Sunday, April 26, 2015

My tryst with Hybris... continued

Rather than making a new post on my thoughts about development over hybris platform, I felt prudent to continue my older post about SAP Hybris and bring out some of the challenges felt and my take on this e-commerce platform.
Currently, I am still a newbie developer working on various features and parts of the platform.
My team is also in the young hybris phase as explained in detailed manner here ( ) and the knowledge sharing is limited and as frustrating as it seems, the development work is generally slow due to long list of assumptions that hybris platform assumes.
One example is in implementation of AdminCockpit - where all the fields in various editors are laid out in various xml files:

< editor >
    < group qualifier="General" visible="true" initially-opened="true" >
        < label >General< / label >
        < property qualifier="B2BRegistration.title" / >
        < property qualifier="" / >

These files are editable, but changing them yielded nothing - and no suitable help was found in hybris wiki or experts forum. Next , I tried doing ant all and searching for generated files but found nothing of importance. Finally, I tried doing an initialization of cockpit and admin cockpit which made the changes appear - the amount of efforts that I invested were shockingly huge as compared to the actual work needed.
If some hybris expert/creator reads this, I hope my plead for greater technical and functional documentation reaches - debugging without a knowledge of how the APIs function is like learning to swim inside a boat.
Development and trying to appear for hybris certification remain my top priority missions for the coming month and I hope to be a hybris certified developer after then and work on this platform for the near future.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Database Migrations for Java Application

One of the tools that I've used in the recent days that merits a blogpost is Flyway.
Flyway is a database migration tool that provides database state migration in applications that do not have a built in migration.
Rails and (some) rails based frameworks already have this, but it is pain to implement this in say, a java application. Flyway alieviates the need to create this as it has native support for many popular databases(including cloud based Dbs and counting?) as well as a Java based api with support for build tools like ant, maven and gradle.
It has only 6 basic functions: Migrate, Clean, Info, Validate, Baseline and Repair.
Unlike rails, you are not restricted with timestamp values (and they are a pain if you have renamed a file and left out a digit - which makes ordering difficult to trace). Here, you can specify a file as V__.sql

While a rails developer is bound to miss the up and down in a migration file (as the rails like backward migration is missing in the current version), the rest of the application works as desired and is indeed handy.

Having some significant traction, this project is in use by different teams and does not require huge overhead/configuration to work easily with hibernate/spring based applications as well. The project is located at github so you can easily head over there to check out its source as well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: Mockito Essentials

Book Review: Mockito Essentials by Sujoy Acharya

Mockito essentials is a straightforward insight towards writing proper form of unit tests using mockito framework. Targeted at existing developers, this book goes beyond the documented library and explains the method of correctly writing unit tests and its corresponding code.
The book starts by introducing test doubles, or assumptions that we make while writing unit tests which is essentially done through mockito, effectively laying the foundation of the book. Two subsequent chapters are devoted to the innards of the framework - which is very handy if you have mockito's programming reference ready.
However, the main problem of unit test lies in its implementation as real world code is generally not testable and often is unchangeable. Using mockito under BDD tests is also worth mentioning as this concept is not covered elsewhere till now. The book concludes with implementation of mockito based tests over webservices and rich client applications.
Overall, the book not only covers the mockito framework but also covers practical advice regarding testing existing code and making both legacy and new code testable and I'd highly recommend this book if you are looking to write unit tests in java applications.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from packt publication before doing a review.
Access the book here:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

On finding loopholes through visualization

Sometimes, visualization provides you with insight that is not instantly available. for example, I was playing with the open data that Indian Government provides for irrigation methods in different districts of India, and here's the aggregate data:
 The visualization above lists all the power sources used for irrigation across India. In most of the states, this was coming similar to what was expected (such as larger use of solar pumps and windmills in Gujarat and Rajasthan), but there were few anomalies too, like in the display below:
This information is obviously incorrect as someone has erroneously or lazily set all the non manual sources for irrigation to the Other/uncategorized source and thus, this set of data becomes inconsistent with the rest of the data.

Being on the information highway (with Right To Information) is important for India, but still there is still to go before we are able to make this data comprehensive enough for forecasting and predicting useful outcomes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hack learning android, freelance and other ramblings

In between doing mundane things in life, I've started doing more work to keep myself sharp as my office work has diminished vastly. This year has turned out good for me as I've started freelancing on my own on part-time basis and am currently relearning android application development to take advantages of the newer generation phones and create an app or two. The new android studio merits a mention here - from eclipse, it has now moved to intellij ide and different wizards as well as gradle based build tool is added, which augments development. However, emulating newer mobile devices does not work on my machine as it takes up quite a lot of time to initialize and random crashes also occur, so using a physical devise is the only workable option for now. My approach towards learning has also undergone a change and now I am working in shorter sprints of hack and learn cycles that ease my understanding process.

I get sidetracked by various side projects often and am also preparing for the hybris core and commerce developer certification, which to me seems like a college level exam - you sulk at it till the penultimate day. I do hope that businesses realize the importance of knowledge over a certificate given the presence of questions to be asked in exam over the internet, often called dumps.
Since I am having the luxury of time at my disposal, I am able to plan for my tech startup/business idea that would sustain me in future as well as allow me to be an entrepreneur.