Sunday 21 April 2013

Weekly Roundup: 21st April 2013

Welcome to another Weekly Roundup. Here you will find links to software, libraries and blogs I've found interesting in the last week.

Merging Code Nightmares

We've all been in the situation when we've pulled down the latest set of changes from a repository and got a merge conflict. Either another developer has refactored or changed the same code as you, or has moved the code entirely, meaning your merge tool doesn't understand the code & so cannot manage the merge.

Sermantic Merge by Plastic SCM has been released this week. This is a merging tool that understands your code and can handle merges involving code refactoring. This is a great tool if you experience these issues regularly and it works nicely with TFS, SVN, Git and Mercurial. It's only available for C# and VB.NET on Windows currently, but there are plans for other languages like C, C++, Objective-C and JavaScript for other OS in the future. It's currently in beta at the moment but it's definitely a tool that needs to be followed closely.

2 Factor Authentication

A few weeks ago I blogged about the state of internet security on websites. I said that 2 factor authentication was the way to go to secure your website. This week Microsoft finally added 2 factor authentication to its services such as Outlook, SkyDrive and Messenger.

2 factor authentication is a brilliant way to secure your accounts. I highly recommend you do this at the earliest opportunity. Scott Hanselman has a great tutorial on how to setup 2 factor authentication on his blog. The great thing about this is that you can use the Google Authentication app on both iOS and Android with your Microsoft account.

Browser Testing

The quick iteration by browser providers can make testing a nightmare. Both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome release new versions every 4-6 weeks,and combined with the number of operating systems and devices, the number of permutations between device and browser can be mind boggling.

Previously, testers might have virtual machines with different browser configurations for testing, however this is now getting to a stage where it's virtually unmaintainable. Enter BrowserStack. BrowserStack maintains all the various virtual machines and configurations for a small monthly fee. If you're a web developer that needs to test on multiple browsers (what web developer doesn't?!) then BrowserStack might just be for you.

Device Testing

Staying with testing, if you're a mobile app developer, and especially if you're an Android developer, you'll know that device testing is getting harder and harder with new devices being released all the time.

A great new service announced by Xamarin this week is Test Cloud. Currently in beta, this service allows you to upload your app to the Xamarin servers and Xamarin will then run your app across multiple devices (actual devices rather than virtualised) and produce test results for all of those devices. You can also write BDD tests and upload these as well. This looks a must-have service when it is finally released. It's only open to limited numbers at the moment, but you can sign up to the beta program on the site.

If you want more up-to-date links feel free to follow me on Twitter @lancscoder as I Tweet links throughout the week. Also if you find anything interesting don't hesitate to share it!