code prettify

Monday, 22 August 2016

Apertium: Free open source language translator

Came across a very cool "free" and "open source" tool to translate text from one language to another.

It's "Apertium" => "A free/open-source machine translation platform".

Excerpt from the site:
Apertium is a free/open-source machine translation platform, initially aimed at related-language pairs but expanded to deal with more divergent language pairs (such as English-Catalan). The platform provides a language-independent machine translation engine tools to manage the linguistic data necessary to build a machine translation system for a given language pair and linguistic data for a growing number of language pairs.
You can try the UI at to translate sample text from one language to another.

Wiki and documentation related to it can be found at

It also has a variety of tools for users / translators and developers:

Apertium tools for users / translators

Apertium tools for developers

The installation steps are very easy. Just follow the one suitable for your OS at:

Here is a video explaining the download, install process and command line usage of it for Ubuntu:

Below are the steps to install and use in a fresh new Ubuntu system:

1. Download stable-release sh script and run it to add Apertium package key to Ubuntu and to update the packages list.

$ wget -O - | sudo bash

2. To install all the core Apertium tools run:

$ sudo apt-get install apertium-all-dev

3. Download a language pair for your conversion use. You can search for your language pair here at For this example case, we will be downloading spanish-english language pair for conversion:

"apertium-en-es"  => English <-> Spanish

$ sudo apt-get install apertium-en-es

4. Now finally time to test it:

The command syntax is apertium <language-of-given-text>-<language-to-be-translated>

In our case, we will be translating from Spanish to English:

$ echo 'gracias' | apertium es-en

o/p: thank you

Now we will try to convert this spanish sentence "Tengo Un Mes Estudiando Español" which in english means "I've been learning Spanish for 1 month".

$ echo 'Tengo Un Mes Estudiando Español' | apertium es-en

o/p: Have A Month Studying Spanish

Same translation from google translate results in:

I have a month studying Spanish

Seems like Apertium translation result is quite similar to google translate result. This is great, coming from a free and open source tool. Hope you find use for it in your applications :)

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Google dev tools Security and Audits tab

Two great tools provided by Google developer tools browser console are:

- The Security tab:

Security validation

Security inspection result for a site using https

It provides below checks for your website:

1. Valid certificate
Whether the connection to this site is using a valid, trusted server certificate.

2. Secure TLS connection
Whether the connection to this site is using a strong protocol version and cipher suite.

3. Secure Resources
Checks if all resources like js, css and others are fetched through https.

Security inspection result for a site using http and fetching sub-resources through http

- The Audits tab:

The Audit tab

It provides a great tool to check and provide useful suggestions for network utilization like using gzip compression, combine js files, minify css and js files and web page performance like remove unused css styles for your web site which can be considered in your application context and used accordingly. You can see in detail the changes suggested for each category by clicking on the leftmost arrow against each category.

Below is result audit output from some public sites:

Audit result-1

Audit result-2

Audit result-3
These two tools will definitely help us monitor the security and improve network and web performance of our sites.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

MySQL auto update date_created and date_updated columns

It's usually a good practice to have two columns called date_created and date_updated in every table. One can always use it in application and it helps in debugging too as to when a record was created and last updated in various circumstances and contexts.

This responsibility can be given to MySQL to automatically assign current time values to these columns.

In MySQL 5.6 onwards, this can be done by setting the data type of the columns to be either date time or timestamp and creating date_created column with NOT NULL DEFAULT CURRENT_TIMESTAMP  schema and date_updated column with NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00' as schema with attribute ON UPDATE CURRENT_TIMESTAMP.

Below is a sample schema of a table containing date_created and date_updated columns:

CREATE TABLE `time_stamp` (
  `id` int(10) unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  `date_created` timestamp NOT NULL DEFAULT CURRENT_TIMESTAMP,
  `date_updated` timestamp NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00' ON UPDATE CURRENT_TIMESTAMP,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`)

But there is a catch here, since this is not applicable to all MySQL versions. Earlier to 5.6 version, MySQL allows a table to have only one TIMESTAMP column with an automatic TIMESTAMP value, that is you can either have date_created or date_updated auto updated to CURRENT_TIMESTAMP not both.

Related to this the MySQL documentation has some very good info at this page:

Excerpt: "By default, TIMESTAMP columns are NOT NULL, cannot contain NULL values, and assigning NULL assigns the current timestamp."

So the workaround this is to have date_created column with timestamp NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00' schema  and date_updated column with timestamp NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00' ON UPDATE CURRENT_TIMESTAMP schema.

With above, the date_updated field is correctly updated by MySQL automatically when there is an update and to update date_created field with current timestamp value, we have to explicitly pass NULL value to date_created field which will then store the CURRENT_TIMESTAMP value in the field.

Below is a sample schema for above changes:

CREATE TABLE `time_stamp` (
 `id` int(10) unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
 `date_created` timestamp NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00',
 `date_updated` timestamp NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00' ON UPDATE CURRENT_TIMESTAMP,

So for a structure as above the insert query would be as below:

INSERT INTO `test`.`time_stamp`
(`id`, `date_created`) 

For update the query would be:

    `id` = '4' 
    `time_stamp`.`id` = 1;

Above will just update the date_updated with the CURRENT_TIMESTAMP and the date_created value will remain same as earlier. Caution needs to be taken while updating records so as not update date_created field with NULL value.

One could also say that instead of MySQL automatically updating the date_updated field, I would like the date_created field to be updated automatically by it. Yes, it is just a reverse case and can be used, in which case while updating the record one has to pass NULL value to date_updated field. But the thing is that since there will be many updates and only a one time insert so passing a NULL while a one time insert reduces the overhead on us of passing a NULL for every subsequent update and let MySQL handle it for us. But yes this is debatable and there are cases where this reverse structure can be used.

Another workaround this is to have date_created field updated with current timestamp value using  a trigger when a record is inserted.

Hope this helps :)

Monday, 2 May 2016

PHP best practices going ahead

I have been considering a few things that one needs follow, do and have in their projects and applications and I came up with the below list:

1. Object Oriented Techniques and practices
2. Use of Interface Concept
3. TDD (Test Driven Development) based development both on the server and client side
4. Source code management tool like GIT
5. Language specific package management tool for managing dependencies. For example: Composer for PHP
6. Continuous Integration tool
7. Automated testing

There are many more, I might be missing. Please let me know in comments. :)

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Developing a To-Do application using TDD approach using QUnit as the testing framework

I recently tried my hands at TDD to develop a basic ToDo app using QUnit as the testing framework.

Here is the link to the application demo.

I have written both unit and integration / functional tests while developing this app. The source code can be checked here.

To run and see the results of tests, refer below links:

Unit test results
Integration / Functional test results

Hope this helps in learning :)

Monday, 11 April 2016

Video Tutorial on Network Throttling tool provided by Google Chrome Developer tools

Network Throttling tool provided by Google Chrome Developer tools

In this video we will be seeing how this tool helps us to test your application at different network speeds, thus giving us info and insight as to how users having different speeds of internet use our application and the challenges they face and how the performance can be improved and how the application can be made more usable in such cases.