Saturday, May 21, 2016

Typescript, React and Sass - All in one - Skeleton Project built with Webpack

Just recently I had the need to set up a project that included 
Typescript, React, Sass and building it with Webpack, and couldn't find any good up-to-date source on the web for a 
skeleton project to base it on.

So I decided to create my own.

You can check it out (free of course) on my GitHub account:

Monday, May 9, 2016

Hubot Script for Image Search on Bing

How to write a Hubot script that integrates with Bing in Javascript

In case you haven't heard of Slack, I recommend you check it out.
Slack is a Messaging App with an extremely cool edge of customization abilities.

One of those abilities allows you to install an App that plugs-in to Slack, called Hubot.
A Hubot is a Bot app, that can listen to your commands on Slack, and perform a task.

After installing your Hubot on your machine, you will notice it has a "scripts" directory.
You can use this directory to write your own custom scripts which the Hubot will execute!
Very cool!

The scripts can be written in CoffeeScript and in Javascript.
You can simply copy-paste the code below, but notice that it will not work, unless you get your own Bing API key.
You can easily get it for free here.
This is how the screen looks like at Bing after you will (create an account as needed and) login.

Be sure to copy the API Key that (highlighted in red) shows in the box, 

and replace it with the 'key', 
which equals to 'XXXX-....-XXXX' in the code below.

The expected result

Enjoy hacking & slacking!

The code

// bing.js

'use strict'

var querystring = require('querystring');
var http = require('https');

// replace the 'XXXXX...' string here with your own Bing API KEY
var HOST_NAME = '';
var SAFE = {
  low: 'Off',
  medium: 'Moderate',
  high: 'Strict'

  "Accept": "*/*",
  "Content-Type": "application/json",
  "Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key": key

function getParams(query, count, offset, safe) {
  count = count || DEFAULT_NUMBER_OF_IMGS;
  count = Math.max(5, Math.min(50, count));
  offset = offset || Math.floor(Math.random() * 4);
  return {
    'hostname': HOST_NAME,
    'method': 'GET',
    'path': buildQueryParameters(query, count, offset, safe || SAFE.medium),

function buildQueryParameters(query, count, offset, safey) {
  return '/api/v5/images/search?q=' + query + 
'&count=' + count + '&offset=' + offset + 
'&mkt=en-us&safeSearch=' + safey;

function getImagesFromBing(query, hubotCallback) {
  var body = [];
  var params = getParams(query);
  var req = http.request(params, function(res) {
    res.on('data', function (chunk) {
    res.on('end', function () {
       var data = body.join('');
       var dataAsJson = JSON.parse(data);
       var values = dataAsJson.value;
       var imgs = {
         return val.contentUrl;

module.exports = function(robot) {
    robot.hear(/bingme (.*)/i, function(res) {
        var photoname = res.match[1];
        res.reply("Looking for a photo of \"" + photoname + "\" on Bing!");

        var escapedQuery = querystring.escape(photoname);
        getImagesFromBing(escapedQuery, function(imgs) {
          var randomPhotoIndex = Math.floor(Math.random() * imgs.length);

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Spaceship X - Game Launch on Android Play

Spaceship X - Timeless Hero

A retro flavoured Spaceship shooter saving the Galaxy!

I have released my first Game App to Google Play!

It is free to download:

The game's website:

Have fun!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Simple Webapp example using Flux with React

If you've been following the latest Front-End news for Web for the past year,
you have probably seen the huge buzz around ReactJS.

Just in case you haven't, you can visit ReactJS on the Facebook Github's page at: or just Google it and read about it.

So for those of you that do know what React is all about, you may have also heard about Flux.
If you haven't :) I recommend you to read about it a bit
here as well

If I have to try and sum it up on one leg, I'd say that Flux is an application architecture for building
big web-apps on the front-end that scale.  - Well, that's pretty vague :)

A main concept regarding this architecture is about a Uni-directional flow where an "Action"
(a Application Event) is triggered by the View part (Your components, which are shown the users),
using a "Dispatcher" (Some kind of an Event Hub) which propagates the Actions
on to the "Stores" (Your application's model), which hold the state (data) of your application,
perform the necessary update and logic, and updates the View back using listeners.

This illustration might help understanding the Flux flow a little better:

Why is Flux a good idea? - There are several reasons, but I will mention only 2 which I think
are the most important.

1. Simple Application Architecture - You can show this diagram to someone who never
heard of Flux before, and explain it in 2 minutes.

2. Scalable - Flux lets you scale. Meaning, it's relatively easy to add new features to
your application, debug it, and keeping it performant.

There's a really good talk about it by Facebook which is worth watching:

After all that being said, I really wanted to do some basic implementation of Flux myself,
to "feel" how it works. And so I created a very small Repository on Github that implements
Flux which you are welcome to look at and use.

The example code

The application built on top of that is a classic Todo App:

The code uses several 3rd party libraries such as RequireJS and React Templates but even if you are not familiar with RequireJS, or with AMD, my guess is you will still be able to understand how
it works.
React Templates is an amazing 3rd party library that helps you implement the "render" method
of React Components in an HTML like syntax. Totally cool.

Good luck!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grunt - Create your custom local Grunt plugin

This post describes how you can write your own Grunt Plugin in Javascript and install it locally,
in order to use it on your own (Grunt) project build file.

If you don't know what Grunt is then to explain it on one leg -
"Grunt is a pluggable (JavaScript) task runner", which can be used to build JavaScript projects.

Such typical build of a Javascript project may contain a Linting task, minification task, and so on...

So, you can read more about Grunt if you want to get a better understanding.

And now, to the recipe!
1 NPM installed on your machine
1 GIT installed on your machine
1 Skill writing a tiny bit of Javascript
A zest of patience

1. First thing would be to install a Grunt plugin that is used for templates scaffolding.
In order to do that, you need to run the following in your shell:
$ npm install -g grunt-init
2. Clone a GIT repository which is going to be used as your template for creating your glorious
Grunt Plugin. (
So, run the following in your shell:
$ git clone ~/.grunt-init/gruntplugin
3. Create an empty directory where you want to place your Plugin like "my-custom-plugin", and cd into it.
$ mkdir my-custom-plugin
$ cd my-custom-plugin
Then run the following in your shell:
$ grunt-init gruntplugin
4. You should now be prompted with a serie of questions in the shell, in order to create your plugin.
You should be seeing something like this:

Please answer the following:

[?] Project name (grunt-my-custom-plugin)

[?] Description (The best Grunt plugin ever.) the best custom plugin ever!

[?] Version (0.1.0)

[?] Project git repository (ssh://<Your GIT remote Repository URL>)

[?] Project homepage (none)

[?] Project issues tracker (none)

[?] Licenses (MIT)

[?] Author name (nirgit) Nir M

[?] Author email (

[?] Author url (none)

[?] What versions of grunt does it require? (~0.4.2)

[?] What versions of node does it run on? (>= 0.8.0)

[?] Do you need to make any changes to the above before continuing? (y/N) N

Writing .gitignore...OK

Writing .jshintrc...OK

Writing Gruntfile.js...OK


Writing tasks/my_custom_plugin.js...OK

Writing test/expected/custom_options...OK

Writing test/expected/default_options...OK

Writing test/fixtures/123...OK

Writing test/fixtures/testing...OK

Writing test/my_custom_plugin_test.js...OK


Writing package.json...OK

Initialized from template "gruntplugin".

You should now install project dependencies with npm install. After that, you

may execute project tasks with grunt. For more information about installing

and configuring Grunt, please see the Getting Started guide:

Done, without errors.

5. Now you should have your directory containing a Grunt Plugin template.
Open the file you have inside the "tasks" directory in order to edit it.

6. The file should look as follows:

7. Just in order to get started, lets strip the file and change it to contain the following:
 * grunt-my-custom-plugin
 * Copyright (c) 2014 Nir M
 * Licensed under the MIT license.

'use strict';

module.exports = function(grunt) {

 grunt.file.defaultEncoding = 'utf8';

 // Please see the Grunt documentation for more information regarding task
 // creation:

 grunt.registerTask('my_custom_plugin', function() {
  grunt.log.writeln('Hello my great Grunt Plugin!') ;

The my_custom_plugin shown in bold above, is the name of your task in the Grunt build, that
you'll execute at the end.

Lets change the Gruntfile.js in the root directory of the Plugin so tests won't execute when
we will run "grunt" on the plugin's source. Otherwise the build would fail.
So now the Gruntfile.js last line should look like:
grunt.registerTask('default', ['jshint']);

8. Go back to the root directory of your Grunt Plugin and run the following:
$ npm install
$ grunt
Running "jshint:all" (jshint) task >> 3 files lint free. Done, without errors.
9. Almost done.
Now go to your own project where you want to use your plugin and add the following line to the
Gruntfile.js of your project:
This will load your Grunt plugin task to your Grunt's project.

10. Next step would be to install the plugin locally in the node modules of your Proect.
You should now run in the root directory of your Project (where you want to use your plugin) the following:
$ npm install /<PATH_TO_YOUR_PLUGIN>/my-custom-plugin
11. You should now be able to execute:
$ grunt my_custom_plugin
And see:
Running "my_custom_plugin" task

Hello my great Grunt Plugin!

Done, without errors.

That's all folks.
Hope this was helpful to get you started with Grunt Plugins.
Don't forget to publish it (npm publish) afterwards to the rest of the Node community if you think it may be helpful to others as well.

Check out the official guide for creating Grunt plugins at:

Good luck!