Enable Junit 5 Test Cases Based on Java System Properties

2020 Aug 26

JUnit 5 supports disabling test cases via the @Disabled annotation. Sometimes, you may want some cases to be conditionally disabled or enabled. JUnit 5 provides many annotations to support conditional test execution, like @EnabledOnOs(MAC), @DisabledOnJre(JAVA_8) and @EnabledIfEnvironmentVariable.

Let’s say, a test case only runs when a Java system property is set to a certain value. To do it, add @EnabledIfSystemProperty onto the test case.

@EnabledIfSystemProperty(named = "foo.enabled", matches = "on")
void fooTest() {

The fooTest runs only when the foo.enabled system property is set to on. To run this test case via Gradle, type the command below.

./gradlew test --tests '*.fooTest' -i -Dfoo.enabled=on

To make the JVM running the test case know the Java system property passed to the JVM running Gradle, add below lines in the build.gradle file.

test {
    systemProperty "foo.enabled", System.getProperty("foo.enabled")

How to Add Disqus to a Rails Application

2020 Jul 28

Copy the “universal code” of your Disqus account from your account’s admin page, https://<your-account>.disqus.com/admin/install/platforms/universalcode/. The universal code is like below.

<div id="disqus_thread"></div>

*  LEARN WHY DEFINING THESE VARIABLES IS IMPORTANT: https://disqus.com/admin/universalcode/#configuration-variables*/
var disqus_config = function () {
this.page.url = PAGE_URL;  // Replace PAGE_URL with your page's canonical URL variable
this.page.identifier = PAGE_IDENTIFIER; // Replace PAGE_IDENTIFIER with your page's unique identifier variable
(function() { // DON'T EDIT BELOW THIS LINE
var d = document, s = d.createElement('script');
s.src = 'https://<your-account>.disqus.com/embed.js';
s.setAttribute('data-timestamp', +new Date());
(d.head || d.body).appendChild(s);
<noscript>Please enable JavaScript to view the <a href="https://disqus.com/?ref_noscript">comments powered by Disqus.</a></noscript>

Paste it into where the Disqus comments block should display.

Set this.page.url and this.page.identifier and uncomment these lines to “avoid split threads and missing comments”. For example, for this site they are set like below.

// tested in Rails 5
this.page.url = '<%= url_for host: "https://onefeed.xyz" %>'; 
this.page.identifier = '<%= @post.slug %>';


If the Rails application is deployed behind a Nginx, where SSL/Https is enabled, and listening on an internal port like 3000. The <%= url_for host: "https://onefeed.xyz" %> above will generate values like http://onefeed.xyz:3000/posts/how-to-add-disqus-to-a-rails-application.

To correct the port and the schema, use the code below.

this.page.url = '<%= url_for host: "onefeed.xyz", port: nil, protocol: "https" %>';

It generates URLs like https://onefeed.xyz/posts/how-to-add-disqus-to-a-rails-application.

Check more in url_for API.

Different Emails Addresses for Different Git Repositories

2020 Jun 24

Sometimes, we may want to set up different user emails and user names for different Git repositories. For example, in your personal computer, the user.email is set to your personal email address globally. While committing to your corporate repositories in the personal computer, your corporate email address should be used in the commits. Or you’re working on personal projects on the corporate computer, need to use the personal email for the personal repositories.

Configure Email Address for A Repository

The simplest way is going to each repository, and configuring the user email for each repository specifically.

$ cd /path/to/repo-foo
$ git config user.email email.foo@example.com
$ git config user.name name-foo

The above git config commands write the user.email setting into the .git/config file under the repository.

From git help config, when writing configuration, by default it’s writing to the repository-local configuration file.

When writing, the new value is written to the repository local configuration file by default, and options –system, –global, –worktree, –file can be used to tell the command to write to that location

Examine the Email Address for a Repository

$ cd /path/to/repo-foo
$ git config --list | grep user.email

The git config --list above prints more than one user.email values. It’s because, without additional options, the git config --list outputs configuration “merged” from system, global and local.

From git help config,

When reading, the values are read from the system, global and repository local configuration files by default

The git config --list is a read operation. The first user.email value above is from “global”, i.e. ~/.gitconfig. Run git config --list --local | grep user.email to check the repository-local email configuration.

Instead of piping config --list and grep, use git config --get user.email to save some typings.

$ cd /path/to/repo-foo
$ git config --get user.email

From git help config, --get returns

the last value if multiple key values were found.

Here, the last value is the email from repository-local configuration. The --get can be further omitted, git config user.email has the same result. And git config --get-all user.email is same as git config --list | grep user.email.

Conditional Includes

For new cloned repositories, it’s often to forget to configure the right email addresses for them. The “conditional includes” feature of the git config can save us from this problem.

For example, in your personal computer, all corporate repositories are under ~/corp-repo/. Add a text file called corp-gitconfig there, and edit it as below.

        name = user-name-for-corp-prj
        email = email-add@your-corp.com

Add below lines in the global git config file, i.e. ~/.gitconfig.

[includeIf "gitdir:~/corp-repo/"]
        path = ~/corp-repo/corp-gitconfig

Now if a new repository is cloned user ~/corp-repo/, the email for that repository is automatically set to email-add@your-corp.com.


Sort .csv Files by Columns in Command Line

2020 Jun 2

The sort command can be used to sort .csv files by specific columns.

Have an example .csv file like below.

$ cat orders.csv
user,date,product,amount,unit price

To sort orders by highest unit price, run the command below.

$ sort -r --field-separator=',' --key=5 -n orders.csv
user,date,product,amount,unit price

The --field-separator option (or -t) specifies , as the field separator character. By default, sort considers blank space as the field separator character. The --key=5 let sort use the fifth field of lines to sort the lines. The -n is to sort numerically, and -r is to sort in reverse order.

To fix the headers of the .csv file at the very first row after sorting, process substitution can be used.

$ cat <(head -1 orders.csv) \
      <(tail -n +2 orders.csv|sort -r --field-separator=',' --key=5 -n)
user,date,product,amount,unit price

To sort orders by highest unit price and amount, provide multiple --key options as below.

$ cat <(head -1 orders.csv) \
      <(tail -n +2 orders.csv|sort -r -t ',' -k 5 -k 4 -n)
user,date,product,amount,unit price

The format of value of --field-separator could be a bit more complex. For example, to sort orders by the day of order date, run the command below.

$ sort -t , -n -k 2.9 orders.csv
user,date,product,amount,unit price

The -k 2.9 means for each line sort uses strings which starts from the ninth position of the second field till the end of the line.

The -k 2.9,5 means for each line sort only looks at strings which starts from the ninth position of the second field and ends at the last character of the fifth field. The -k 2.9,5.2 means sort only looks at strings which starts from the ninth position of the second field and ends at the second character of the fifth field.

For more details, check the man sort.


Find a Tab in Hundreds of Tabs of Dozens of Safari Windows

2020 May 29

When use Safari in my Mac, I often keep hundreds of tabs open in dozens of Safari windows. For a recently working on tab, I may remember which Safari window it’s in, and switch to that window by looking at the snapshots of all windows brought up by Ctrl + Down arrow.

all windows

To locate a tab which I totally forget where is it in, it can be easily found via the menu bar -> Help -> Search. Type the keywords of that tab in the input box.

search tab in menubar

If you know which Safari window a tab is in, click the “double square” icon in the upper-right corner of the window (or View -> Show Tab Overview).

search tab in window

Then type some keywords of the tab to narrow down the matched result.

search tab in window

Jackson Mix-in Annotations

2020 May 20

Jackson has a feature called Mix-in annotations. With this feature, we can write cleaner code for the domain classes. Imagine we have domain classes like below.

// package com.example
public interface Item {
    ItemType getType();

public class FooItem implements Item{
    @NonNull String fooId;

    public ItemType getType() {
        return ItemType.FOO;

When implement these domain classes, no Jackson annotation is put on them. To support serialization and deserialization with Jackson for these classes, add “Mix-in” classes, for example in a separate package called com.example.jackson.

Add ItemMixin below to let Jackson be able to serialize and deserialize Item and its subclasses.

        use = JsonTypeInfo.Id.NAME,
        include = JsonTypeInfo.As.PROPERTY,
        property = "type")
        @JsonSubTypes.Type(value = FooItem.class, name = "FOO")
        // ...
public abstract class ItemMixin {
// merge the Jackson annotations in the Mix-in class into the Item class,
// as if these annotations are in the Item class
objectMapper.addMixIn(Item.class, ItemMixin.class);

String json = "[{\"fooId\": \"1\", \"type\": \"FOO\"}]";
List<Item> items = mapper.readValue(json, new TypeReference<List<Item>>(){});

Note that FooItem is implemented as an immutable class using @Value from Lombok. With @Value annotated, FooItem has no default constructor, which makes Jackson unable to serialize it by default. Add FooItemMixin below to fix it.

@JsonIgnoreProperties(value={"type"}, allowGetters=true)
abstract class FooItemMixin {
    public FooItemMixin(@JsonProperty("fooId") String fooId) {


With help of Mix-in annotations, the domain classes don’t have to be compromised for Jackson support. All Jackson relevant annotations are in separate Mix-in classes in a separate package. Further, we could provide a simple Jackson module like below.

public class MixinModule extends SimpleModule {
    public void setupModule(SetupContext context) {
        context.setMixInAnnotations(Item.class, ItemMixin.class);
        context.setMixInAnnotations(FooItem.class, FooItemMixin.class);
        log.info("module set up");

The consumers of the domain classes can simple register this module to take in all the Mix-in annotations.

objectMapper.registerModule(new MixinModule());

Jackson Mix-in helps especially if the domain classes are from a third party library. In this case, the source of the domain classes cannot be modified, using Mix-in is more elegant than writing custom serializers and deserializers.

Which Accessor Style? "Fluent" vs. "Java Bean"

2020 May 19

Basically, there are two styles of accessor naming convention in Java.

One is the traditional “Java Bean” style.

public class Item {
    ItemType getType();

Another is called the “fluent” style.

public class Item {
    ItemType type();

The fluent style saves some typing when writing code, also makes code a bit less verbose, item.type().

For example, the Lombok library supports this fluent style.

lombok.accessors.fluent = [true | false] (default: false)
If set to true, generated getters and setters will not be prefixed with the bean-standard ‘get, is or set; instead, the methods will use the same name as the field (minus prefixes).

Which style is better?

Actually, the verbose Java Bean style, is the better one. It’s because a lot of third party libraries are acknowledging the Java Bean style. For example, if Item is going to be serialized by the Jackson library as a JSON string, the fluent style wouldn’t work out of the box. Also, most of DTO mapping libraries are using the Java Bean style too. Therefore, using the standard Java Bean accessor style save effort when integrate our classes with other libraries and frameworks.

With the Lombok library and the auto-completion in modern IDEs, the Java Bean style doesn’t necessarily mean more typing.

The contains() Method in Java Collection Is Not "Type Safe"

2020 May 8
Currency currency;
if(currency.getSupportedCountries().contains(country)) {

The Currency.getSupportedCountries() returns a Collection. Originally, the returned Collection was Collection<Country>. The country object in the above if-condition was of type Country. The program has been well tested and worked as expected.

However, due to whatever reason, the getSupportedCountries() is refactored to return a Collection<String>. The Java compiler complains nothing about the refactor. But the if-condition now is never true in any cases, since the equals() method of String has no idea about the equality with Country and vice versa. A bug! It’s hard to detect this kind of bug, if the code is not well covered by unit tests or end-to-end tests.

In this sense, the contains() method in Java Collection is not type safe.

How to Avoid

First, never change the behavior of an API when refactor. In the above case, the signature of the getSupportedCountries() API has changed. This is a breaking change, which usually causes the client code fails to compile. Unfortunately, in above case the client code doesn’t fail fast in the compile phase. It’s better to add new API like getSupportedCountryCodes() which returns a Collection<String>, and @Deprecated the old API, which can be further deleted some time later.

Second, make code fully covered by test cases as much as possible. Test cases can detect the bug earlier in the test phase.

Why contains() Is Not Generic

Why contains() is not designed as contains(E o), but as contains(Object o)? There are already some discussion on this design in StackOverflow, like this one and this one. It’s said it’s no harm to let methods like contains() in Collection be no generic. Being no generic, the contains() can accept a parameter of another type, which is seen as a “flexible” design. However, the above case shows that this design does have harm and cannot give developers enough confidence.

A method accepting a parameter of Object means it accepting any type, which is too “dynamic” for a “static” language.

Another question is why a static language needs a “root” Object?

Run Multiple Gradle Sub Project Tasks

2020 Apr 2

Use the brace expansion mechanism of Bash, multiple sub project tasks can be run in the command line like below.

$ ./gradlew sub-prj-1:{tasks,help}

After brace expansion, it is same as below, but saves some typing.

$ ./gradlew sub-prj-1:tasks sub-prj-1:help

More examples.

$ ./gradlew sub-prj-{1,2}:test
# same as
# ./gradlew sub-prj-1:test sub-prj-2:test

$ ./gradlew sub-prj-{1,2}:{clean,build}
# same as
# ./gradlew sub-prj-1:clean sub-prj-1:build sub-prj-2:clean sub-prj-2:build

The if-else Control Flow Using Optional

2020 Mar 27

Sometimes you may want to write the if-else control flow based on an Optional object.

For example, an API from a third party library declares Optional as its return type. You need to compose an if-else like control flow using that Optional object. Of course, it can be done by testing isPresent() in a traditional if-else statement.

var itemOpt = service.getItem(itemId);
if (itemOpt.isPresent()) {
} else {
    log.info("missing item {}", itemId);

The above code doesn’t take any advantage of Optional. Actually, since Java 9 the ifPresentOrElse​(Consumer<? super T>, Runnable) method can be used to implement such control flow, which is a bit more elegant.

    item -> {
    () -> {
        log.info("missing item {}", itemId);