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Month: January 2016

Smartphone Encryption is a Red Herring

EnigmaMachine.pngAs the Founder and CEO of a software company that makes a development tool for mobile platforms, as well as for desktop and web, I have a lot of experience with encryption. The current controversy over encryption is really important to me. During World War II, the Germans created a way of sending encrypted messages to commanders in the field. The device came to be known as an Engima machine. It looked like a typewriter but had an encryption key that changed a message into unreadable noise. That message could only be decoded if you knew the key used to encrypt it. The Allies worked very hard to get their hands on one of these devices so they could learn how it works and be able to decrypt the messages and know what the German military plans. Ultimately the Allies figured it out and it helped them win the war. If this has peaked your curiosity, check out the movie U-571 (a fictional account of the effort to obtain an Enigma machine) and The Imitation Game about the team that figured out the encryption key.

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Tip: Automatic Reference Counting

As defined on Wikipedia, Automatic Reference Counting (or ARC) is a “memory management enhancement where the burden of keeping track of an object’s reference count is lifted from the programmer to the compiler.”

With object-oriented programming, each new object you create takes up space in memory. This memory needs to be managed somehow. In the beginning, this management of memory was left entirely to the programmer, such as with C++ or originally with Objective-C.

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Write a Slackbot in Less Than 20 Lines of Code

What is Slackbot?

Slack has an API called “slash commands” that lets a user type a slash (/) followed by a command name in order to perform a special action. For example, Slack has many built-in slash commands, one example is /help. Here’s how you can easily add your own slash commands using a Xojo web app and the HandleSpecialURL (or HandleURL) method.

Your slash command makes an HTTP request to your Xojo web service app. The web services does its thing and then returns the result back to Slack to display.

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Generating Xojo Code From Paw

At Xojo, we work with a lot of HTTP REST APIs. So many in fact that I’ve spent time creating custom test harnesses to make sure that whatever I was currently coding would be compatible as well as being a test suite just in case the API changed in some subtle way (whether it be a bug fix or an API refactor gone awry). The problem with the custom test harnesses is that they’re not very portable and you end up having to create a new one for each API that you interface with.

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