Introduction to Bazel

Bazel is a build system (analogous to make, ant, etc.) that promises better dependency analysis, faster builds and better reproducibility. One of the goals of Bazel is to make it easy to be extended to support multiple languages; Currently extensions exist for most of the popular programming languages.

Bazel is a fork of Blaze, Google’s internal build system, so it has been battle tested on very large codebases.


For up-to-date instructions, visit the official Bazel documentation

To install in Ubuntu based systems, we need to first register the software source:

sudo apt install curl gnupg
curl -fsSL | gpg --dearmor > bazel.gpg
sudo mv bazel.gpg /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/
echo "deb [arch=amd64] stable jdk1.8" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/bazel.list

And then install it:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install bazel
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Introduction to HTML Canvas

Canvas is an HTML element that can be used to draw graphics in the browser. The HTML element renders a rectangular area where we can draw using JavaScript. Adding a canvas to a page is as easy as:


Drawing context

To draw on a canvas, we need to get a reference to the canvas’ drawing context. Here is an example of drawing a rectangle:

const canvas = document.getElementById('canvas');
const context = canvas.getContext('2d');
context.fillRect(0, 0, 50, 50);
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React refs

React was designed with the mentality that parent components interact with their children by sending them props. This works in most scenarios, but not all.

Changing a prop in a child component will make it render in a different way, but it doesn’t allow us to tell the component to do something (trigger an event in a component). If we want to trigger an event in a component, we need to get a reference to it. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to do this.


The React documentation warns against the use of refs and suggests the use of props instead:

For example, instead of exposing open() and close() methods on a Dialog component, pass an isOpen prop to it.

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Google sign-in with Golang

In this article we are going to explore how to implement Google sign-in on a Golang server.

Google sign-in

When we talk about implementing Google Sign-in, we are referring to using the OpenID Connect protocol to verify a user is who they say they are.

I’m not going to go into the depths of the protocol, but in broad terms, these are the steps we care about:

  • Client gets a JWT (usually with the help of a library provided by google)
  • Client sends this JWT to our server
  • Our server validates the JWT

In this post we are going to focus on the validation of the JWT.

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Introduction to Next JS - React framework

In a recent article I gave an introduction to React. That article shows the first steps of building React components, but leaves us very far from building a useful web application. In this article we will learn how to create a real world application using Next JS.

Next JS

Next JS sells itself as the “React framework for production”. They promise smooth user experience combined with a rich set of features to build fast apps.

Environment set-up

To start an application from scratch we can use their generator:

npx create-next-app

We will be prompted for a name. I’ll use example for my app.

When the command finishes, we can start our app in development mode:

npm run dev

What we get out of the box:

  • Compilation and bundling (Babel and webpack)
  • Auto-refresh on changes
  • Static Site Generation (SSG) and Server Side Rendering (SSR)
  • Server of static files (Files under /public/)
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Introduction to React JS

React is without a doubt the most popular web component framework today. With the power of facebook backing it up, it has a lot of support and documentation behind it.

React by itself is not great for building web applications, but can be used with other tools or frameworks to build pretty much anything.

Environment set-up

Before we can start writing React components we need a web page where we want to use them. We’ll create a new folder for our project:

mkdir react
touch index.html
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Introduction to Google Cloud Run

I’m exploring the different free tier offerings by Google Cloud trying to find ways to save some money and learn something new at the same time.

Currently I’m using an F1-micro instance (also free tier) to run an application inside a container. This works pretty well, except for:

  • Google keeps telling me that the instance is overutilized
  • I manually renew my SSL certificate every time it expires
  • To update the container code I need to SSH to the instance, fetch the latest image and run it

I could probably do something to automate some of these points, but I’m hoping I can get all problems solved and stay in the free tier by moving to Cloud Run.

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Using Google Analytics on Progressive Web Apps

In this post we are going to learn how we can use Google Analytics to find out how a web application is being used.

This method applies to any single page application even if they are not PWAs (Progressive Web Apps).

Tracking traditional web sites

Adding google analytics to a traditional website is very easy. Google provides a script we can add to each page. Every time a page is load, the script will be run and the visit will be recorded. The script looks something like this:

<!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics -->
<script async src=""></script>
  window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
  function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
  gtag('js', new Date());

  gtag('config', 'G-XXXXXXXXX');
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