November 02, 2017

A number of updates since the last post:
  • Significantly reduced the size all photos for the site with minimal visual quality impact. This should improve performance in the photo applications. Note that the print version of photos are not affected.
  • Change the SizePhotos app to incorporate this new process so photos are optimized on a go-forward basis
  • A few security improvements:
    • Increased password complexity requirements
    • Improved password reset error messaging
    • Protect against open redirects
    • Add support for GitHub authentication
  • Upgrade Angular apps to v5.0.0 and CLI 1.5.0, which improves performance

September 12, 2017

Some minor updates tonight:
  • update email functions to generate pretty HTML emails
  • fix a bug with password reset functionality
  • more JS updates - Angular upgrades, import more libraries via npm rather than including via page scripts

August 25, 2017

Finally deployed a major update of the site. While many of the updates were infrastructure level improvements, there were some user facing enhancements as well:
  • Upgraded OS to Fedora 26
  • Upgraded to .NET Core 2.0 / ASP.NET Core 2.0
  • Switched from Supervisord to Systemd to manage the ASP.NET service
  • Migrate from EF to Dapper for DB access
  • Enable users to opt in and authenticate with different social accounts
  • Upgrade Angular apps to 5.0b4, for improved performance and some minor animations
  • Enhanced favicons
  • Replaced FontAwesome with inline SVG
  • XML tools are back now that the relevant APIs were added back in .NET Standard 2.0
  • Numerous other code cleanup and improvements

December 11, 2016

Minor updates to the site tonight:
  • version upgrades for client applications
  • some additional code cleanup
  • soft launch of the 3D version of the photo app

November 17, 2016

Excited to announce another system level upgrade for the website, namely:
  • Upgraded Fedora 23 to Fedora 24, which include Nginx and Posgres upgrades
  • Upgraded to RTM .Net / ASP.Net Core 1.1.0
  • Nginx is now upgraded from SPDY to HTTP/2

I have been waiting for this update, as I've been wanting to get on Fedora 24 for some time, but have been holding out for .Net Core support. It is really great to see all the great work going on in .Net. The commitment to open source is really amazing. It is funny to think back to 2002 when I was wanting to be a Java developer rather than .Net! I am very happy I took the .Net path!

I have also been playing with a new app that is still very much in development. Hopefully I will have something to announce by the end of the year.

November 05, 2016

Today I set out to make a relatively small tweak to try and squeak out a little performance. Let's be totally honest here, this site is super low traffic, and doubt this will be noticed by anyone, but am always curious to try and optimize how this runs to learn new things. As such, I thought I would change nginx/kestrel to communicate over unix sockets rather than tcp. I thought I would do this quickly in the morning before soccer, but this has ended up taking many hours. The main issue was identifying and updating SELinux to allow nginx to access unix sockets. The docs on my github repo will be updated in the next day or two with these steps, so check it out if this topic is of interest to you.

Although I wanted to throw in the towel and just go back to tcp, I am glad I stuck with it and finally got this to work.

November 02, 2016

A number of small improvements and fixes have been made:
  • Upgraded to .Net Core 1.1.0 Preview 1
  • Views are now precompiled, making initial page loads very quick
  • Upgraded Angular components, and enable AOT in the build process, so those should be smaller/faster now too
  • Fixed issue with keyboard navigation in photo app (thumbnails/pager were not updating)
  • Fixed login to respect the ReturnUrl parameter

October 01, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, this site underwent a major upgrade. Here is a brief overview of what changed:

  • Rewrote all Angular applications, now implemented in Typescript and Angular 2
  • Upgraded to .Net Core, ASP.Net Core 1.0, EF Core 1.0.
  • Migrated the backend database from MySQL to PostgreSQL
  • Reprocessed all photos with a new app to try and improve resulting images - this took about 3 days of continuous processing to complete
  • Added Alyssa's new game, Money Spin
  • Added new webgl demos
  • Improved photo application, and added new tool to illustrate how many photos are available
  • Open sourced the site and supporting libraries and applications; available at GitHub
  • Updated the Android Photos app to work with changes in website and fixed some bugs
  • Developed new tools to automate deploying site updates and new photo categories
  • Other minor bug fixing and content enhancements

Now that this major upgrade is complete, I hope to more frequently push smaller enhancements as time permits.

September 20, 2015

Released a major update to the Android application, MaW Photos. Some of the key enhancements:

  • ui updates to better align with material design
  • update category list page to show larger thumbnails
  • add new category list view to show only thumbnails
  • improve photo screen to show image on larger surface, and to fade out toolbars
  • improved tablet support
  • store photos in a private folder to avoid polluting other apps like Gallery - photos also deleted on uninstall
  • delete photos stored in the old location
  • update code to use picasso
  • update code to use android annotations

As for the website, an update was also just released, which updates the version of ASPNET5 to current beta 8 libraries, and requisite code updates reacting to that change. Additionally, there are a few minor issues in the photo application that are now fixed:

  • include custom modernizr build, as the cdn did not include the css filters check
  • fix the rotate buttons

July 26, 2015

Welcome to the new version of! I started this update over a year ago, and was originally going to be a handful of small updates. Needless to say, this grew larger and larger, and am very happy this is now deployed. The following are the highlights for this release:

  • New server powered by an Intel NUC with a Samsung SSD for significantly better performance and efficiency.
  • Improved site security by requiring HTTPS, thanks to certificates from Thawte.
  • Improved responsiveness of website on large and small displays. Achieved this by adopting Twitter Bootstrap as the foundation for the site layout, replacing the previous custom CSS. This also allowed removing special mobile specific pages and code - in particular this removes a lot of duplication for the picture and video section of this website.
  • Styled the site using the Slate Bootstrap theme from Bootswatch.
  • Upgraded to ASPNet 5 / MVC 6 which is now open source and cross platform!
  • Significant work to restructure entire codebase, and start to benefit from DI that comes with ASPNET5.
  • Migrated all the Javascript code for the website to TypeScript. Additional work will come over time to more fully leverage the capabilities TypeScript offers.
  • Upgraded all the Javascript libraries that are used, in particular AngularJS.
  • Refactored all the AngularJS code to better adhere to the great Style Guide that John Papa and the community has put together.
  • Converted the entire build process to Gulp JS. Also now fully packing the site prior to deployment thanks in addition to the ASPNet5 tooling.
  • Worked with my daughter to create Memory, a new game you can enjoy!
  • Added new functionality within the picture application so that you can download all the hi-res images for a given category. Now you can easily grab all the pictures that are suitable for printing!
  • Shifted from MonoDevelop to Visual Studio Code for most of the development process.
  • Removed some functionality which is no longer useful, in particular the Self Signed Certificate tool. This was not kept up to date with best practices, and IIS now comes with the ability to generate these, obsoleting the main use of this tool.
  • Improved the CAPTCHA on the contact page by upgrading to the new reCAPTCHA from Google.
  • New and improved admin tools. In fact, am writing this post using this new functionality now!

This was a long time coming - in particular for those of you I promised the improved ability to download pictures! I have a bunch more things on my list, but hopefully can start picking these off in smaller pieces moving forward - stay tuned!

I hope you like the changes. If there is anything that is not working for you, or have suggestions on how to improve the site, please let me know.