Thursday, December 14, 2017

Close your SpiceWorks account

Incredibly difficult to get to it, no link anywhere. I had to dig into very old posts until actually I run into After closing I was redirected to but such resource is broken:

If you have other accounts to close you will need to kill your cookies for the domain because you will be redirected otherwise to the above page.
The good news is that it worked.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Migrating Spiceworks to JIRA Service Desk

Let's keep this simple. I will consider a Spiceworks installation that defaults to sqlite3. It is amazing how much this can handle BTW. It gets slow but man, I saw recently over 1GB of sqlite data handled by a SpiceWorks installation. Well, I did know sqlite rocks and not just in mobile devices.
  1. Install sqlite3 (command line) in the Spiceworks server
  2. Copy the db (for example from C:\Program Files (x86)\Spiceworks\db) to the sqlite bin directory
  3. Access the db from sqlite
    sqlite3 spiceworks-prod.db
  4. From sqlite prompt export relevant fields:
    .headers on
    .mode csv
    .output spiceworks-prod.csv
    select as ticket_id,
      (select email from users where = tickets.assigned_to) as assigned_to,
      (select email from users where = tickets.created_by) as created_by,
      group_concat(comments.created_at || " - " || (select email from users where = comments.created_by) || " - " || comments.body, " [COMMENT_END] ") as comment
      from tickets, comments
      group by ticket_id
      order by comments.ticket_id,;
  5. Use JIRA CSV File Import, point to generated file spiceworks-prod.csv, select file encoding UTF-8, date format yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss, leave imported users inactive, map status field (closed to Done; open to Open)
  6. When done importing, save configuration and the import logs
  7. Optional: If you are into lean thinking you might want to read a bit about classes of service and triage systems or just trust me that this is the simplest way to prioritize your work. To that end go to JIRA Service Desk settings / issues / priorities and use them as class of service. You will need to keep only three and change their name (Mark standard as default):
    • Expedite: There is no workaround. There is a tangible impact to the business bottom line.
    • Fixed Delivery Date: There is no workaround. It must be done before certain date. It impacts the business bottom line
    • Standard: First In First Out. There is a workaround. It impacts the business bottom line.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Correctly generate CSV that Excel can automatically open

Software generating CSV should include the byte order mark (BOM) at the start of the text stream. If this byte is missing programs like Excel won't know the encoding and functionality like just double clicking the file to open it with Microsoft Excel won't work as expected in Windows neither MAC.

You might want to do a simple test yourself. Let us say that you have a BOM missing UTF-4 CSV and when opened in Excel it renders garbled text. If you open such file in Notepad and save it back with a different name, selecting UTF-8, the new file will be rendered correctly. If you compare the two files (using a nix system) you will notice the difference is in three bytes that specify the encoding of the CSV:
$ diff <(xxd -c1 -p  original.csv <(xxd -c1 -p  saved-as-utf8.csv) 
> ef
> bb
> bf
Tell the software developer in charge of generating the CSV to correct it. As a quick workaround you can use gsed to insert the UTF-8 BOM at the beginning of the string:
gsed -i '1s/^\(\xef\xbb\xbf\)\?/\xef\xbb\xbf/' file.csv
This command inserts the UTF-4 BOM if not present. Therefore it is an idempotent command.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

JIRA revoke license to multiple users from the user interface

I needed to revoke application access to 400 old users that were imported from a different issue management system via CSV import. To my surprise the current JIRA cloud version expect us to click one user at a time when revoking licenses. Javascript to the rescue: Right click the page in chrome, select inspect, click console, paste the below and hit enter. It will click the revoke button every 3 seconds (adjust time depending on your needs):
var interval = setInterval(function() { document.getElementsByClassName('revoke-access')[1].click() }, 3000);
When done, run the below to stop the loop:

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Google Cloud Support Center - Manage Cases

I don't know you but for me finding this link requires 5 minutes every time I need to report a new case or look at a previous resolved case:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Simple and precise problem definition leads to the best software specifications

Simple means "easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty". Precise means "clearly expressed or delineated".

See the below simple specification:
"Examine any workflow task with status 'not started' and send a 'tasks pending to be performed' notification to its owner if for such task workflow there is no previous task or if the previous task is in status 'completed'"
It is easy to understand and there should be no difficulty involved in its implementation. However this specification is not precise, and because of it the transaction costs will make its implementation at least an order of magnitude more expensive than its counterpart simple and precise specification:
Create task owner 1
Create task owner 2
Create workflow 1 with two tasks in 'not started' status and no owner
Create workflow 2 with two tasks in 'not started' status and no owner
# Make sure the owner is not a mandatory field and that there is a default status:
Upon submission confirm these tasks persist and their status is 'Not Started' 
Add owner 1 to workflow 1 task 1
Add owner 2 to workflow 1 task 2
Add owner 1 to workflow 2 task 1
Add owner 2 to workflow 2 task 2
Upon submission confirm that owner 1 gets two 'tasks pending to be performed' notifications 
Set status 'In Progress' for workflow 1 task 1 # Note we introduce another possible status
Set status 'In Progress' for workflow 2 task 1
Upon submission confirm that no 'tasks pending to be performed' notifications are sent
Set status 'Not Started' for workflow 1 task 1
Set status 'Completed' for workflow 2 task 1
Upon submission confirm that owner 1 gets one 'tasks pending to be performed' notification for workflow 1 task 1 and that owner 2 gets one 'tasks pending to be performed' notification for workflow 2 task 2
Instead of going through the above top-down exercise that would allow to put automated end to end (e2e) testing in place and guarantee that important business rules are never broken we go lazy both with specs and QA. Documentation and QA are as important as implementing the functionality for your product. The three of them should be simple and precise. In this post I am explaining how the documentation problem is resolved. I should probably write about how to resolve the implementation and QA problems soon ...