Making executable jar using maven

I was trying something out the other day and wanted to write a really simple application. So I created a simple application backed by Maven.

Now I could run the jar file that maven built using the standard -e flag that lets java know the entry point but all that is too main stream. I wanted maven to handle that for me.

After doing some googling, I found a plugin provided by codehaus. This one allowed me to run the application through maven. As you can see below, the configuration is quite simple.

Make sure you update the value inside mainClass with fully qualified name of your class that you want to run. This class must have a public static void main method in it.

Once you are happy with the configuration, you can run your application by executing the following in your terminal

While this is great, I cannot run the jar on its own on a server somewhere. If I wanted to, I’d have to get the source code with maven and then run it using the above command. Thats sub-optimal. So I went googling again.

Finally, I found this wonderful plugin provided by our friends at Apache. This is the maven-jar-plugin. This is a standard jar plugin but one of its features is ability to specify a mainClass attribute – just like the codehaus plugin. But unlike the codehaus plugin, I can run the jar as a standalone application without needing to pass in any other flags or parameters indicating the main class.

Here’s the maven build plugin configuration to use the maven-jar-plugin.

As it is standard with maven, package up your application using:

If the build was successful, just run your jar file using standard java -jar path/to/app.jar command. In my case, I ran:


AWS Pipeline Plugin for Jenkins 2.x

I found this really cool plugin last week so I thought I’d make a post out of it.

I heavily use the “AssumeRole” capability within my application. Previously, this is what I used:

As you can see, the code above is using shell commands to achieve the assume role awesomeness. This works well when your jenkins job has a shell command step but not when you have a groovy pipeline defined in your Jenkins.

I struggled with it initially – one of the ideas I had was to upload the assume script somewhere like S3 and then pull it down and run it when I wanted to run commands under the assume-role. However, this felt a bit cumbersome.

Next thing in my mind was to write a groovy plugin that can do this for me. However, rather than reinventing the wheel, I started looking for existing solutions. Finally, I found the aws-pipeline-plugin.

Its a neat little plugin that allows you to do a bunch of basic stuff that you might want to do on AWS. Assume role is one of them.

So now with the new plugin, my code reduced to:

Here, I’ve got a couple of variables but their names should be self-explanatory of their purpose. The general idea is that anything you write within that withAWS block will get executed under the role specified in role variable.

Minimal Express server setup for API development

Initialise npm with defaults.

Create your main index.js entrypoint.

Install express, body-parser, morgan and winston packages.

Make your index.js look like this.

This is probably one of the most light weight node.js configuration that I have ever written for building simple REST web services.

In my opinion, this is a good starting point as it makes minimal assumptions about what you might need, letting you add whatever you need minimally on top.

Appending to crontab using a single shell command

Usually to edit crontab for a user, you login as that user and then run:

This usually opens up a text editor which then lets you edit the crontab. Once you are done, you save and quit, and this magically updates your crontab.

Today I was writing a script that needed to update crontab without any user interaction. After doing some digging, I found this neat way of updating my crontab;

The above example is straight out of my shell script which renews my letsencrypt certificate and then restarts the nginx server.

Setting up an OAuth2 provider

In this post, we’re going to talk about installing and setting up your very own OAuth2 provider. If you have used Facebook or Twitter logins, you’d know that they have their own OAuth2 providers. In reality, those are more than just OAuth2 providers as they also have OpenID Connect on them, however, that will be a post for another day.

Why would I want an OAuth2 provider?

Well, there are many reasons why you’d want an OAuth2 provider.

  1. Because its cool.
  2. Because its hip.
  3. Because, why not?

On a more serious note, if you have a bunch of applications running in your house, you can use your own OAuth2 provider to provide identity and custom authorisations to every app in a way that if one of those apps gets compromised, it won’t take your whole house down. This lets you operate all of your apps in a standard way.

Also, who in your family doesn’t want “Sign in via <insert_family_name>” button? 😛

For this post, we’re going to use Forgerock’s OpenAM version 13.

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