Introduction to ORMs for DBAs: Part 1 – Create Player Table

I gave the Introduction to ORMs for DBAs at SQL Saturday 710 but it didn’t go as well as I would have liked (i.e. I had trouble getting my demo working).  Since the demo didn’t work live I thought I would show you what was supposed to happen during the demo.  You can find the slides I showed before the demo here.

The goal of this demo is create a basic website that tracks the games you and your friends play and display wins and losses on the home page.  I used a MacBook Pro for my presentation so you will see Mac screen shots.  That said the demo will also work on Windows.

This post creates a Player table and all the setup to for Entity Framework.  To follow along open up the 01 – Create Player Table project.  If you need a hand getting the tools installed check out Part 0 – Setup.

We start with a blank ASP.NET MVC application.  It’s similar to what you get when you create a default ASP.NET MVC application in Visual Studio but I’ve deleted some unneeded files related to the About and Contacts pages.

Empty ASP.NET Visual Studio

If we run the application we will a home page where we eventually want to display the Win/Lose table for the players.

Starting Web Project Home Page

Now lets make sure our database is up and running.  Since we running the demo on a Mac we need to run SQL Server inside Docker.  There is Docker Compose file in the root folder so we can run the below command to start SQL Server:

$ docker-compose up

Bring Up SQL Server

We will use DataGrip as our SQL Client because it runs on Mac.  You could also use Microsoft SQL Operations Studio.  If we look at our database server we see it has nothing but the master database.

Empty Database Server

Everything seems to be working so lets start creating our application starting with the Player.

Define Player Model

To track what games people have played we will need to store information about the player and games being played.  Lets start with the player.

If you are a DBA you are itching to open up your SQL Client and create the Players table but we aren’t going to do that.  Instead we will use a feature in most ORMs called Code First.  You define your database model in code and let the ORM handle the database changes for you.

Define the Player model by creating a new class in the Models folder called Player.

Add Player Model

This class is our model and represents the Players table in the database.  Since this is a simple application used by friends we only need their name.   So our model will look like:

namespace SaturdayMP.GameTracker.Models
  public class Player
    public int Id { get; set; }

    public string Name { get; set; }


Player Model

This model defines that we have a Players table and it has two fields: Id and Name.  Notice I said the table name is Players with an “s” but the model name is singular.  Most ORMs have default conventions they use for dealing with names.  Entity Framework assumes your model name is singular and your table will be plural.  Entity Framework also assumes any field named Id will be a primary key.  Of course you can override the conventions if you want.

Setup Connection to Database

The model is now defined but before we can create the table we need a way for our application to access the database.

The first step is to create the database context.  The database context is how most of our code will interact with the database.  We will put the context class in the a new folder called Data and call our context GameTrackerContext.  If your application accesses more then one database you will have multiple contexts.

using SaturdayMP.GameTracker.Models;
using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore;

namespace SaturdayMP.GameTracker.Data
  public class GameTrackerContext : DbContext
    public GameTrackerContext(DbContextOptions<GameTrackerContext> options) : base(options)

    public DbSet<Player> Players { get; set; }

Game Tracker Context

The important part is the DBSet line.  This tells the database context to map the Player model to the underlying Players table.  As we add more tables we will add additional DbSet lines.

Next lets set the connection string.  Do DBAs have to deal with connection strings or is it a developer thing?  Anyway, the connection string is set in the aspsettings.json file:

"ConnectionStrings": {
  "DefaultConnection": "Server=(local);Database=GameTrackerDemo;Trusted_Connection=False;User ID=sa;Password=Password1234!"

Setting Connection String

We won’t see the effects of this next step till later but we will do it now as we are doing all our setup now.  We need to tell the website that we have a database context and that it should automatically include it in controllers.  This is done in the Startup.cs file.  Add the following to the ConfigureServices method.

 options => options.UseSqlServer(Configuration.GetConnectionString("DefaultConnection")));

Adding DB Context To Service

Setup Command Line Tools

This next step is a bit of pain.  As of this writing all the cool menu items in Visual Studio on Windows are not available for Visual Studio for Mac.  We have to use the command line and this requires us to manually edit the project file.

Close Visual Studio then find the SaturdayMP.GameTracker project file and open it up in a text editor.

Game Tracker Project File

Then add the following two lines, one to the PackageReference ItemGroup and the other to the DotNetCliToolReference ItemGroup:

  <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.All" Version="2.0.6" />
  <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Design" Version="2.0.2" />

  <DotNetCliToolReference Include="Microsoft.VisualStudio.Web.CodeGeneration.Tools" Version="2.0.3" />
  <DotNetCliToolReference Include="Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Tools.DotNet" Version="2.0.2" />


Add EF CLI Tool to Project File

Now reopen the the solution in Visual Studio and rebuild the solution.  If you got any errors check that you put the lines in the correct spot and didn’t forget a double quote or greater/lesser then character.

Open up a new terminal and navigate to the folder where your project is located.  Then run the following command to make sure the command line tools are loaded and installed:

$ dotnet restore

To test if everything works run the below command.  It should show something similar to the screenshot below.

$ dotnet ef


.NET EF Command Success

Generate Player Migration

Now we can generate the Player table.  Actually we will generate a migration that will generate the Player table.  A migration is file that contains changes we want to make to the database such as creating tables, add/removing columns on existing tables, adding indexes, etc.

dotnet ef migrations add CreatePlayerTable

Create Player Migration File

Make sure you are in the project folder when you try to run the command or it will fail.  Assuming it succeeded you should see a Migrations folder in Visual Studio and one file in it that ends in “CreatePlayerTable”.

Player Table Migration File

If we open up the file we see it does not contain SQL but C# code.  The reason for using C# is so the same migration file can be run against different databases such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, etc.  Even if you don’t understand C# it should be pretty clear that this file is creating the Player with the Id and Name fields.

A migration file contains contains changes you want to apply to a database.  They can be manually created but in this case we used Entity Framework to create it.  It created the migration file by comparing what the database currently looked like to what it should look like based on the models defined in code.  In this case the the database is empty (non-existent) but we have a Player model defined thus the thus the migration file creates the player table.

Run the Player Table Migration

Now we can run the migration to create the table in the database.

dotnet ef database update

Run Player Table Migration

The above command will actually run all the migrations we have defined.  Currently we only have one so it only runs the one.  If we switch to our SQL client and refresh we should see the new Player table in the database.

Show Game Tracker Demo Database

Player Table in DataGrip

Notice the _EFMigrationHistory table?  This table tracks what migrations have been run on this database.  If a migration has already been run on the database it won’t be run a second time.

Drop and Recreate the Migration File

One thing you DBAs probably noticed is the Name field is set to max length, which is not good.  Lets change it to 50 characters.

In this case we haven’t shared our migration with anyone else yet so we can delete the migration and try again.  If we had pushed this migration to our code repository we would have to create a new migration to undo our previous one.

If you remember the migration file had an up and a down.  The down part is run if you un-apply the migration.  In this case it will drop our table.

Lets ask Entity Framework to unapply our migration.  In the below example we say we want to undo all the migrations but you can specify specific migrations to undo.

dotnet ef database update 0

Reversing Create Player Migration

Now if we refresh in our SQL Client the database still exists but the Players table has been dropped.

Player Table Dropped

The Player table has been removed from the database but we still need to remove the migration.  It’s best if we let Entity Framework remove the migration for us.  The below command will remove the last migration file created.

dotnet ef migrations remove

Remove Create Player Migration

Migration Removed

Since it was the only migration file the Migrations folder was also removed.  If we had other migrations the folder would not have been removed.

Now that we have cleaned everything up go to the Player model and set the max length to 50 and save your changes.

public string Name {get; set; }


Add Max Length to Name on Player Model

Now recreate the migration file.

dotnet ef migrations add CreatePlayerTable

Create Player Table Migration With Max Length

Create Player Migration With Max Length

Notice that the max length is set in the migration file?  Now apply this migration.

dotnet ef database update

Run Create Player Migration With Max Length

Refresh our database client and you should see Players table with a correct Name length field.

Player Table With Max Length

Whew, that was a lot of work.  The next part won’t be as long as we can skip a lot of the first time setup.

If you got stuck you can find completed Part 1 here and the completed application here.  In Part 2 we will create Games table similar to what we did above.  Finally if you have any questions or spot an issue in the code I would prefer if you opened a issue in GitHub but you can e-mail ( me as well.

Posted in Code Examples, Introduction to ORMs for DBAs, Software Development | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Introduction to ORMs for DBAs: Part 1 – Create Player Table

Introduction to ORMs for DBAs: Part 0 – Setup

SQL Saturday LogoI gave a presentation at SQL Saturday 710 that didn’t go as well as I liked (i.e. I had trouble getting my demo working).  For those that attended thank you for patience.  Hopefully it was still worth attending and the discussion without the live coding was worth while.

Since the demo didn’t work live I thought I would show you what was supposed to happen during the demo.  The source code for the demo is here.

I used a MacBook pro for my presentation but the demo will also work on Windows.  Just be prepared for Mac screenshots.

First thing you need is Visual Studio 2017.  The community edition is free to use.  To install just keep clicking next.  It should install .NET Core 2.0, or higher for you.

Next you need to setup SQL Server.  You can find the steps to run SQL Server inside a Docker container here.  If you are on Windows the steps are similar just use the Windows SQL Server Docker image instead.

I used DataGrip as my client to access SQL Server but you can use Microsoft SQL Operations Studio instead.

Intro to ORM for DBAs Demo Steps

That is all you need to run the demo.  Future posts all walk through demo steps as outlined above.  If you have any questions open a issue in the GitHub repository.

Posted in Code Examples, Introduction to ORMs for DBAs, Software Development | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Introduction to ORMs for DBAs: Part 0 – Setup

Today I Learned how to Run SQL Server on a Mac using Docker

Working on my code example for my upcoming SQL Saturday 710 talk I ran into a performance issue.  My laptop is an older MacBook Pro and I was trying to run my example on a Windows virtual machine…

What is SQL Saturday?  Good question.

SQL Saturday Logo

SQL Saturday is an entire day of talks, training, and socializing about databases and data storage.  SQL Saturday 710 is on May 5th in Edmonton but there are SQL Saturdays, with different numbers at the end, all around the world on different dates.

Back to my problem which was running my example on a Windows virtual machine running on my older MacBook Pro. I’ve upgraded my MacBook Pro over the years with more RAM and a SSD hard drive the virtual machine is still not responsive enough for my liking with SQL Server and Visual Studio running on it.  I’ll be doing some live coding and database querying and want a nice experience for the attendees.

My options were procure a Windows laptop for the presentation, dual boot my existing laptop, or see if I could run my example natively on my Mac.  I didn’t want to borrow a laptop and setting up dual boot and installing Windows, Visual Studio, etc sounded like a lot of work.

I knew I could run the website part of my example on my Mac thanks to .NET Core but what about SQL Server?  I could use a different database but wanted to stick with SQL Server because it’s the database most of the SQL Saturday attendees are familiar with.

Some Googling reviled that SQL Server can run on a Docker container and that Microsoft has a SQL Server Docker image.  I tried it an it worked.

First install Docker for MacOS which you can find here.  Once installed you should see a whale in the status menus at the top right.

Docker Running on Mac

Next open up a terminal and pull down the SQL Server Docker image.

$ docker pull microsoft/mssql-server-linux

Pull SQL Server Docker Image

Now run the Docker image.

$ docker run -e 'ACCEPT_EULA=Y' -e 'SA_PASSWORD=Password1234!' -p 1433:1433 --name SQLServerForDemo -d microsoft/mssql-server-linux:latest

Run SQL Server Docker Container

List Running Docker Images

Notice the port number and don’t forget to set the name so it’s easier to find your image.

Now you can access SQL Server via the command line but I prefer a GUI client.  Plus a GUI client would look better during the presentation.  You can’t install SQL Server Management Studio on a Mac but there other clients you can use.  My preference is DataGrip because it works well and it’s included in my JetBrains subscription.  If you use ReSharper check your subscription level and see if it’s includes DataGrip.

In DataGrip you need to add a new DataSource.

DataGrip add SQL Server Data Source

For the address you can use localhost but you need to specify the port you used when running the SQL Server Docker container.  Your password is the one you used to run the Docker image.  Also install any missing drivers if prompted.

DataGrip Setup SQL Server Data SourceNow you should be able to see your SQL Server database server in DataGrip.  You can then add new databases as needed.

DataGrip Create TestDb

Any changes you make to the database will be persisted even when you start and stop the image.

P.S. – Picked this song because Docker has a whale as it’s mascot and this video is about a whale and got a whale in the video.

And we are far from home, but we’re so happy
Far from home, all alone, but we’re so happy


Posted in Software Development, Today I Learned | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Today I Learned how to Run SQL Server on a Mac using Docker

Chris, have you created that Ruby on Rails 5 project? What Does it Look Like I’m Doing!

In the above video you can replace the question with:

Chris, have created that Ruby on Rails 5 project?

What dose it look like I’m Doing!

Scene 1: Create new Ruby on Rails project using Ruby Mine.

New Ruby Mine Project

Scene 2: Try to install the Gems find out I need Ruby 2.5.

Bundler Error

Scene 3: Try to install Ruby 2.5 but it fails with a weird curl error message.

Curl Error Installing Ruby

Scene 4: With help from the world’s greatest detective I figure out my version of OpenSSL is out of date.  Try running updates to get the latest version.

Updating OpenSSL

Scene 5: Didn’t fix the problem.  Figure out the version of OpenSSL being used is the Centrify version.  Yes I always think the “which” command is “where”.  Why is the command called “which”?

Which OpenSSL

Scene 6: Investigate the best way to fix this problem.  Decide it’s easiest to update Centrify.

Upgrading Centrify Express Part 1

Upgrading Centrify Express Part 2

Upgrading Centrify Express Part 3

Scene 7: Problem is fixed and I can install Ruby 2.5.

Installed Ruby 2.5

I still need to install and/or update a couple other packages, such as nodejs, but that is what I expected.  I didn’t expect to have to waste an hour diagnosing an old OpenSSL issue.

Posted in Code Examples, Software Development | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Chris, have you created that Ruby on Rails 5 project? What Does it Look Like I’m Doing!

Today I Learned how to Run SpinRite on a UEIF Motherboard

I have a Synology NAS that has starting acting up.  By acting up I mean I can’t connect to it and it requires a unplugged reboot to fix it.  Power button no work.  After doing some detective work I’m not sure if the problem is with the hard drives or the Synology it’s self.

To help me narrow down the problem I thought I’d run SpinRite which is a hard drive diagnostic tool.  I heard about SpinRite from the Security Now podcast.  It was created by Steve Gibson, one of the hosts and they talk about it’s virtues often on the podcast.

I bought and download the application and then was bit stumped on what to do next.  The documentation on the website is dated so it took me a while to figure out how to get the software to run.  I had an especially difficult time because the software was written before UEIF motherboards where common place and my mother board has UEIF enabled.  So I documented my steps so I remember and hopefully it will help others as well.

First off I couldn’t just run SpinRite on my Synology.  I had to remove the hard drives from the Synology and connect them to a motherboard using a SATA cable.

Connect Hard Drive to SATA Cable

Once connected I needed to create bootable USB drive.  This took some trial and error because at first I just created the bootable USB using the SpinRite program and tried disabling the UEIF on my mother board.  This didn’t work.  I also tried creating a ISO image using SpinRite.  This also didn’t work.  In both cases the USB drive would not boot, just a black screen.

In summary don’t do the below screen shots.  Just ignore them.

SpinRite Home Screen

SpinRite Create Boot Disk

SpinRite Create ISO

I think the problem is the SpinRite application uses FreeDOS which does not play well with UEIF.  At least it didn’t play well with my BIOS, your mileage might vary.

What did work was creating a bootable USB stick using the Rufus program.  The settings I used are outlined below.

Rufus Create Bootable USB

Once you have the bootable USB stick copy over the SpinRite executable to the USB stick.  Then reboot your computer and make sure you boot from the USB stick.

Boot From USB

This should load MS-DOS.  Select your keyboard and then run the SpinRite program.  For you young wippersnapper DOS was the first operating system developed by Microsoft before Windows.

Run SpinRite in MS-DOS

Press any key once you are done reading the SpinRite splash screen.

SpinRite Splash Screen

Then choose 4 for maintenance.

SpinRite Levels

Then prepared to be really sad because your hard drive is 3TB and SpinRite 6 can’t handle drives larger then 2TB.

SpinRite Invalid Partition

There has been talk of SpinRite 7 which should fix this issue but for now I’m out of luck.

So this is really a BOGO Today I Learned.  Not only did I learn how to run SpinRite on a modern BIOS but I also learned that it can’t handle drive sizes larger then 2TB.

Sorry for the surprise and somewhat sad ending.


P.S. – A Boy Named Sue is great song with a surprise ending.  Not necessarily sad but still surprising.

P.S.S. – I just learned that this song was written by Shel Silverstein.  You know, that scary guy at the back of your favourite children’s book.

And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him…



Posted in Hardware, Software Development, Today I Learned | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Today I Learned how to Run SpinRite on a UEIF Motherboard

Just Enjoy the Show

I’m on optimist and generally think things will work out for the best.  I like to say:

The future is awesome!

That said it’s easy to forget how awesome individual days can be.  How many small but amazing things occur each day that we gloss over.  Our day is 99% good and 1% bad but we focus on that one minor bad moment.

Think about your conversations at the end of the day.  Does it focus on the negatives of the day?  That boozo that cut me off in traffic.  The Internet was down for 5 minutes.  I had to stay at work 10 minutes late.  Etc.

Imagine changing the conversation to focus on all the good things that happened that day.  The person that let me merge into their lane.  Technology let send a e-mail to relative half-way around the world.  I solved several work problems with the help of my co-workers.  Etc.

My inspiration for this post was the last Burnie Vlog at Rooster Teeth.  It is a, heavily edited, example of his day.  It does a great job of showing how a normal day is full of awesomeness.  Awesomeness that we often take for granted.  At least that is what I got out of it.

The Vlog caused me reflect on my last Friday.  A day that contained many awesome moments that I didn’t fully appreciate at the time:

  • Woke up a bit late because I had a remote work meeting late the night before people from the United States and India.
  • Still got up in time to make my family breakfast and see them off.
  • Cleaned myself up.
  • OfficeNo commute because I’m lucky enough to work from my basement office.
  • Had remote meeting with co-workers in Eastern Canada and States.  Great group to work with.
  • Worked on my first official code inspection.  I’ve done code reviews and informal code inspections but not a structured official one.  I’m really excited.
  • Watched the end of Altered Carbon on my couch while eating lunch.
  • Went for a walk because it was nice winter day in Edmonton.
  • Greeted my amazing daughter and beautiful wife when they got home from school and work.
  • DreamcastHad some time before dinner so my daughter and I packed up board games, old TV, and Dreamcast in the car.  I have Tony Hawk Pro Skater for the Dreamcast.
  • Ate dinner with my family.  Talked about what live would be like if could move our conscious to other bodies like in Altered Carbon.
  • Drove to the local community hall and setup for the monthly Games Night.  I bring a bunch of board games and setup a TV with a an old video game console.  This night was Dreamcast but previous months it’s been NES, Super NES, Intellivision, etc.
  • Played a new game Terraforming Mars.
  • BoardgamesVisited with friends and neighbours.  Sang happy birthday to a neighbour and ate cake.  My beautiful wife dropped in for a bit as well which always makes me smile.
  • Watched my daughter teach and play Zombicide and The Dragon and Flagon.  Still not used to seeing my daughter and her friends play complicated games without adults.
  • Packed up a bit earlier then usual (i.e. before midnight) but for a good reason: we are going skiing the next day with friends.  Just to a local Edmonton hill but it’s to practice for our upcoming mountain ski trip.
  • Sent my daughter to bed then snuggled up with my wife and drifted off to sleep.

All in all it was great day.  Preceded by many great days before it and many great days to come.  Just enjoy the show and don’t ask for your money back.  Also, the future is awesome.


P.S. – After watching the Final Vlog video above I had The Show song stuck in my head and kept singing it much to my family’s chagrin.  At least singing the couple lines I knew.  Below is the cover sung in the Final Vlog.

I’m just a little bit caught in the middle
Life is a maze and love is a riddle
I don’t know where to go; can’t do it alone; I’ve tried
And I don’t know why

I want my money back
I want my money back
I want my money back
Just enjoy the show

Posted in Fun | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Just Enjoy the Show

Today I Learned how to Copy a Putty Key From Windows to a Mac

You created a private Putty key on Windows workstation to access a remote service but now you need to access that same remote service from a Mac workstation.  In my case I need to access the same Git repository from both machines.  I created the key using the steps outlined in a previous post.

Quick aside: Before we continue you need to decide if it’s better to copy your private key or just generate a new private/public key pair on the Mac.  If the service you are connecting too does not support multiple keys then you have now choice but to copy it.  Assuming that the service does allow multiple keys then consider these security implications of copying your private key.

The first thing to do is convert the key from a Putty key to a OpenSSH key.  Do this by opening the key in PuTTYGen then choosing File –> Load private key.  Then pick the key you want to transfer to your Mac.

Load Existing Key

Select Key to Load

Key Loaded

Now convert the key to OpenSSH via the Conversions –> Export OpenSSH Key menu option.

Export SSH Key

Saving Open SSH Key

Now that the OpenSSH key is saved copy it over to your Mac.  Since this is a private key do it securely such as known LAN, USB, etc (e-mail is a bad idea).  Once the key is on your Mac copy it to the .ssh folder.

Copy Key to .ssh Folder

Then run the command to add the key.  Use the capital -K option to add the key to the Mac KeyChain so you don’t have to keep entering your passphrase.  The first password prompt is the Sudo password and the second is the passphrase for the private key.

sudo ssh-add -K <key file>

Add Key to Keychain

Now you can see that the key has been added by running the following command.

sudo ssh-add -l

Show Added Key

You can also find the key in the Mac Keychain.  In the Keychain application filter by SSH and you should see your key added.

Key in Keychain


Now your private key has been successfully copied.


P.S. – Another key blog post and another Tool song because, you know, numbers.  This one is about the Fibonacci sequence.

And following our will and wind
We may just go where no one’s been.
We’ll ride the spiral to the end
And may just go where no one’s been.

Posted in Network, Today I Learned | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Today I Learned how to Copy a Putty Key From Windows to a Mac

Today I Learned How to Create a Key Pair Using PuTTY

I recently had to generate a private/public key pair to access a Git repository.  While I’ve done this several times before I never do it enough to remember all the steps so this time I wrote it down.

Since my primary workstation runs Windows I use PuTTY to generate the keys.  If you thought PuTTY was just a SSH client then you are not alone (e.g. I used to think that too).  PuTTY’s unofficial tag line should be:

PuTTY.  It’s more then a just a SSH client.

Once you have Putty installed run the PuTTYGen application.  Make sure the type of key to generate is RSA and it’s 2048 bits then click the Generate button.

Why RSA?  Because that is the type of key you want 99% of the time and works with most clients and services.  Same with the 2048 length.  You can generate a longer key, say 4096 for better security, but it might not work with some clients and/or services.  That said if your service uses a different key format then adjust the settings as needed.

PuTTYGen Empty Form

Wiggle your mouse when prompted and a few seconds later you should have a new key generated.

Now change the key comment so you remember what this key is for.  I also recommend protecting you key with a passpharse, basically a password.  This prevents someone from using your private key if they are able to get a hold of it.  Then click Save private key button and save the key to a secure place.

PuTTYGen Save Private Key

PuTTYGen Save Private Key Prompt

Remember this is your private key and if someone gets a hold of it they can pretend to be you.  Similar to someone knowing your password.  In my case I save it to an encrypted location.

You should also backup your new key to a secure location.  In my case my keys are backed up to an encrypted location as part of my nightly backup.

Most remote services, such as GitHub, will ask you for your public key which you can cut and paste.

PuTTYGen Public Key

GitHub Adding Public Key

Important: When using your key remember to only share the public part.  Never share your private key!

Now you are all excited to start using the service you uploaded your public key, such as cloning the Git repository.  Unfortunately you will get an error about the key not being valid, not found, or something similar.

On Windows you need to run the PuTTY Pageant application.  This application runs in the background and handles key authentication.  When you run it it will load in the windows Notification Area (on the far right, used to be called the System Tray).

Pageant In Notification Area

Open up Pageant and then click the Add Key button.  Then navigate to where your private key is stored and load it.

Pageant Add Key

Pageant Add Key Prompt

If you put a passpharse on your key, which you should do, you will get prompted for it.

Pageant Password Prompt

Now your key will appear in Pageant and be used by applications that need to do key authentication.  You won’t have to enter your passpharse again while Pageant is running.  In practice this means you usually only have to reenter your passphrase when you reboot your computer.

Pageant Key Added


That is all there is too it.  Enjoy using your new key pair.


P.S. – I couldn’t find any good songs about keys but keys are encryption and encryption is complicated math.  Tool is known for songs with unique time signatures (i.e. hard music math) in their songs.  Schism is an excellent example of this with a 6 1/2 over 8 time signature.

I’ve done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing
Doomed to crumble unless we grow, and strengthen our communication

Posted in Software Development, Today I Learned | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Today I Learned How to Create a Key Pair Using PuTTY

Today I Learned how to Install PostgreSQL in Ubuntu

For an upcoming project I’m thinking of using PostgreSQL.  I’ve heard lots of great things about PostgreSQL in the past but have been too scared lazy busy to try it.

What changed my mind was JetBrains DataGrip database client.  I’m sure there are other PostgreSQL clients but DataGrip is included in my JetBrains subscription so why not give it a try.   I’m a sucker for GUI database clients.  As a generalist it’s too hard to remember all the command lines for each individual database.  Plus it’s really hard to view more then a few rows or columns of data in the command line.

Anyway, let’s get to installing Postgresql in a Ubuntu development environment.  The initial installation instructions can be found here.  First lets add the PostgreSQL Apt Repository.  We do this so we can get he latest version of PostgreSQL and aren’t stuck with the Ubuntu version.

First create a file that will point to the PostgreSQL Apt Repository:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list

Then add the following to the file:

deb -pgdg main

Finally import the repository signing key:

wget --quiet -O - | sudo apt-key add -

Now do a apt update and you should see the PostgreSQL listed:

sudo apt update

Finally install it:

sudo apt install postgresql

You can check if PostgreSQL was installed correctly by trying to connect to it:

sudo su - postgres psql

Notice you had to switch to the postgres user before attempting to connect.  This is a new user that was created during the PostgreSQL installation and is the default user for new database installs.

By default PostgreSQL does not have a default password in Ubuntu.  You can only login via the above command and can’t connect using other methods, such as DataGrip.  To change the postgres default user password run the following command when logged into PostgreSQL:

ALTER USER postgres PASSWORD 'password';

Once that is done you can logout of PostgreSQL by typing “\q”.

Now lets try to connect to our localhost PostgreSQL install in DataGrip.  Run DataGrip then choose File–>Data Sources.  Then click PostgresSQL and you should see something similar to the below.

DataGrip PostgreSQL Data Source

DataGrip PostgreSQL Data Source Advanced Options

If prompted download the driver files.  Now lets try to create a connection by clicking the green plus sign in the top right and choosing PostgreSQL:

DataGrip PostgreSQL Create Datasource Menu

You should see something similar to the below:

DataGrip PostgreSQL Create Datasource Download Missing Drivers

If there is a message saying a driver is missing then download it.  If this is your first time installing PostgreSQL there will be no database so leave that field blank but fill in the username and password.  The username is “postgres” and the password if the one you created in the above ALTER statement.  Click Test Connection to make sure everything works.

Test Database Connection

When you close this form you might be prompted to store the password in your keyring.  You don’t have to but I like too so I don’t have to keep entering it.

Key Chain Prompt

Now you should be able to see the PostgreSQL database in DataGrip:

PostgreSQL Database in DataGrip


P.S. – Spotify listed Bored to Death by Blink 182 as my most played song of 2017.  The second most played song was Sober also by Blink 182.  I wonder what targeted ads I would get if that information feel into Google or Facebook’s hands.

Life is too short to last long

Posted in Code Examples, Software Development, Today I Learned | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Today I Learned how to Install PostgreSQL in Ubuntu

Blast from the Past: New Tools Require New Standards

I recently started a new contract that involves tools and software languages I normally don’t use.   I have to remember that .NET best practices don’t necessarily translate to PHP/Java.  I have to remember that New Tools Require New Standards (originally published on September 3rd, 2010).

“An old belief is like an old shoe.  We so value its comfort that we fail to notice the hole in it.”
Robert Brault

As developers we all have standards, even if they aren’t that well defined.  Of course I’m talking about technology standards but feel free to insert your social awareness and/or hygiene standard joke here.  Standards can range from the usual coding standards to the names you give your servers (e.g Lord of the Rings Characters) and everything in-between.

Having been a developer for one third of my life, I’ve developed quite a few standards of my own.  Having worked in Windows shops most of my career, most my standards are focused around those tools.

Ruby on RailsWhen I first tried Ruby on Rails, I was prepared for a new website architecture (e.g. MVC).  What I wasn’t prepared for was adopting the new coding standards that Ruby encouraged.  With my brain already overloaded with the new architecture, I found myself writing Ruby code as though it was C# code.  The biggest one I noticed was naming my database tables and fields in camel case format instead of the underscore format that Rails encouraged.

I know this sounds stupid now, but at the time, my poor overloaded brain wanted to keep using the camel case names even though the tool, Rails, didn’t encourage it.  I even went as far as to look up how to override the underscore names before I came to my senses.

Crushing your HeadIt’s easy to forget but the main reason for having standards is to “compensate for the strictly limited size of our skulls”.  As Steve McConnell says:

“The primary benefit of a coding standard is that it reduces the complexity burden associated with revisiting formatting, documentation, and naming decisions with every line of code you write. When you standardize such decisions, you free up mental resources that can be focused on more challenging aspects of the programming problem.”

Often standards arise  from the tools being used.  All tools come with their own standards from the creators and community at large.  In some cases, a standard is created to work around a limitation of the tools being used.  Just remember that when you switch to a new tool, such as when I tried Ruby on Rails, the old standards might not be applicable anymore.  Let me repeat that for emphasis:

When you switch tools, your existing standards will have to change.

This is a rule I am struggling to remember and I’ve only been a developer for one third of my life.  Now imagine you have been a developer for over half your life.  How hard is it to give up on your well worn standards when faced with a new tool?  Very hard, I think, based on this summarized experience I recently had:

  • Start developing application using Fluent NHibernate as it will be the company’s new standard.
  • Well into development, find out the company’s existing standards require all database access to go through stored procedures.  Brought to our attention by a tech lead who had been a DBA for over half his life.
  • Have several meetings and e-mails about the impact of re-writing the code to meet the standard and how the tool NHibernate doesn’t work well with their existing stored procedures standard.
  • The tech lead relents and allows us to use NHibernate as it was designed.

There is a much longer story but the important part is the tech lead realized that if you are adopting a new tool at your company, your existing standards will have to change.  Remember that the standards he had helped reduce his mental load.  Being a technical lead is enough work without having to learn a new set of standards.

My hope is that after I’ve been a developer half my life, I remember my own rule and am willing to adapt my entrenched standards to a new tool despite the pain it might cause my brain.

Posted in Blast from the Past, Software Development | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Blast from the Past: New Tools Require New Standards