Sunday, August 25, 2019

Switching Back to Windows 7 Style Outlook Email Alerts in Windows 10

In Windows 10, the Outlook 2016 desktop application sends email alerts to the Windows Notification Center. I don't like how big this email alert is and, more importantly, it's not possible to delete the email by clicking on the alert, which I could do in Windows 7. Instead, I have to go into Outlook and delete the email there.

The good news is that it is quite easy to switch back to the old-style email alert, which is smaller and has a delete button, as follows:

  1. Right-click the Outlook shortcut icon and choose "Troubleshoot Compatibility"
  2. In the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter dialog, select "Troubleshoot program"
  3. Select "The program worked in earlier versions of Windows but won't install or run now"
  4. Select "Windows 7"
  5. Press "Test the program..." which will launch Outlook. Send yourself an email to confirm that the email alert is now back to Windows 7 style
  6. Select "Yes, save these settings for this program"

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Stack Overflow - 200k rep reached!

I've been a bit quiet on Stack Overflow lately because work has been keeping me very busy, but I have now managed to reach 200,000 reputation!

For me, Stack Overflow has not simply been a quest for reputation, but more about learning and helping fellow programmers in need.

Right, time to celebrate!

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Java 12: Switch Expressions

In Java 12, the switch statement has been enhanced so that it can be used as an expression. It is now also possible to switch on multiple constants in a single case, resulting in code that is more concise and readable. These enhancements are a preview language feature, which means that they must be explicitly enabled in the Java compiler and runtime using the --enable-preview flag.

Consider the following switch statement:

int result = -1;
switch (input) {
  case 0:
  case 1:
    result = 1;
  case 2:
    result = 4;
  case 3:
    System.out.println("Calculating: " + input);
    result = compute(input);
    System.out.println("Result: " + result);
    throw new IllegalArgumentException("Invalid input " + input);

In Java 12, this can be rewritten using a switch expression as follows:

final int result = switch (input) {
  case 0, 1 -> 1;
  case 2 -> 4;
  case 3 -> {
    System.out.println("Calculating: " + input);
    final int output = compute(input);
    System.out.println("Result: " + output);
    break output;
  default -> throw new IllegalArgumentException("Invalid input " + input);

As illustrated above:

  • The switch is being used in an expression to assign a value to the result integer
  • There are multiple labels separated with a comma in a single case
  • There is no fall-through with the new case X -> syntax. Only the expression or statement to the right of the arrow is executed
  • The break statement takes an argument which becomes the value returned by the switch expression (similar to a return)

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Using Java 12 in Eclipse

1. Install JDK 12


2. Install Eclipse 4.11


3. Install Eclipse Java 12 Support

Start Eclipse and go to Help > Install New Software. Add Update Site: Install Eclipse Java 12 support for 2019-03 development stream from the list of available software

4. Add Java 12 JRE to Eclipse

Go to Window > Preferences, navigate to Java > Installed JREs and add the Java 12 JRE (that you installed in Step 1). Tick the box to make it the default JRE

5. Upgrade Compiler Compliance Level

In your preferences, go to Java > Compiler and select "12" as the "Compiler compliance level". In addition, tick "Enable preview features".

That's it! Now you can try out Switch Expressions!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Load Testing Web Apps Using Apache JMeter

Apache JMeter is an excellent tool for simulating user load on a web application in order to test performance. You can easily build a test plan by specifying the number of users and the interval between requests, and JMeter will then spawn a thread per user and hit your webapp. At the end of the test, you will get a performance summary report showing the min, max and average response times.

Here is a quick walkthrough of using JMeter:

  • Download JMeter from here
  • Run the jmeter.bat (for Windows) or jmeter (for Unix) file to start the JMeter GUI
  • Add a "Thread Group" to the Test Plan and configure the number of users, ramp-up period and duration of the test
  • Add a "HTTP Request" to the Thread Group and set the server URL and any request parameters
  • Add a "Constant Timer" (or any other Timer) to the HTTP Request and specify the time interval between requests
  • Add a "Summary Report" to the Thread Group
  • Add a "View Results in Table" to the Thread Group
  • Run the test and view the Summary Report

There are a number of other components that can be added to the test plan as well. For example, you can add a "HTTP Header Manager" to the Thread Group if you want to add any fields to the request's header. The "Response Assertion" component is useful for checking if you have received the desired response from the server.

Once you are happy with your test plan, you can save it to a file and then run it on the command line whenever you need to load test your application or as part of your continuous build process.