How to reverse engineer 3rd party mobile API calls with Postman

Introduction

Long story short… I have a heat pump that I can control via an app. At the end of the day, there is no official documentation on how I can directly (without the app) communicate to my heat pump. So I embarked on a journey to reverse engineer the API connectivity and see how I could tweak this. For those curious, my end goal I have in mind is to align the heat pump to the production of my solar installation. Or just call me a technical nutcase, that also works. 😉

 

Setup

For today’s post, I will show you how you can combine the native proxy function of your iOS device to route to Postman. Where you can then start tracing the API calls made by a native mobile application. Makes sense so far? Cool! Let’s get to it!

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Moving an existing CosmosDB database/collection to CosmosDB Serverless when using MongoDB

Introduction

If we go several years back, I already leveraged the instant scaling of CosmosDB… Recently a new plan has been introduced to cover this behavior, being the Consumption Based / Serverless option! For a new project I immediately started using this one, and I am very happy about it. Where I came to a point where I said to myself, let us migrate the other databases (where fit) to this option too. For today’s post, I will go into the differences I noticed… and hopefully save you some time looking up things. 😉 Though be aware that I have been leveraging the MongoDB API/endpoint.

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See what your users are experiencing with Clarity!

Introduction

A while back Mike was telling me he discovered “Clarity” existed and that I should REALLY take a look at it. I remember in initially was a it sceptic also thinking about where the potential overlap was with “Application Insights“.

As I have been working on a new project, I decided to take it for a test spin, and I must say I am impressed! Clarity is a simple and free service that allows you to see what your users are seeing. Plain “simple”… nothing more, nothing less. It will provide you insights on the usage, heatmaps of your web app and session recordings of users going through your web app. Which will help like a lot when you want to refine your user experience!

Quick skim through the service

Once signed up you are prompted to create a new project ;

Continue reading “See what your users are experiencing with Clarity!”

Identity based security for LogicApp to LogicApp communication

Introduction

For today’s post we’ll go through a simple (yet powerful!) example that shows you how to securely communicate between two LogicApps. For this we will leverage the concept of managed system identity on the sender and access token validation on the receiver.

Conceptual

To get a bit of an idea of the flow, let us take a look at the drawing below…

The sender (LogicApp on the top left) is foreseen of a Managed System Identity in AAD. It will leverage this capability to get an access token from AAD. In addition, we will include a specific audience in the scope. This refers to an application object inside of the AAD tenant.
This token will then be included in the authorization header (as a JWT token) towards the receiver (LogicApp on the top right). The receiver will validate the JWT token by checking the public keys of the issues (AAD). Next up, it will check if the Issuer and Audience provided match the defined policy. If all is okay, then it will accept the request.

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Azure Serverless Compute Options

Introduction
A bit less than a year ago I blogged my opinion on “Cloud Native”, where the objective of today is to provide a bit more nuance to this previous post. Let us categorize it as “progressive insights”, due to having these type of discussions on a virtually daily basis. Therefore I wanted to share this with a broader audience, as I expect this is valuable to all. Where I will also try to make it a bit more tangible to link it to “Serverless” options in Azure.

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Logic Apps ; When do I go for a consumption or a fixed pricing model?

Introduction

Today’s post is about the Logic Apps billing model. As you might know, the Integrated Service Environment has been generally available since May 2019. Since then, there is a consumption plan and a fixed price approach for Logic Apps. Lately I have noticed that this still remains confusing… Let us try to demystify this one then? 😉

 

Bibliography

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How to estimate the costs of your Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster?

Introduction

Aside from the variety of technical questions, a very common discussion around Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is … “What will it cost me?”. In today’s post we’ll dissect how the pricing dynamics work and how you can optimize the cost for your cluster(s). Where this might not be rocket science, I do have noticed some organizations struggling with this. So with this I hope to help those out… 😉

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Cloud Native in the Enterprise ; What about outsourcing?

Introduction

At the beginning of the month Geert posted the following question on Twitter ;

Where the “depends” was a common word to be found in this thread. 😉 So let us delve into this today, shall we?

Continue reading “Cloud Native in the Enterprise ; What about outsourcing?”

Advanced meeting scheduling ; Let us compare various tools

Introduction

Scheduling meetings is not always easy… Trying to find agenda darts with multiple participants can be a process where a lot of mails are being sent from/to all directions. Over the course of time, I have tried out several tools to help me on this front ;

In today’s post, we’ll take a look at the various options and give you a bit of an insight into the workings of each.

Continue reading “Advanced meeting scheduling ; Let us compare various tools”

Microsoft Whiteboard anyone? Some additions…

Introduction

About half a year ago I made a post on some practical tips & tricks with “Microsoft Whiteboard“. In today’s post I’ll highlight some additional things that were not mentioned in that post.

 

More Microsoft Whiteboard anyone? 😉

In the last post we invited Satya to our whiteboard…

Which you can do by writing the name with your pen ;

Though I forgot to mention that you can also flip it to a keyboard… By pressing the keyboard sign.

And then you can type Satya’s name. 😉

 

Images!

Do know you can also import images into your whiteboard. Search for the image icon. If you do not see it in the bar, click on the “+” (plus) sign, where you can see it in the dropout menu.

 

Once you clicked on it, you can either do a bing search (similar flow to inviting someone), take a picture with your camera or search for a photo on your device.

So I went for my local device, and selected a screencap I made of a presentation ;

Now it appears in your whiteboard and you can tweak it a bit…

And there we have it… Inside of our whiteboard.

And now we can start drawing on it!

You might wonder in what use cases I use this? On a regular basis we do whiteboard design sessions. Here we ask organizations to provide some context from which we can start. Typically I take this information (in the form of a screencap, with consent given) and insert it into the whiteboard drawing. Where we can then start designing from… Which makes it a lot more tangible for the participants.

 

Bonus TIP ; Surface Book Drawing!

Did you know you can undock your screen and put it on backwards? Afterwards you can fold the book with the screen facing “outside” (or “up”). Below is a picture of my daughter showcasing how this can be done!

That being said… This is a very handy approach when doing these kind of whiteboard sessions. As otherwise your screen will “wiggle” way too much and give you an unsteady hand.

 

Closing Thoughts

I am an avid user of Microsoft Whiteboard! It is an awesome (and free!) tool that helps you virtually collaborate on whiteboarding. If you haven’t tried it out yet, try it out! 😉