Automatically generating and renewing Let's Encrypt SSL certificates with the certbot client and Ansible

August 11, 2016

I just finished updating my ansible-django-stack project and added tasks to automatically issue a Let's Encrypt SSL certificate and set up a cron job to auto-renew the certificate.

We're now using it for all our Shopify apps which are built in Django. Let's Encrypt certificates are only valid for 90 days, so if you have a bunch of web apps like we do and have more planned in the future, automating this ...

Generating free trusted SSL certificates with Let's Encrypt

July 19, 2016

I've always hated the idea of having to pay for SSL certificates. You could always generate them yourself for free with OpenSSL and they're just as secure as the paid ones. But if you're running a public-facing website, you're pretty much stuck and have to pay for one if you don't want your visitors seeing security warnings in their browser. At least that was the case until Let's Encrypt ...

SSH tunneling and dealing with webhooks that require a trusted SSL certificate when developing locally with Django

July 15, 2016

I'm currently working on version 2 of our Shopify app where we'll be adding custom Slack slash commands. When adding slash commands to a custom app, Slack requires the receiving server to have a trusted (not self-signed) SSL certificate.

Normally, what we do is simply create a reverse SSH tunnel to our stage server which is publicly accessible to receive webhooks, for example:

ssh -R 8000:localhost:80

The ...

Send Shopify events to Slack with Slacky

May 28, 2016

Around a couple of months ago, a good friend of mine who's also a developer and I were chatting on Slack about app platforms we could build apps for on the side. One platform that came up was Shopify and after doing some research on the Shopify App Store we decided to team up to build our first app. We called our company Highview Apps.

We brainstormed for a bit, trying to come up ...

Ansible playbook for provisioning a Jenkins CI server

May 27, 2016

I've finally decided to set up a Jenkins CI server for my Django projects earlier this week. For a long time, I've been deploying code via command line with Ansible. It worked very well but occasionally I find myself deploying from a coffee shop with unreliable connection, causing the deployment to get interrupted. Deploying instead from a virtual private server in the cloud would solve this and using Jenkins to do it was ...

Free alternatives to Mandrill for sending transactional emails

March 12, 2016

If you're a Mandrill user, you've probably already gotten an email from Mandrill that they will completely be integrated with MailChimp and will require a paid MailChimp subscription to continue its use. The cheapest paid MailChimp subscription at the moment goes for $20/month.

If you're bootstrapping a startup, you look for any savings you can get. That $20/month could be used for other things, like 4 DigitalOcean servers to run ...