What’s new in Java 7 SE

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So you’ve heard all the puns about the Java programming language and coffee. But do you really know Java? Did you know it was first developed by Sun Microsystems for handheld devices and interactive television in the early 90′s and it was called Oak? In 1995, the name was changed to Java to reflect its new use for internet applications. The name was chosen to due to the large amounts of coffee consumed by its creator, James Gosling. (Java is also a name of an island of Indonesia—a place I wouldn’t mind being about now since the Minnesota temperatures of late have been well below zero.)

Today Java is used by internet developers around the world. It is a “free and open source software” (FOSS), thus its popularity. Java shares many traits with the C/C++ programming languages, so if you are familiar with C/C++, you will understand the Java syntax. Java is still used to develop applications on mobile devices as well on the new smart televisions on the market today.

We recently released two courses for Java 7 SE covering what’s new in this latest version.

Java 7 SE: Enhancements and Concurrency
In this course you’ll get a whirlwind overview of the new packages and frameworks, features, JVM enhancements, and Java language updates that are part of Java SE 7. You’ll spend some time on those language enhancements, small changes that make a big difference in your code. You’ll also learn about the concurrency utilities provided by Java SE 7, including the brand new Fork Join framework, which supports parallel processing, by taking full advantage of the multiple processors on most modern systems. You’ll explore the new ThreadLocalRandom class, which generates random numbers in multi-threaded applications without the concurrency issues seen in Java SE 6. Then you will learn about the new Phaser synchronization mechanism which is used to ensure threads march in step together, from one phase of the application to the next.

Java 7 SE: IO, New IO and Network Protocols
The Java SE 7 platform gives you a brand new file based I/O architecture, NIO2. This new architecture solves most of the problems we saw in the original stream based I/O. In this course you’ll learn how the NIO2 Path class is used to represent the underlying file system syntax in a manner that is transparent to the application. Next you’ll see how the NIO2 Files class works with the Path class. You’ll take a look at the new NIO2 asynchronous channels which let you monitor and control the completion of your asynchronous events. NIO2 also gives you a new asynchronousChannelGroup to group these channels, and supply them with a pool of threads for resource sharing. You’ll take a look at the new WatchService file change notification API, which lets you register to be notified when files or directories change on the file system. After your tour of NIO2, you’ll move to the new networking features provided by Java SE 7. You’ll experiment with the URLClassLoader, which now implements the Closable I/F and its close() method. Then you’ll learn about the new protocols you can now access. One is the Stream Control Transmission Protocol, or SCTP, and another new protocol is Sockets Direct Protocol, or SDP.

These courses are presented by our newest instructor, Brigitte Birze. Brigitte is a seasoned software development professional with over 25 years of experience in Corporate IT and Engineering across many verticals. Brigitte has been involved in every phase of the software development lifecycle from the perspective of several roles: individual contributor, team lead, S/W architect, system engineer, proposal author, and project manager. Her innovative software architectures have resulted in six published papers and eight patents. Brigitte’s dynamic communication skills, paired with her depth and breadth of technical knowledge, give her the unique ability to make the complex understandable, and to convey technical concepts to cross-functional groups, speaking at the business or technical level.

I invite you to check out these new Java 7 SE courses, and watch for more courses and a webinar to be presented by Brigitte in the near future.

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

Java logo and wordmark” by Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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Leveraging Tools, Modules and JSON Within Python 3

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“There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded Mosquito.” This is a quote from the Mosquito Hunters skit on Monty Python’s Flying Circus television show. So what does this quote have to do with LearnNowOnline’s new Python courses? Well nothing…except for the fact the programming language Python was named after Monty Python’s Flying Circus. See my earlier blog post on this topic

For our latest Python 3 courses, we have enlisted the help of Python Head Jordan Hudgens. I don’t know that he is a Python Head for sure, but Jordan is the instructor for our Ruby courses, and now he is sharing his Python experience with us.

But before I get to our new titles, I want to recommend that if you are new to Python, you begin with our series of Python courses with Peter Thornsteinson:

Once you have taken this first set of courses, or if you have a basic level of Python knowledge or experience, our new series of courses is for you. It is just like a moth hunt, “Well, I follow the moth in the helicopter to lure it away from the flowers, and the Roy comes along in the Lockheed Starfighter and attacks it with air-to-air missiles.” Well, not really, but here is a brief description of the courses.

NEW – Python 3: Programming Tools
In this course you will learn about some of the most important tools a Python 3 developer can use for advanced implementations. You will be introduced to high level concepts of various classes and techniques, and close each section with a practical, code-driven example of how you can leverage these techniques in daily development. Specifically, this course will start with an introduction on iterators and generators, followed by regular expressions, introspection, lambda functions, metaclasses, decorators, and more. See course outline or watch the trailer:

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NEW – Python 3: Modules, JSON and Algorithms
In this course you will learn how to leverage popular libraries and modules in your applications. This is a vital tool for any Python developer, as modules can save you a significant amount of time by providing powerful functionality that isn’t natively built into Python 3. You will also learn how to integrate with third-party APIs to connect with other software in your own applications. You’ll learn about metaprogramming in Python, an extremely powerful technique that can give you the ability to modify a program’s structure at runtime. Then you’ll learn how Python interacts with XML and JSON objects, including an initial look at the structure of XML and JSON, how to generate XML and JSON objects, and how to parse XML and JSON feeds. You’ll also get a broader look at the implementation of complex algorithms. See course outline or watch the trailer:

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After completing these courses, you’ll be ready to program with Python…and “Wherever there is a challenge, Hank and Roy Spim will be there ready to carry on the primordial struggle between man and inoffensive, tiny insects.” Yes, another pointless quote but you get the idea.

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

 

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Tips for SharePoint Site Owners

So you’ve decided to take on the task of becoming a SharePoint site owner! Before you dig in and set up your SharePoint site, there are some critical responsibilities you should consider.

First, a SharePoint site is not a fire-and-forget web site. It requires your attention and ongoing tweaking to be the faithful companion you need it to be for your business. Without proper attention, a SharePoint site will become lonely as no one will want to visit or use it. It may feel neglected and become unruly. It may even act out, by performing data dumps, bringing down servers, or becoming infected.

To help you with your new role as the proud owner of a SharePoint site, LearnNowOnline has enlisted the help of SharePoint site whisperer Philip Wheat. Philip has collaborated with us in the past on our courses for SharePoint 2013 Application Model and SharePoint 2013 Administration. Now Philip has joined forces with us to create a couple of great courses designed for those of you who wish to take on the task of becoming a SharePoint site owner.

SharePoint 2013 Site Owner: Templates
This course will help you understand what being a SharePoint Site Owner is all about, and what tasks and capabilities you’ll need to master in order to make your SharePoint site a success. You will learn how to set a baseline for those SharePoint capabilities you are likely to be concerned about, and you’ll learn the base capabilities of the various SharePoint templates as they come right out the box. Watch the course trailer:

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SharePoint 2013 Site Owner: Managing Sites

In this course you’ll learn the basics and functionality of managing your SharePoint site and site collection. You will understand the various tasks and items you need to know in order to operate your site on a day-to-day basis and ensure the best user adoption. You will also learn about additional features that can really make your SharePoint site shine. You will learn about Office integration aspects and how you can use workflows to make your SharePoint site operate as an application platform without a complex development effort. By the end of the course, you will understand the items you’ll need to operate your site, important takeaways to remember when setting up your site, and tips for gaining adoption and usage of your site. Watch the course trailer:

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These SharePoint Site Owner courses are now available, visit www.LearnNowOnline.com for more information including course outlines. With the help of LearnNowOnline and Philip Wheat, our SharePoint site whisperer, your SharePoint 2013 site will be a faithful companion to your business and loved by all. Your site users will be amazed at how well behaved your site is and will want to visit it often.

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

 

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NoSQL and MongoDB

So when you see the term NoSQL, do you think “No SQL? Is this some type of anti-Standard Query Language protest?”

SQL is used to query large databases for information, and many of us think of SQL as either Microsoft SQL Server or MySQL. With the growth of data gathering it became clear that the typical relational database would not be able to handle the amount of data that was being collected. NoSQL was developed in 1998 by Carlo Strozzi. He coined the term “NoSQL” but felt that “NoREL” would have been a better name since NoSQL doesn’t use a SQL relational model.

So what does MongoDB have to do with NoSQL? MongoDB is a type of NoSQL database, specifically a document-oriented NoSQL database, which means its strength is in managing large amounts of consistent document types like pictures or blog postings. The term Mongo comes from the word “humongous,” referring to the large amount of data that this NoSQL implementation can hold. We are talking petabytes of information, each petabyte equaling 1024 terabytes. MongoDB is capable of supporting petabytes of data in datasets across multiple servers.

We have joined forces with expert Jordan Hudgens to develop three new courses designed to help you get started with NoSQL and MongoDB.

NoSQL: What is NoSQL (Now available)
You will be introduced to the concepts behind the NoSQL ecosystem, including what NoSQL is and isn’t. You will learn the advantages and disadvantages of using a NoSQL database, the benefits of leveraging a schema-less database in your applications, and how to set up the environment used to develop an application.

NoSQL/MongoDB: Implementation of AngularJS (Now available)
You will learn how to implement the basic AngularJS portions of an application. You will see some of the basic features that AngularJS offers before we get into routing, function, and service integration.

NoSQL/MongoDB: Buildout to Going Live (Coming 11/24/14)
You will learn how to build out more functionality within an application, including how to leverage Express for Node.js to your advantage. You will learn about server side coding and App.js customization and model setup. You will discover how to build out the remaining views and take the application live, and how to incorporate Bootstrap into your application to give it a more professional look and feel.

Visit LearnNowOnline to learn more about these courses, and explore how NoSQL and MongoDB can help you manage “humongous” amounts of data efficiently and effectively.

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

 

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Developing Applications Using Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails

In researching this blog about Ruby on Rails, I began with an internet search for the word “Ruby.” I figured I’d get results about the precious ruby gem stone…how the ruby is the birth stone for July, or the fact that for thousands of years the ruby gemstone was the most valuable gemstone above the diamond, or how people have been creating synthetic rubies since 1837.

Instead I was pleasantly surprised to see search results for Ruby and Ruby on Rails the top of the list. Clearly “Ruby” the programming language has become more precious to many of us than “ruby” the gemstone.

Yes, the Ruby language was named after the gemstone and was released in 1995 by Yukihiro Matsumoto. Ruby is an open source, object-oriented language with an easy to read and write syntax. Instead of mining the web looking for instruction on how to use this precious programming language, you can find five new courses right here at LearnNowOnline.

Helping you mine your way through building Ruby applications is our new instructor, Jordan Hudgens. Jordan is a Certified Ruby Developer and comes to us from the great state of Texas where he is working toward his doctorate in Computer Science. Jordan will show you how to create your Ruby applications in the cloud. Instead of having to pickaxe your way through the development process, Jordan will show you how to use the gems that make Ruby application development easy.

Our new courses include:

  • Ruby on Rails: Intro to Development (Now available)
    Get an overview of the tools that will be used for the Ruby courses, plus create a quick application.
  • Ruby on Rails: Best Practices (Now available)
    Learn how to use the Ruby development tools in the best possible way.
  • Ruby on Rails: Data, Design, and Deploy (Coming 10/27/14)
  • Ruby on Rails: Searching and Sorting (Coming 11/3/14)
  • Ruby on Rails: Administration and API (Coming 11/10/14)

Visit LearnNowOnline to learn more about these courses. Also, see Jordan in action as he introduces us to Ruby on Rails in his recent webinar – check out the replay now.

“Rails”, “Ruby on Rails”, and the Rails logo are registered trademarks of David Heinemeier Hansson. All rights reserved.

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

 

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What’s new in MVC 5.2

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Microsoft’s very successful model-view-controller architecture, or MVC, has been their flagship framework for developing next generation Web applications—and Microsoft continues to improve it with version 5.2 released just over two months ago. If you’re still hanging on to MVC 4, you’re missing out on many new and exciting features, and Microsoft has made the path to upgrade easier than ever.

So what’s so exciting about MVC 5? Let me start by hitting you with some of the big improvements with this latest release. If you want even more information or want to see some demonstrations of these new features, please check out our MVC 5.2 courses with expert Eric Greene.

One ASP.NET

In MVC 5, Microsoft introduced a new project type called One ASP.NET. This project type has the goal of saving the Web developer’s time by reducing the clutter of many single-focused Web templates constantly growing within Visual Studio. One ASP.NET creates a more “a la carte” model for creating applications so the developer can start with core functionality, and then add more and more components as various features and functionality are required. This allows developers to combine ASP.NET Web Forms, MVC, Web API and other project templates into a single project and not be restricted to use only one of them.

Bootstrap

From the brilliant minds of the Twitter software engineers came a CSS and JavaScript framework that has quickly become one of the most popular tools for front-end development. Bootstrap provides user interface tools and controls that allow developers to build rich Internet applications that auto-respond to changing screen sizes and devices. It takes away the drudgery of constantly tinkering with the CSS and JavaScript code necessary to get your site to perform professionally for all of your users.

Microsoft now includes Bootstrap templates in MVC 5 so you can take advantage of all its features right out of the box. In fact, Bootstrap is now the default HTML/CSS/JavaScript framework bundled with ASP.NET MVC. Bootstrap is managed by NuGet which means it can be automatically upgraded as the technology advances. You can discover more about Bootstrap by taking a look at our Bootstrap 3.1 courses with expert Adam Barney.

ASP.NET Identity

Before ASP.NET MVC 5, Microsoft had promoted its Membership Provider to handle security, authentication, and roles for your Web applications. But with the ASP.NET Identity, they completely rebuilt their security solution to include a whole new range of features. It still contains all the core functionality for authentication and authorization, but it also extends to support new forms like two-factor authentication (2FA) and integrated authentication. With 2FA, you can require multiple forms of authentication like the Google Authenticator or SMS text messaging. Integrated authentication allows you to work with many existing third-party providers like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. It allows your users to access your site using credentials from these and other providers, freeing you from the responsibility of managing credentials, and not forcing your users to memorize yet another password.

New Filters

Authorization filters have been around for quite a while in ASP.NET and have been a staple for most developers who need to set up security for their Web applications. Authentication filters, on the other hand, are new to MVC 5. These new filters allow for programming logic to occur before the authorization filter, giving developers the ability to better identify and control users entering their site. For example, developers can now assign a new authentication principal (think of it like a role) to a user logging in prior to the authorization filter, giving them better control at the individual Action/Controller level. Think of the authorization filter as providing a more global security model, one that covers the site as a whole, while the authentication filter provides a more specific security model that can be applied at more localized level.

Another new filter enhancement is filter overrides. Filter overrides allow you to define filters that apply to most of your application, either at the global level or at the controller level, but then have the option to actually override or turn off those filters at the action level or controller level.

Upgrading from MVC 4

Microsoft has made upgrading easy and painless for the developer. In a nutshell, most applications will simply need to update their NuGet packages, plus make a couple of web.config changes, and they will be off and running. The NuGet services manage all the individual components or packages that your Web application utilizes, like Razor and Bootstrap, and make sure that they are all on the latest releases relative your version of MVC. Keep in mind that in addition to moving to MVC 5, there are minor releases coming out as well. At the time of this writing, there have been 5.1 and 5.2 releases, but by the time you read this there may be 5.3 available and beyond. Regardless, migrations at this level are equally straightforward in their upgrade process.

Keep in mind that in many cases the migration forward is a one-way proposition. With each upgrade, your application is exposed to more and more features and functionality, which means you can’t go back once you start using it. But hey, why would you go back, right?

Finally, it’s not just ASP.NET MVC that is gaining new features—ASP.NET Web API, Razor, SignalR, Entity Framework, NuGet and many others are also improving. LearnNowOnline can help you keep up with the latest releases so you can be the best Web developer you can be. Check out our complete course list.

 

About the Author

Martin Schaeferle is the Vice President of Technology for LearnNowOnline. Martin joined the company in 1994 and started teaching IT professionals nationwide to develop applications using Visual Studio and Microsoft SQL Server. He has been a featured speaker at various conferences including Microsoft Tech-Ed, DevConnections and the Microsoft NCD Channel Summit. Today, he is responsible for all product and software development as well as managing the company’s IT infrastructure. Martin enjoys staying on the cutting edge of technology and guiding the company to produce the best learning content with the best user experience in the industry. In his spare time, Martin enjoys golf, fishing, and being with his wife and three teenage children.

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MVC 5 Attributes: Routing, Authentication, and Overrides

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In a daring move we held our last webinar on a Thursday instead of our usual Wednesday. Oh my, what is the world coming to? Next thing you know there will be “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!” OK, maybe not. Now back to the subject at hand, our latest webinar.

Eric Greene presented an one hour webinar on the topic of MVC 5 Attributes and began by covering the many facets of Attribute Routing through coding demonstrations. Eric walked us through the process to use Authentication filters and explained how to use them with Authorization filters. He finished up by demonstrating filter overrides using Authentication and Authorization.

If our Thursday webinar didn’t match up with your schedule, as always we have the replay available for you to watch at your convenience. View the streaming replay now. Just remember, never cross the streams. If you do, when you build that killer app and the data points to something big on the horizon, it could be a 600 pound Twinkie!

By the way, are you interested in learning Ruby on Rails? If so, don’t miss our next webinar with Jordan Hudgens where he will introduce us to development using this exciting framework. Sign up now

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

 

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Entity Framework’s Entity Data Model

EntityFrameworkDatadelwithDK

Don Kiely recently presented an interesting webinar on the Entity Framework Data Model—complete with his sled dogs in the background supporting him all the way.

Broadcasting from his home in Alaska, Don kicked off the webinar by explaining why Entity Framework’s Entity Data Model is the key link between the entity data objects in your application and the backend data store where data resides. Don went on to describe how the Entity Framework uses the model to generate .NET entity classes and APIs that provide powerful data access features to an application. Don then reached down into the guts of the XML that makes up the three Entity Data Models—conceptual, storage, and mapping—to give us a good understanding of how Entity Framework implements many of its features. Don’s dogs chimed in from time to time, unable to wait for the Q&A to show their enthusiasm for the topic.

If you missed Don (and his dogs), catch the webinar replay here. Also, take a moment to register now for our next event titled “What’s new in iOS8 and Xamarin” presented by Wally McClure.

 

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

 

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Going “Greene” with MVC 5.2

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We’re going “Greene” in our latest course releases— but don’t worry about recycling code in the big green dumpster at the end of your driveway. By “Greene” I mean Eric Greene, our newest instructor.

Eric is an independent IT professional who loves learning new things, sharing what he learns, and helping clients to solve business problems. He holds numerous software certifications and has experience programming mobile, web-based, and desktop applications using a variety of commercial and open-source platforms. Now Eric has joined forces with LearnNowOnline to produce two new courses to help you understand what’s new in MVC 5.2.

MVC or Model View Controller is an architectural pattern used for interface design. Each part of MVC has a different function. The Model controls the functioning aspects of the user interface. The View is the information from the Model—for example data-related graphics or other types of Views. The Controller is input information from the user that is relayed to the Model and does affect the View.

MVC  5 allows you to build web applications more efficiently.  See what’s new in MVC 5.2 with these new courses featuring Eric Greene:

MVC 5.2: OneASP.NET, Upgrading and Bootstrap
In this course, you’ll see that One ASP.NET makes new ASP.NET MVC project creation easier and more efficient… thus cutting down on wasted time. You’ll learn how to upgrade MVC  4 applications to MVC  5, again recycling old code instead of writing all new stuff. Then you’ll see how to use Bootstrap, a collection of tools for creating web applications that makes design easier and faster.

MVC 5.2: Views, Attributes, Identity and Filters
In this course, you will learn about the new enhancements to MVC Views such as Enum Helpers and unobtrusive Ajax for the MaxLength and MinLength attributes.  Another cool new feature bundled with MVC  5 is Attribute Routing.  With several new attributes, you can easily configure routes directly on the controller and its actions. These new enhancements make coding faster and easier.  You will learn what ASP.NET Identity is and review the default ASP.NET Identity code created by Visual Studio in new MVC  5 projects.  Finally, you will see Authentication Filters and Filter Overrides in action.

Check out these new courses to see why MVC  5 makes building web applications faster and easier than ever. You’ll be going “Greene” in no time as you learn how to do more with less.

 

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

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Avoiding hacker tricks

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So in a perfect world, your computers, servers, and web pages could not be hacked. In a perfect world, users would not be allowed access to data or your servers. In a perfect world, computers would be stand-alone machines. In a perfect world, I would have a flying car and sharks with laser beams in a moat around my castle. We all know there is no such thing as a perfect world…and the flying car has little over a year to appear, at least according to the “Back to the Future” movies.

Because we don’t live in a perfect world, we need to have computer security. Computer security is said to be a reactionary endeavor. The IT security people are always reacting to a new threat. With that being said, there are ways to be proactive. In our most recent live webinar, expert Mike Benkovich covered ways that you can prevent some of the most common attacks.

Mike explored a secure development approach and showed some of the top exploits that you need to know about. He demonstrated how you can use .NET features to stop exploits before they happen, and he showed injection attacks, cross-site scripting, and security misconfiguration. We looked at the hacker’s psyche and showed how they think and work, and learned what we can do to build more secure software. With all the stories of data breaches in the last year or so, it is even more important to be sure you are on top of security from initial development of any project.

In a perfect world, you would have been able to attend this webinar. In perfect world, there would be a recording of this webinar available to you. Well, the world is not perfect, but in this case we do have the replay of the webinar for your viewing pleasure. The world may be perfect once flying cars appear.

 

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

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