Entrepreneur, Optimist, Learner, Pluralsight Author, Agile, Dev

The Importance of Networking and Good People

Being an entrepreneur is hard. I have several things at once (yes, mistake) but I am moving forward. One of the key areas where I put a good amount of effort is creating Pluralsight trainings. And one of my trainings, where I put in a huge amount of work is “Getting Started with Enterprise Search Using Apache Solr”, which takes a dev with 0 experience in Solr and a bit of .Net and in 3.4 hours teaches him or her how to build a working POC style project with Solr and a .NET MVC UI.

You can watch the training here: pluralsight.com/training/courses/TableOfContents?courseName=enterprise-search-using-apache-solr

Getting to the point, Pluralsight recently acquired CodeSchool and to celebrate they opened their library for 72 hours for free. So I announced in a couple of Linkedin groups that the course on Solr will be free for this time in case they want to take advantage of the offer.

Huge surprise did I get when I see a newsletter from Solr-Start (www.solr-start.com) announcing this. It turns out that Alexandre Rafalovitch, a well known Solr popularizer and author saw my notice and blasted off an email to his crowd.

It feels great when a good author shares your news over a newsletter! I wouldn’t even asked him to do this but he did it on his own and for that I really have to thank him.

And by the way, if you are just getting started with Solr, his book Instant Apache Solr for Indexing Data How-to is an excellent resource that can help you understand how to index data. It has a lot of great tips and examples. I got it from amazon a while back and it has helped me greatly. 100% recommended!

You can get it here:

https://www.packtpub.com/big-data-and-business-intelligence/instant-apache-solr-indexing-data-how-instant

Or in Amazon.com, and as you can see I bought it 1 year ago.

Free Sample + Collection Code Files       Instant Apache Solr for Indexing Data How-to

 

 

 

 

Find out who is connecting to your database – lovely query!

So I needed to figure out which servers are connecting to which databases. That sounds like a complicated thing but it isn’t!

Just run this query (and make sure you have appropriate permissions)

SELECT
loginame, hostname, program_name, DB_Name(dbid), last_batch
FROM
sys.sysprocesses
where hostname <> ”
order by last_batch desc

Atlassian Summit Presentation Video – Collaboration is More than Communication

Collaboration is defined as “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” Yet, many confuse communicating with collaborating. True collaboration gives you and your project an edge by aligning efforts towards a clear objective. I’ll show how teams can achieve true collaboration with JIRA Agile.

And here is my presentation from the Atlassian Summit 2014 on this topic


You can view in the Atlassian archives https://summit.atlassian.com/archives/2014/collaboration-teams/collaboration-is-more-than-communication-jira-agile

Hope you enjoy!

Best Practice and Development Tip: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel in C#

This is just a quick tip and development best practice based on a few things I’ve found while fixing bugs in an application. It is not just a quick tip on how to get the extension of a file, but instead it is about not reinventing the wheel, thinking about all possibilities and outcomes when you are programming and in general doing things right.

The idea is that whenever you have a problem to solve, for example get the extension for a given file you should find the appropriate framework function instead of trying to solve it on your own. Someone definitively already spent a lot of time creating a function that tests many potential scenarios.

Here is what I found:

Don't reinvent the wheel

What is the problem? That for any file that is included with multiple “.” Then as you can see the extension is extracted incorrectly.

How should I handle this? Welll, if you are wondering “oh look for the first “.” but from right to left!”

Hmmmm yes…maybe… but no sale.

Instead you should use the appropriate framework libraries. Read this: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.io.path.getextension(v=vs.110).aspx

Path.GetExtension Method

.NET Framework 4.5

7 out of 10 rated this helpful – Rate this topic

Returns the extension of the specified path string.

Namespace:  System.IO
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

Syntax

C#

public static string GetExtension(        string path)

Parameters

path

Type: System.String

The path string from which to get the extension.

Return Value

Type: System.String
The extension of the specified path (including the period “.”), or null, or String.Empty. If path is null, GetExtension returns null. If path does not have extension information, GetExtension returns String.Empty.

And try to do the same always. Think about all possibilities and when possible try to find out if you are not reinventing the wheel.

It is sooo easy to create bad usability… i.e. look at our friend Microsoft’s SharePoint

It is so easy to be part of the 90% of Sturgeon’s law! How hard can it be to create something with bad usability? Apparently it is extremely easy. Take a quick look at this example I am within the corporate Sharepoint. I want to upload a document. So I click Add document. assessment1 And now I get this popup.  My question is how hard can it be for Microsoft to create #1 a decent upload control to select location #2 that has enough space so that I can actually read the current location #3 and I clicked Add document within a specific folder. I think the majority of times I would want to add the document where I clicked. assessment2   How hard can all this be? I heard something about good UX a bit a ago that makes perfect sense. A UI is like a joke, if you have to explain it then it is not that good!

Solr Configuration

For those of you that landed directly on this page, I am working on a series of post that help people “Get Started with Enterprise Search using Apache Solr”. In this post I cover one specific module. If interested in watching the course please click here: http://pluralsight.com/training/courses/TableOfContents?courseName=enterprise-search-using-apache-solr . Click here to get to the starting point: http://www.xaviermorera.com/2014/06/getting-started-with-enterprise-search-using-apache-solr/ You’ve made it to module 3! Thanks a lot if this is the case. So far we started by understanding “Why Enterprise Search?” and “Why Solr?”, both very valid questions and fundamental if you want to go down the “search” path – which by the way if more people really understood search this could really save millions and millions of hours of frustrated users! And remember my promise: I will show you how to, in a few hours, build something that may cost thousands of dollars to develop and may take a long time to learn! That is pretty powerful if you ask me. After that, I walk you through architecture to show you where to place the search engine and also the internal architecture of Solr – don’t forget Lucene! And now we get to module 3, Solr Configuration. I start by showing you how to download solrinstaller.exe, click next/next/next and Solr is up and running! Yay…. Not quite Solr is not yet at that point. There is no Windows installer (yes, I am a Windows guy… no Linux) but it is extremely simple none the less. So in this module I show you

  • How to land on your feet when starting the wonderful search engine. I explain how you use Jetty server which can be started immediately. But this is only for dev purposes.
  • Then we move on to the areas of when you first open you search administration page, located in http://localhost:8983.
  • We move on to each one of the ares of the Admin UI. It is not 100% necessary to know them all, but there are some that you actually should. You may not care now, but if you run into errors then it is useful to know how Logging is where you should go.

logging

  • And then I do something that may save you a lot of time. I show you how to run Solr within Tomcat, which is suitable for production.

Let me tell you a quick story from a while ago so that you understand. I could be ashamed to say that it took me several hours to run Solr within Tomcat the first time I did it. I am not ashamed. I was clueless, some blog posts were technically accurate but confusing. In this training I show you how to do it in less than 7 minutes. This will save you time and frustration if you have never done it before and need to do so! And this is the end of the module. I prepare you for what’s to come, index data and the fun part: searching! I hope you enjoy and contact me if you have questions, concerns or most preferably criticism so that I can improve my trainings!

Architecture of an Enterprise Search Application

For those of you that landed directly on this page, I am working on a series of post that help people “Get Started with Enterprise Search using Apache Solr”. In this post I cover one specific module. If interested in watching the course please click here: http://pluralsight.com/training/courses/TableOfContents?courseName=enterprise-search-using-apache-solr . Click here to get to the starting point: http://www.xaviermorera.com/2014/06/getting-started-with-enterprise-search-using-apache-solr/ In the second module I start by trying to make my point on how

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
  • Users usually don’t care about the application
  • They care about getting accurate and fast results.

Users don’t care about the how, engineers care about the how. The people that use it don’t. and that’s what counts! Then I focus for a few minutes on explaining architecture from two points of view:

  • Where, architecturally speaking, within an application does the search engine fit in

architecture

  • Solr’s architecture

Solr architecture


The third section of this module explains what makes Solr move and shake, mainly the search engine underneath: Lucene. And finally I explain to you the parts of a search application. This part may be a bit subjective depending on who looks at it, but most principles apply across the board. If you are interested on viewing this module you can start here:  enterprise-search-apache-solr-m2 Here is the table of contents:

You can also go back to the main page of this series by clicking here: http://www.xaviermorera.com/2014/06/getting-started-with-enterprise-search-using-apache-solr/

Solr Configuration

For those of you that landed directly on this page, I am working on a series of post that help people “Get Started with Enterprise Search using Apache Solr”. In this post I cover one specific module. If interested in watching the course please click here: http://pluralsight.com/training/courses/TableOfContents?courseName=enterprise-search-using-apache-solr . Click here to get to the starting point: http://www.xaviermorera.com/2014/06/getting-started-with-enterprise-search-using-apache-solr/

The third module is made up of four sections:

2014-07-30_1821

Installation

In this section I will show you how to install Solr. It is not as simple as solrinstaller.exe, next, next next… but it not too complicated either.

Demo

Watch, learn and follow. You will be able to get Apache Solr running in a few minutes.

Admin UI

In this section I go over each one of the options in the Admin UI. I don’t spend too much time as there are many secitons, but enough for you to understand what they are for.

Tomcat

Solr comes with Jetty server out of the box. However Jetty is not for production purposes, instead it should be for development only. I will show you how to run Solr within Tomcat. BTW: if you do not know how to do this, it may take you a few hours of research to learn on your own. Watch this clip and you will learn in a few minutes!

If you are interested on viewing this module you can start here:  enterprise-search-apache-solr-m3 

This is the table of contents:

You can also go back to the main page of this series by clicking here: http://www.xaviermorera.com/2014/06/getting-started-with-enterprise-search-using-apache-solr/

How to Add Data to a Different Solr Core

Today a good friend asked while watching my Getting Started with Enterprise Search Using Apache Solr course in Pluralsight on how to index data in different cores in Solr. Solr Cores   Here is the answer.

  • Let’s say you want to feed data to Solr’s default collection, called collection1, using the update handler, then do this:

java -Durl=http://localhost:8983/solr/update  -Dtype=text/csv -jar post.jar “Two sample courses with author test.csv”

  • But if you have a different core, i.e. psdemo, then do this:

java -Durl=http://localhost:8983/solr/psdemo/update  -Dtype=text/csv -jar post.jar “Two sample courses with author test.csv”

Easy as pie! If interested in watching the course please click here: http://pluralsight.com/training/courses/TableOfContents?courseName=enterprise-search-using-apache-solr .

Why Solr & Enterprise Search

For those of you that landed directly on this page, I am working on a series of post that help people “Get Started with Enterprise Search using Apache Solr”. In this post I cover one specific module. If interested in watching the course please click here: http://pluralsight.com/training/courses/TableOfContents?courseName=enterprise-search-using-apache-solr .Click here to get to the starting point: http://www.xaviermorera.com/2014/06/getting-started-with-enterprise-search-using-apache-solr/

I start my Enterprise Search Apache Solr training course by conveying my beliefs to you. I truly believe that a good search implementation can help tremendously with the adoption of your application or providing huge savings by letting your users find what they are looking for. I can even say that a Search Engine is a very straightforward and easily understood name, but maybe sometimes I think that you should have a Find Engine!

Anyway, in this module I start with why. I really hope we both are in the same lane. Immediately I tell you what I promise you will get from this course. It is a pretty powerful promise, but believe me it is true.

I promise… That in the next couple of hours I will teach you to build things that might take you weeks to learn on your own and we will create together a search experience that could cost thousands of dollars to build

And they I take you in a few minutes into some interesting topics, for example Why Enterprise Search. This might seem normal to you, but most people have no idea about search. Search is one of the most misunderstood functionalities in IT!

And then of course we touch on a bit of history of search engines, famous Solr sites so that you can see with your own eyes how the big guys really are using Solr! If they are, why shouldn’t you?

Also, Apache Solr is not alone. I have a personal opinion at this point that it is the best, but others disagree. Let’s all agree to disagree then, but in this training I will focus solely on Apache Solr.

Are you ready to watch? If so you can watch it here after you log in to Pluralsight: http://pluralsight.com/training/Player?author=xavier-morera&name=enterprise-search-apache-solr-m1&mode=live&clip=0&course=enterprise-search-using-apache-solr

Here is the table of contents for this module:

You can also go back to the main page of this series by clicking here: http://www.xaviermorera.com/2014/06/getting-started-with-enterprise-search-using-apache-solr/

 

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