Newsletter Popup Doesn’t Make Sense to Me

The newsletter popup that showing up in 70% of the news sites I visit, at least those sites that I visit via Twitter or Flipboard.

I don’t know since when the trend started, it started to feels like a boilerplate or industry best practice, everyone starting to follow suits, plugins available everywhere, and blog posts about how to craft effective marketing newsletter started to shows up.

While it would be nice that it’s easy for me as a user to be able to subscribe to a site that they enjoy reading, but personally I think it’s a step too much when the enormous overlay dialog that covered almost the whole page (specially in mobile phone) shows up the moment the page loaded, I’m not sure how much sign up those sites will get for the dialog to shows up on page load rather than a link to it, I know for sure it annoyed the hack out of me.

Hack Spirit newsletter subscription box

Hack Spirit Newsletter Subscription Box

This is from Hack Spirit, the moment the page was loaded, the newsletter sign up box shows up.

The Next newsletter signup box

The Next Newsletter Sign Up Box

Fort The Next beside shows up the sign up box right away on page loaded, it’s a huge one as well.

NY Post newsletter sign up box

New York Post Newsletter Sign Up

For New York Post it’s worse than the rest, it shows up at beginning of the post, it’s big, and it said Never miss a story, while it blocking the content I was reading, it’s kind of ironic isn’t it, the sign up box causing me to missing a story, by blocking me, and it ask me to sign up so that I won’t miss a story. To be fair with them, I never get the newsletter box anymore, assuming they changed it to a button instead of auto popup now, nice decision.

Thing that doesn’t make sense to me with this newsletter subscription box practice is, while its designed to let users subscribe and stay up to date with the new contents, the ultimate goal is for user to consume their contents (let’s just assuming not solely for ads revenue), but those popups keeps getting between the users and the contents they are reading.

Maybe a button to trigger the subscription box, put it at the bottom of the post will be much better user experience than the annoying popups.

 

Switching to Azure MySQL In-App from ClearDB

When I first moved my blog to Azure, there is no MySQL provided by Azure themselves, but from their partner ClearDB. But now since Microsoft already announced that they are providing Azure MySQL In-App server, though it is still in preview, I’m switching to Azure MySQL In-App, away from ClearDB.

The reason why I’m moving away from ClearDB is not because it is expensive, for my use case it is very affordable, I’m moving away because even with my Azure credit, I still have to pay for the service separately, making me not able to fully utilize my credit.

Read more…

 

Install Let’s Encrypt in Azure

Azure’s App Service Plan D1 (Shared) doesn’t allow to use SSL and SNI, so after changed the plan to Basic B1, that support SSL, and now I can install Let’s Encrypt and use it for my blog.

However to setup everything needed for Let’s Encrypt to work and automate the process is tedious, but luckily for the this extension, stuff is easier (read easier, still not as easy as few button clicks). To get the started, get the extension.

Install Azure Let’s Encrypt Extension

Let's Encrypt Azure extension browser

Let’s Encrypt Azure Extension

Create Table Storage Account

The extension requires uses Azure Web Jobs and it require table storage to work with.

Azure Marketplace Storage Account

Azure Marketplace Storage Account

It’s easy to locate, just search in the marketplace.

Azure Storage Account creation

Azure Storage Account creation

Fill in the usual suspect. Once it’s created, we need to locate the key so that we can set it in our application settings.

Storage account access key

Storage Account Access Key

We can locate both storage account name (it’s the one we fill in when creating the account) and key in the Settings > Access keys section.

Azure Application Settings Storage Key

Azure Application Settings Storage Key

Create 2 keys, AzureWebJobsStorage and AzureWebJobsDashboard, and fill both keys with the same value of DefaultEndpointsProtocol=https;AccountName={storage account name};AccountKey={storage account key}.

Creating Service Principal

We required to create service principal so that the extension can install and update the certificate. They are PowerShell Azure Module around, since I do not have PowerShell on my machine, so I opt for using Azure CLI to configure my Azure. They are couple of ways to install it, I chosen the npm version.

1. Installing Azure CLI

Pretty straight forward, just do npm install -g azure-cli and we’re done.

2. Login to Azure

In terminal, do azure login, you will be given a link and a code, open the link in browser and key in the code, and it will login from the terminal.

3. Create AD application

Run the following in terminal azure ad app create -n {your new application name} --home-page {url for homepage, I put my home page url here} --identifier-uris {identifier uri} -p {long and strong password here}

After the command is finished, we’ll received status like this:

info:    Executing command ad app create

+ Creating application MyAppName

data:    AppId:                   11111111-1111-1111-1111-111111111111

data:    ObjectId:               11111111-2222-3333-4444-555555555555

data:    DisplayName:       MyAppName

data:    IdentifierUris:          0=http://www.myidentifier.com

data:    ReplyUrls:

data:    AvailableToOtherTenants: False

data:    HomePage:                http://www.stephensaw.me

info:    ad app create command OK

4. Create Service Principal

From previous command’s output, we can get the AppId, we’ll need it for this command. azure ad sp create -a {AppId from previous command}. After running this command we’ll receive another status something like this:

info:    Executing command ad sp create

+ Creating service principal for application 11111111-1111-1111-1111-111111111111

data:    Object Id:               22222222-2222-2222-2222-222222222222

data:    Display Name:            isawsomething

data:    Service Principal Names:

data:                             11111111-1111-1111-1111-111111111111

info:    ad sp create command OK

We need to note down the

5. Assign Contributor role to the Service Principal

With the ObjectId we get from previous command output, execute this azure role assignment create --objectId {object id given by previous command} -o Contributor -c /subscriptions/{azure subscription id}/.

Configure Azure Let’s Encrypt Extension

We’re almost there, now we only left the simple part. Go to the extension’s configuration page via opening in SCM site or clicking browse from the installed extension.

Browse Azure Let's Encrypt Extension's page

Azure Let’s Encrypt Extension Browse

We’ll see some configuration details and their explanation from the extension’s page.

Let's Encrypt Extension page details

Let’s Encrypt Extension Page Details

When we’re ready to configure, scroll to the bottom of the page and fill in the related.

Azure Let's Encrypt configuration page

Azure Let’s Encrypt Configuration

The Tenant is the *.onmicrosoft.com value. To get that, in Azure portal, click on the logged in user on top right corner, or mouse hover to review more information in a tooltip.

Azure user menu

Azure Tenant Menu

The ClientId is the AppId we get when we execute the azure ad app create command, while the ClientSecret is the password we key in when execute the azure ad app create.

Request for Certificate

After configured the extension, we finally get to last page before we can request certificate.

Azure Let's Encrypt custom domain list

Azure Let’s Encrypt Custom Domains

Clicking the Next button will bring us to the request certificate page.

Azure Let's Encrypt request certificate

Azure Let’s Encrypt Request Ceritifcate

Of course, we’ll need to have our custom domain for that. Clicking that last blue button Request and Install certificate and wait to reap the result of our hardwork.

SSL Configured

SSL Configured

We can see that our certificate been configured.

HTTPS lock on address bar

Sweet HTTPS Lock

 

Source: could not done it without reading this helpful tutorial.

 

How to Transfer Azure Subscription to Another Account

Recently I need to transfer Azure subscription from one of my account to another one. I was using Developer Program Benefit subscription for my blog for quite some times, until recently, I just realized that I have another subscription from another Microsoft Account, so I decided to transfer that subscription to my current account, having one subscription to maintain is easier.

But my problem is that my Visual Studio Enterprise subscription was with my other Microsoft account, and I don’t want to migrate my blog over to that account, so I decided to just transfer the subscription over.

While I can’t find the link to trigger the transfer, so I log a ticket with the support to ask about how to transfer Azure subscription. The support called me all over the U.S in 2 hours, and help me through the process. It was pretty straight forward, I just need to reply the email sent by the support to both of my email address, to approve the transfer, and it’s done within an hour.

After I got my Visual Studio Enterprise subscription transferred over, it is time for me to switch my resources in Azure to the new subscription, it is quite straight forward.

Read more…

 

SharePoint sp.taxonomy.js Term.getTerms not Working

A while back I worked on a small library with the SharePoint Online’s taxonomy, building the tree structure, and filtering the taxonomy data from SharePoint using JavaScript.

While most of the information can be found at SP.Taxonomy.js namespace in MSDN and many resources online. But I’m struggling with one particular method of Term, according to the MSDN, the function to search for a term under a term will be

SP.Taxonomy.Term.getTerms(termLabel, lcid, defaultLabelOnly, stringMatchOption, resultCollectionSize, trimUnavailable)

This is different than searching for a term under the term store or term set level, which need to use the SP.Taxonomy.LabelMatchInformation for the request. So the code for searching for term in a term will look something like this:

Read more…

 

Migrating WordPress to Azure – Part 1

From my previous post about moving away from HostGator, so I’ll have to move my WordPress as well. Thankfully Microsoft given away some free credits for Azure through Visual Studio Dev Essentials few months back, so I use the opportunity to migrate WordPress from HostGator over to Azure.

At first I thought it will be a troublesome process, as I might need to setup a VM, and install PHP, MySQL myself, but actually it’s very simple to setup WordPress on Azure.

Read more…

 

HostGator Storing Plain Text Password

I’ve been using HostGator for many years to host my blog, I’ve been wanting to migrate to DigitalOcean or other cloud hosting provider, but I haven’t found any motivation to do so previously, and I’ve found it last year (I’m cheap, I waited till it expiring so that I can move away), the main and only motivator is that HostGator keeping my password in plain text in support case.

Last year, I did upgrade my package so that I can support multiple domain, I’ve purchased extra domain so that I can host demo site for my clients, but I never really use it that much, so I raised a ticket to HostGator to request for downgrade my package, and before my ticket go through, I’ll need to key in my login and password for verification purpose.

Read more…

 

Frustration UX at Lego Ideas

UI and UX design wasn’t something that I’m good or decent at, and most of the time when developing some features, UX often come to my mind last, and usually ended up with following some most basic form of structuring the elements on the web page without giving much thought.

Recently I saw an amazing idea for Lego set posted in Lego Ideas page, so I decided to go and support the idea, so that it get make by Lego and I can get one for myself. So by default, when I saw something nice and I wanted to support it, I feel excited, and I immediately click the “Support” button.

Read more…