Category Archives: How To

PostgreSQL Logo

How to list database privileges in PostgreSQL

When creating a new database in PostgreSQL or when creating a new connection to an existing database from a new client, it is recommended that a dedicated database user is used.

Each database user must only be granted the permissions needed to solve it’s purpose.

The following SQL command allows you to obtain the current PostgreSQL privileges configured in the active database:

SELECT grantee, table_name, privilege_type 
FROM information_schema.role_table_grants

This command will output some like:

granteeTable_nameprivilege_type
management_usernameusersINSERT
management_usernameusersSELECT
management_usernameusersUPDATE
management_usernameusersDELETE
management_usernameusersTRUNCATE
management_usernameusersREFERENCES
management_usernameusersTRIGGER
statistics_usernamesessionsSELECT
Sample Privileges

However, you may only execute this SQL and get the PostgreSQL privileges as an admin user.

search-engine-optimization

SEO Tutorial – Search Engine Optimization

SEO Tutorial – Learn how to improve your website for Search Engine Optimization.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”.

It represents the process of improving your site rating to increase its visibility for relevant searches. Its purpose is to improve the quality of the website content and the quantity of the traffic.

SEO targets the increase of unpaid traffic rather then paid traffic or organic traffic (direct traffic).

SEO Key Aspects

Bellow are some key aspects that you should go through when not pleased with the search engine results position. Have fun 😀

Website Meta Tags

Meta tags are crucial to the health of a website. They define how should the visitors browser treat your website. If a website would have a mandatory configuration file, well the meta tags would be it.

Your website must have at least the bellow meta tags defined, but if quality optimization is what you need, you should be aware of all available meta tags and their purpose.

Charset – The charset attribute of the <meta> element specifies the character encoding for the HTML document.

Viewport – Setting the viewport meta tag that controls the width and scaling of the viewport so that it’s sized correctly on all devices.

Title – The title of a HTML document displayed both in Search Engine result snippets as well as the page’s tab in browsers.

See a complete list of the most important meta tags here and their definition.

Website content is the advertised product. Search Engines will rank your website depending on the quality of the content. However, more content doesn’t mean higher ranking.

Duplicate content actually decreases the ranking so we need to let Search Engines know what is the original content of a duplicate content.

For example if we have a product on the website and multiple URLs open that products page, we need to refer the main product page on all secondary pages using canonical links.

This pages’ URL is https://www.catalinmunteanu.com/seo-tutorial/ but it can be also accessed using the post id: https://www.catalinmunteanu.com?post=591. When accessed using the post id we need to set the canonical URL:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.catalinmunteanu.com/seo-tutorial/" />

Heading and Description

Images

Images have an important role in SEO. One might say they can replace a thousand words… or was it pixels… See bellow some aspects that can be optimized.

Image Size Optimization

Your images need to be optimized for web. You can’t expect all visitors to have a great bandwidth connection so instead of including images with sizes greater than 50-100Kb, you should consider optimizing them before.

There are plenty tools out there that can help with image optimization. Consider using PJPEG if in no way you can optimize their size.

Image Attributes

Any image on your website needs to have attributes set. You need to set the alt and title attributes. The values must describe in words the content of the image.

Image Lazy Loading

You can never know if a visitor will scroll all the way down or will stop as soon as he finds what he was searching for. So for the short period in which your visitor browses, make sure all goes smooth.

One way of achieving this is to not load all the images that are not visible in the Viewport, but actually use Lazy Loading.

Sitemaps

Sitemaps serve a single purpose: Help search engine bots to understand what pages does your website expose. They have a huge role in Search Engine Optimization process and should be one of the first actions your take in this direction.

Some search engines provide a Web Console in which you can submit your sitemaps which will end up being used by their bots. Google offers the Search Console where you can manage your sitemaps.

There are two types of sitemaps: Sitemap Index and Sitemap.

Sitemap Index should be used when your website has multiple Sitemaps and should link each Sitemap URL. Sample Sitemap Index bellow:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<sitemapindex xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
   <sitemap>
      <loc>https://www.catalinmunteanu.com/sitemap-1.xml</loc>
      <lastmod>2020-10-25</lastmod>
   </sitemap>
   <sitemap>
      <loc>https://www.catalinmunteanu.com/sitemap-2.xml</loc>
      <lastmod>2020-10-25</lastmod>
   </sitemap>
</sitemapindex>

The Sitemap contains the actual links to each page available on the website and some optional properties regarding each page. Sample Sitemap bellow:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
   <url>
      <loc>https://www.catalinmunteanu.com/</loc>
      <changefreq>daily</changefreq>
      <priority>1.0</priority>
   </url>
   <url>
      <loc>https://www.catalinmunteanu.com/about/</loc>
      <changefreq>weekly</changefreq>
   </url>
</urlset>

Additional information can be found on https://www.sitemaps.com.

Mobile Compatibility

Some Search Engines give extra points for responsive or adaptive websites. So having a mobile-optimized website will increase your SEO rating.

A few things that might affect your mobile compatibility:

  • viewport meta tag not set
  • viewport width is not responsive
  • content requires horizontal scrolling which determines content not to fit in viewport
  • interactive elements are not optimized for touch devices
  • font is not readable – maybe too small or colors not optimized

Even if you plan on building native mobile applications, you should consider configuring your website as a PWA. Additional details about Progressive Web apps here.

Optimizing your website for mobile is an easy task and there are plenty tutorials out there. However, check this great article on how to start.

Social Platform Integration (Twitter, Facebook Open Graph)

Your website needs to have the Twitter Card and Facebook OG configured. You’ll need to create a Facebook Application by accessing https://developers.facebook.com. For Twitter the configuration doesn’t require any custom app. There are plenty tutorials out there where you can learn how to do this. After you have configured both integrations, you can check the validity using:

Facebook Open Graph -> https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/

Twitter Cards -> https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator

If your Twitter Card is valid you should see something like this in their console:

Facebook OG integration is valid if the Facebook Debug tool doesn’t list any errors.

You can also use https://www.opengraph.xyz to quickly review the integration of both social networks.

Website SSL Certificate

A key aspect that should be addressed before all other aspects is the SSL Certificate. Missing SSL Certificate or poor configuration determines a low SEO score.

Your website needs to have a valid and trusted SSL Certificate. You might get more ranking points if your website has the TLSv1.0 and TLSv1.1 disabled. It is good practice to disable deprecated protocols and to prepare for the future.

You can check your websites configuration using the following tools:

Basic check -> https://www.sslshopper.com/ssl-checker.html

Comprehensive check -> https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/

Certificate chain check -> https://whatsmychaincert.com

SSL Certificate Rating A+

Your target is to get A+ Rating so do everything that you can to achieve this. Having a lower rating will impact the overall website Search Engine Optimization.

Website Content

Maybe you have thoroughly configured all the above listed aspects but you’re still not in top 10 search results?

The question is: Do you have content? Does your website provide useful, clear, properly formatted information? The content displayed on your website is as important as any other SEO Key Aspect.

Your websites content is the most important aspect so make sure you have quality information. However, it’s not impossible to get in top 10 search results with a blank page. Leave me a comment if you know the secrets.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You have come a long way 🙂

Search Engine Optimization is about calibration, precision, dedication.

Each aspect needs to be carefully optimized and if you ignore a single aspect, your SEO rating will be impacted.

Some people consider SEO to be an art. It’s like manually crafting a piece of jewelry.

How to run Git pull in all subdirectories

Git pull allows you to retrieve the latest changes from the remote repository.

If you ever need to run git pull in all subdirectories but you don’t want to manually do it for each of them, you create a bash script as follows:

#! /usr/bin/env bash
for dir in ./*/
do
    cd ${dir}
    git status >/dev/null 2>&1
    # check if exit status of above was 0, indicating we're in a git repo
    [ $(echo $?) -eq 0 ] && echo "Updating ${dir%*/}..." && git pull
    cd ..
done

Set the permissions:

chmod +x git-pull.sh

And run ./git-pull.sh

Source

primary-node

Primary node election in distributed computing

Primary node can help with coordination of multiple node deployed in a cloud. One of the projects I’ve worked on had a NodeJS worker that ran multiple types of tasks. I wanted to upgrade this setup in order to be easily scalable, have a primary node (or coordinator) that triggers the tasks and continue processing even when some of the nodes fail.

The Checklist

  • All nodes may participate in an “election” to choose the coordinator
  • Support any number of nodes, including 1 node setup
  • Handle node fail (even the coordinator node) without impacting the flow
  • Allow new nodes to join the party
  • Don’t depend on an expensive technology (paid or resource hungry)

Besides the main scope of the solution I also needed to ensure that the election of the coordinator follows these 3 basic principles:

  • Termination: the election process must complete in a finite time
  • Uniqueness: only one node can be coordinator
  • Agreement: all other nodes know who’s the coordinator.

After I established that I have all the scenarios in mind, I started investigating different algorithms and solutions that the market uses (Apache Zookeeper, Port Locking, Ring Networks). However, most of these require a lot of setup or were incompatible in a multi server setup and I also wanted to embrace a KISS approach so continue reading to see the solution.

The Primary Node Election Algorithm

  1. Node generates a random numeric id
  2. Node retrieves a COORDINATOR_ID key from Redis
  3. If key !NULL
    • We have a coordinator
    • Wait Z minutes (e.g. Z = 1 hour)
    • GoTo Step2
  4. If key NULL
    • No coordinator announce
    • Push the id from Step1 in a Redis list
    • Waits X seconds (depending on how long the deployment takes, e.g. 10 seconds)
    • Retrieve all items in the list and extract the highest number
    • If result === node id
      • Current node is primary
      • Set Redis key COORDINATOR_ID with expiry Z+X
      • Do all the hard work 🙂
    • Wait Z minutes
    • GoTo Step2

Downside of this solution is that if the coordinator node fails, it actually takes 2*Z until a new election takes place.

There’s room for improvement so please don’t hesitate to leave a feedback 🙂

Docker Compose YAML – Most Wanted Fields

This article describes the basic fields that can be configured in a Docker Compose YAML. It should help you bootstrap your Compose YAML and get your services up and running.

The fields described are available in Docker Compose YAML version 3.7. If your YAML version if different or you Docker Engine is too old, you might not be able to use all the fields.

What we’re gonna do is build-up the YAML from scratch, adding new fields as we require them.

Our initial docker-compose.yml looks like this:

version: '3.7'
services:
    database:

image

In order to run a container you need to have an image which describes what the container includes. You can specify the value using the image field (key). The value can be a string that refers to an image from the Public Docker Hub or an URL for any other hub.

For example if you want to use the official postgres image from here, you would specify the name like this:

version: '3.7'
services:
    database:
        image: postgres

build

Sometimes we need to use custom images that are created using custom made Dockerfile. You can specify which Dockerfile to use, and allocate a build context using the context and dockerfile fields.

version: '3.7'
services:
    database:
        build:
            context: ./my_project_folder
            dockerfile: ./my_project_folder/Dockerfile

If you specify both image and build, then docker-compose names the resulting image from the build using the name specified as the image value.

ports

The ports field allows configuration of the ports mapped between the container and the host machine.

You can specify multiple ports in the format: <HOST_PORT>:<CONTAINER_PORT>

version: '3.7'
services:
    database:
        image: postgres
        ports:
            - 5432:5432

Also check out these articles if you’re not familiar with Docker or Docker Compose.

How to expose multiple ports from Docker Container

One important aspect of a HTTP web server is to be able to handle both HTTPS and HTTP requests, which requires binding to multiple ports.

However, handling HTTP requests should be done at a minimal level, which means these requests should be redirected to the HTTPS server handler.

My server listens to both 443 and 80, but it redirects all 80 requests to 443.

All good until production deploy using Docker container.

The problem I was facing to which I did not find any quick solution in the Docker documentation: how to bind multiple host:container ports.

It turns out this is much simpler than it first sounds:

docker run ... -p <HOST_PORT1>:<CONTAINER_PORT1> -p <HOST_PORT2>:<CONTAINER_PORT2>

That’s all.

You can specify as many ports as needed.

OSX Global NPM Module command not found

In case you ended up in a situation where you just installed a global NPM module, but it still throws command not found, here’s what you have to do:

Find out where the global NPM modules are installed by running:

npm prefix -g

Double check that your $PATH does not already contain that value:

echo $PATH

If the value is not included, you must update your etc/paths with the NPM location:

sudo vi /etc/paths

Add the value returned by npm prefix -g preceded by /bin

e.g. /Users/catalinmunteanu/.npm-global/bin

Save the file and exit.

Open a new terminal tab/window and retry the command.

Cheers!

Node n permission denied without sudo

Each time I do a fresh install of the Node Version Management tj/n I end up getting the permission denied when running npm install.

If you also ran into this issue, well, there’s a quick fix.

The issue is caused by the Node Version Management for which the owner is the root.

The two following steps will help you continue in peace 😀

which n

Returns the install location of the Node Version Management package. e.g. /Users/username/n

sudo chown -R $(whoami) <PATH_WHICH_N>

Sets the current user as owner.

You can now install the NPM packages without the power of sudo.

How to send signal to NodeJS process running in Linux

There might be times when you want to enable debugging or just change some NodeJS configuration without restarting the process. Scroll down to learn how to send signals to NodeJS process running on Linux.

linux signal nodejs

One extremely easy way of doing this is to send a signal to the running Node pid.

You can get the process pid running:

lsof i :<PORT>

This lsof command works if your process is running in a Docker container as well.

We can send the linux signal using:

# kill -s <SIGNAL> <PID>
kill -s SIGUSR2 999

As you can see it’s quite easy to send a signal. Checkout the official docs and find out more about how Node treats signals.

Now that we know how to send the signals we have to handle it in our NodeJS service:

function handle(signal) {
    console.log(`Received ${signal}`)
    // take some action depending on the signal received
}
process.on('<SIGNAL>', handle)

That’s all.

You can now do whatever you want when a signal occurs, without restarting the Node process: reload the configuration, enable debugging, logs and so on.

In one of my apps I used the signal to enable debugging of all HTTP requests.

Docker Tutorial – Getting started with Docker

This Docker Tutorial should help you get started with Docker.

  1. How to get a running Docker Machine on your computer
  2. How to create and manage Docker Images
  3. How to create and manage Docker containers
  4. How to delete Docker images and containers
  5. How to login to Docker Hub
  6. How to publish images to Docker Hub

You’ll learn how to start a Docker Machine on your PC, how to create images, how to create containers, and to cleanup your Docker Machine, login to Docker Hub, tag and publish images.

1. How to get a running Docker Machine on your computer

First thing you need to do before starting to manage images and containers is to have a Docker Machine up and running. For this tutorial I’m using Virtual Box for running the Docker Machine.

The next command creates a Docker Machine named dev. The command will check and download the required dependencies, create the VM, create a SSH key, start the VM and assign an IP and generate certificates.

docker-machine create --driver virtualbox dev

Running the above command is only needed the first time you create a Docker Machine. When you just need to start it you must run:

docker-machine start dev

After you have the Docker Machine running, you’ll be able to see the PORT and IP by running the next command. The printed result also contains a short command that you must run in order to set Docker Machine configuration in your environment.

docker-machine env dev

You must now set the environment with the Docker Machine configuration for the current terminal session by running:

eval $(docker-machine env dev)

That’s all for the first step. Starting a Docker Machine is quite easy.

In case you’re getting an IP allocation error, check out this article. It might help.

2. How to create and manage Docker Images

Now that we have the machine up and running we can list all the available images with:

docker images

In order to create a new image we must have a Dockerfile. I won’t get into how to create Dockerfile in this article but I’ll continue the tutorial using a base Nginx Dockerfile. Place this content in a file named Dockerfile

FROM nginx:latest
RUN nginx -v
EXPOSE 80
CMD ["bash", "-c", "nginx -g 'daemon off;'"]

Now you have a base Dockerfile and you can create an image from it by running:

docker build -t the_tag .

This command also requires that you have the Dockerfile in cwd. The dot from the end specifies that you are using a Dockerfile from the local directory. You can also build using a Dockerfile that’s not in the cwd by specifying the path to the Dockerfile:

docker build -f Dockerfile -t the_tag .

For both of the above commands you’ll see the following steps being executed:

Sending build context to Docker daemon 338.1MB
Step 1/4 : FROM nginx:latest
 ---> f68d6e55e065
Step 2/4 : RUN nginx -v
 ---> Using cache
 ---> 46c77d837d51
Step 3/4 : EXPOSE 80
 ---> Using cache
 ---> b31d714e67f1
Step 4/4 : CMD ["bash", "-c", "nginx -g 'daemon off;'"]
 ---> Using cache
 ---> c3f3bfb92c45
Successfully built c3f3bfb92c45
Successfully tagged the_tag:latest

If something goes wrong in any step the build will fail and the error will be printed. If you now run docker images again you’ll see:

REPOSITORY       TAG           IMAGE ID          CREATED             SIZE
the_tag          latest        c3f3bfb92c45      7 minutes ago       109MB

3. How to create and manage Docker containers

We now have a Docker image created and we’re ready to create and manage containers. You can list all available containers by running:

docker ps

Create a new container using the image we built by running:

docker run -d --name docker-nginx -p 80:80 the_tag

-d flag causes the container to run in detached mode
–name allows you to easily identify the container by setting a label
-p allows you to set publish the HOST:CONTAINER ports.

If you now run docker ps you’ll see something like this:

CONTAINER ID    IMAGE        COMMAND     CREATED          STATUS          PORTS                NAMES
c2e1bdcf12a0    image_tag    "bash -c"   3 seconds ago    Up 2 seconds    0.0.0.0:80->80/tcp   docker-nginx

You may now stop and delete this container by running:

docker stop c2e1bdcf12a0
docker rm c2e1bdcf12a0

4. How to delete Docker images and containers

In some articles I previously wrote I described how to keep your Docker Machine clean and how to delete certain images and containers or do a full cleanup.

Check out this article if you’re on OSX/Linux.

Check out this article if you’re using Windows.

5. How to login to Docker Hub

If you plan to publish your images to Docker Hub you’ll probably need to login.

docker login --username username@example.com --password THE_PASSWORD docker-hub.example.com:PORT

Be careful to specify the PORT. If you don’t, the authentication will work but publishing images will not find a token for the host.

6. How to publish images to Docker Hub

You’re now have an image and are authenticated to your Docker Hub. You can publish the image and make it available for others to use as well.

docker images # prints the hash
docker tag HASH docker-hub.example.com:443/<IMAGE_REPOSITORY_NAME>:0.0.1
docker push docker-hub.example.com:443/<IMAGE_REPOSITORY_NAME>

That’s it. The image is now on the hub.