recurring basis?  And 2) what is a pain point that your BOSS (or your boss’s boss) faces in the same way?
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(No, seriously – write it down… 😉)
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Alright – now it’s our turn.  Here are some pain points that we’ve encountered with our partners in the mortgage lending space:

Disconnected processes
Pre-approved buyers no-showing up to appointments
Documents are often hard copy and must be tended to in person
Too much time passes by between interactions with customers
Your online customer-facing resources leave much to be desired
Your internal go-to-market activities are too slow
Customers have a hard time identifying the right loan/product for them
Closing processes take too much time (for both you and your customers)
Non-commissioned internal resources lack the incentive…

Taking a Look at Entity Framework Queries pt 1 (.NET Framework)

If you aren’t familiar, Entity Framework is a powerful open-source object-relational mapping (ORM) framework. Its initial release was back in 2008, so it has grown and evolved quite a bit. I have been using it now, very regularly, for about four years and just wanted to bring to light some tips and the missteps that I have encountered during that time.
I think the most important thing when using EF(Entity Framework) is to be aware of the work it is doing on your behalf.  The best way to see what EF is doing is to simply log it, and for me, that means the output window in Visual Studio, not the database, as you will see, EF does a lot.  So, that being said, it is actually much easier to do than you might expect, and in my mind, there are…

ngrok example

Tunneling Connections to Localhost Using ngrok: Why and How

Anyone who has done web development for any significant length of time has probably had one or more of these situations arise:

I need to expose an API or webhook running locally to an external service or application
My application has external services or integrations that require special handling or emulation when developing locally
I want my deployed application or service in a higher environment to call the endpoint(s) that I am running locally

The common problem here is the need to expose a locally running endpoint to an external service or application. Enter ngrok (https://ngrok.com/).
Ngrok solves this problem by creating and exposing a public url on the ngrok.io domain, and then forwarding the traffic that arrives at that endpoint through to a specified localhost port. Conceptually, it looks something like this:

This diagram was taken directly from https://ngrok.com/product, where the curious can find a…

Release Pipeline View

Azure DevOps Pipelines Deployment Controls

Azure DevOps is a work item tracking, source control, and release management solution provided by Microsoft. It is the cloud-based evolution of Team Foundation Server. If you don’t have a DevOps account, you can get one for free at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/devops/.
Release Pipelines is a powerful feature of DevOps that allows you to create pipelines to deploy your builds out to your server environments. Let’s say that you are creating a Release Pipeline for your website and you have a separate environment for Dev and Production, both hosted on Azure App Services. When you check code in, you want it to be deployed to your Dev environment automatically through Continuous Integration. This is easily configurable through the Release Pipeline interface.
What about your Production environment though? You want to use the same build artifacts for your Dev and Production environments, so it makes…

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Exploring Buffer Overflows in C, Part Two: The Exploit

Welcome to part two of Exploring Buffer Overflows in C! If you have not taken the time to read the previous article I highly recommend doing so before going any further. In this post, I will be walking you through a simplified version of a buffer overflow exploit and will draw heavily on the vocabulary and theory discussed out in the last post. You can find Part One on Tallan’s Blog here. It also would be helpful to be familiar with hexadecimal numbers, which you can read about here. With that out of the way, let’s get to hacking.
Before We Begin
Before we can start we have to pick a target. Several methods exist to detect potential buffer overflows, ranging from manually reading the code to automated testing. Assuming you do have the source code of a program, searching for insecure…

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YouTube Attempts to Curb Controversial Content

If you’ve ever signed up for a YouTube account, you’re probably more than familiar with YouTube’s head-scratching video recommendations at times. After mounting dissatisfaction over the new recommendation algorithm, which produced too many similar recommendations and videos promoting misinformation, the YouTube team published a January 2019 post indicating that the algorithm is still a work in progress, and announced changes in response to recent feedback.
The new algorithm changes are advertised to be capable of pulling in recommendations from a wider range of topics than before: “on any given day, more than 200 million videos are recommended on the homepage alone.” Contrasting the broadening of topics, YouTube is putting in an effort to reduce videos from being included in the recommendation algorithm which violate the YouTube Community Guidelines, or videos with the potential to misinform users “…such as videos promoting a…

Process

Streamlining ELMAH With A Logging Platform in ASP.NET

Logging and tracing are both critical components of enterprise software development. And yet they are often overlooked or otherwise treated as an afterthought. However, as any programmer worth his or her salt will tell you, proper logging and tracing saves countless hours and headaches when it comes to tracking down bugs in a production environment. To serve these needs, there are numerous logging frameworks to choose from. In this article I am going to explore two popular frameworks and how to best use them together as a comprehensive logging and tracing solution.
Before we begin, let’s define the difference between logging and tracing. Logging is the broad process of recording events that occur in a running software program. The resulting logs include any information about these events that the developer deems necessary. Tracing, on the other hand, is a more specialized…

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