19 Nov 2015

Mass email Marketing and anti-spam - some of the how-to..

I'm sure I've mentioned on this blog (probably a few years ago), that we spent about a year developing a very good anti-spam tool. The basis of which was using a huge number of mysql stored procedures to process email as it is accepted and forwarded using an exim mail server.

The tricks that it uses are numerous, although generally come from best practices these days.

The whole process starts off with creating a database with

  • 'known' servers it has talked to before 
  • 'known' domains it has dealt with before.
  • 'known' email address it has dealt with before.

If an email / server / domain combo is new and not seen before, then apart from greylisting, and delaying the socket connections we also have a optional manual approval process. (using the web client).

Moving on from that we have a number of other tricks, usually involving detecting url links in the email and seeing if any of the email messages that have been greylisted (with different 'from') are also using that url.

On top of this, is a Web User interface to manage the flow and approvals of email. You can see what is in the greylist queue, set up different accounts for different levels of protection (either post-delivery approval, or pre-delivery approval etc..)

This whole system is very effective, when set up correctly. It can produce zero false negatives, and after learning for a while, is pretty transparent to the operations of a company. (email me if you want to get a quote for it, it's not that expensive...)

So after having created the best of breed anti-spam system, in typical fashion, we get asked to solve the other end.. getting large amounts emails delivered to mailing lists.

If you are looking for help with your mass email marketing systems, don't hesitate to contact us sales@roojs.com

Read on to find out how we send out far to many emails (legally and efficiently)

Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()

16 Nov 2015

Hydra - Recruitment done right

For the last few months we have been finishing up the first round of work on the Hydra Jobs platform. Something, along with the founders we think is quite revolutionary idea in IT recruitment. 

Key to it's design is the idea that the first step in finding someone is not putting up an advert, and expecting a shitstorm of resume's that are totally unconnected to the requirements. Taking a step back and realizing that as an employer, you would rather do a search for all the available candidates, than risk the time and wasted effort in sorting though unrelated piles of CV's.

We have spent the last 9 months working to get this to a MVP. The platform is now running, and the business operations are now underway.

So to make this work, the first step on Hydra was to design a set of Questions that could enable a detail search to work. What we ended up with is probably the easiest, yet comprehensive way of entering your profile data so it can be matched efficiently with companies recruiting staff.

It has been an interesting few months getting Hydra up and going, now we are over the hump of the work, we are looking for more interesting projects to take on, so if you know of any, please contact us.

Read on for some of the tricks we used to make this project, one of the best recruitment platforms around.

Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()

20 May 2015

More on syntax checking vala - and a nice video

As I wrote last week. I had added full syntax checking to the editor. So it runs a full compile check as you type.
Here's a nice video of it working...

After the initial joy of adding this to code, I soon realized it had a fatal flaw, read on to find out more..

Posted by Alan Knowles in Gtk | Add / View Comments()

09 May 2015

Fetching Resources from github in the App Builder and fake web servers

My final words this week on the builder - handling resources, and fake web servers

While I talked in the other posts about how the builder extracts the API for various components from the libvala library and the vapi files, some information that the builder requires has to be manually, created or fetched from other locations.

When the Builder was written in seed, it basically looked at the source code directory, and read files relative to the source code. For the Vala version however, it's not expected to know about the source code directory, so I had to use a different approach.

Posted by Alan Knowles in Gtk | Add / View Comments()

08 May 2015

libvala testing code and extracting API from the vapis

And the next part in the series. Gir and Vala structures, Nothing like a slow day to write a few blog posts. 

The App Builder was originally designed to build applications using seed (the gobject introspection webkit javascript engines bindings), One of the key elements of how this was done involved introspecting the Gtk API, and extracting all the properties, signals and class structure.

In this post I will go through the history of how I extracted the API information on Gtk, initially from Gobject introspection and GIR files, upto the current version which uses libvala to get the correct API direct from the vapi files.

Posted by Alan Knowles in Gtk | Add / View Comments()

07 May 2015

App Builder - Database based Plugin builders for Web components.

It's been a busy month, unfortunately not for our paid work, which has dropped down to a trickle. Taking advantage of this I've been building more into our App Builder. This post hopefully is the first in a series about some of those additions.
The Primary purposes of our Builder is
  • A WYSIWYG tool for web applications using both Bootstrap or the RooJS libraries.
  • A new visual way of building Gnome/Gtk Applications 
In working towards these goals the builder has moved forward in a few directions. the first one that this blog post talks about is generating User interfaces from Database Schemas.

Posted by Alan Knowles in Gtk | Add / View Comments()

17 Mar 2015

App Builder - Vala

As we are not so crazy busy this month, I finally get time to write about one the  key tools that we developed to enhance our development process.

Back in 2010, We built a desktop application called app.Builder.js, written in seed (webkit+gnome). It's main purpose was to enable the rapid development of RooJS applications (a fork of ExtJS). It worked wonders over the years, enabling us to build and prototype applications quickly, and continually improve on them.

While it worked well, due to the nature of Javascript bindings into C, the occasional code problem would cause a complete crash. As most of the code is dependant on the javascript bindings, and gir files that define them. It also became a little troublesome to maintain, extend as it was dependent on the availability of gir bindings for new widgets.

Around mid 2014, It was decided to port the code from Javascript to Vala. Being a relative new-commer to Vala, we first tried porting our Gitlive application, which monitors the filesystem for changes and instantly commit's and pushes all changes. This relatively small project gave us the skills set ready to rebuild application builder in vala.

Posted by Alan Knowles in Roo Javascript | Add / View Comments()

12 May 2014

The Roo Bootstrap library.

A little update on our latest little mini project. Wrapping the Twitter Bootstrap library into RooJS Objects, and creating a manageable method to develop Bootstrap applications without the JQuery spaghetti. 

Posted by Alan Knowles in Roo Javascript | Add / View Comments()

30 Jul 2013

FIFO on xtuple

It can't be that difficult can it?......


As part of our implementation for Xtuple, one of the key requirements was to value the stock using FIFO rather than the methods offered by default in Xtuple. After migrating from Netsuite, this became the next major task in our implementation. It took almost a year to develop, initially the first release took around 5 months, but it was only after many rounds of fixes and tweaks that we finally got to a situation where it would correctly calculate the stock valuation and correctly apply this to the General Ledger.

Posted by Alan Knowles in Xtuple ERP | Add / View Comments()

04 Mar 2013

PHP just does some things better. cloud backups, pecl-expect

 Backups, yes we do backup occasionally, and I've been looking for a better solutions than my historical office<->hosting replication, which although cheap, always made me wonder if I was still making copies. So after our recent office move, and minor server upgrade, I thought better double check on it all.. As usual, the thing had failed due to various reasons, and needed replacing. 

So since I've been thinking about a new solution for our clients, I decided to go ahead and try it out for our data. I've been googling affordable cloud based storage for a while and found a company onlinestoragesolutions.com, the pricing is very reasonable US$45 for 2 years currently, with unlimited everything. There are a few review sites that seem to throw some cold water over the offer, but I had one client sign up without any major issues (for another reason), so at that price I though let's give it a go....

One of the key features they advertise is rsync, which since we run all linux machines would be ideal. However after paying, and getting access, I realized it's not quite a simple as pointing your rsync at their server. You need to set up an ssh tunnel to route rsync through.

Can't be that difficult I thought.... Turns out that setting up a password based ssh tunnel, automatically on a cron job, is no small task, there are questions all over stackexchange and various forums, none that I saw managed to find a solution. Most of the suggestions are based around the 'expect' program, a usefull unix tool which can be used to script ssh access. The problem in this case was that setting up the tunnel, then doing the rsync, and then closing the tunnel is not something that a bash, expect or any other method I found could do easily if at all.

So almost at the point of giving up, I started looking around at php's popen (which would not work either), and fell over the pecl expect extension. 

Below is the result of a few minutes coding, which does exactly what is needed, and can be run directly from cron. Feel free to escape from overpriced backup solutions..

Posted by Alan Knowles in General Crap | Add / View Comments()
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