Amazon Alexa Meets IBM Domino

I had the honor of becoming a contributor for the outstanding NotesIn9 Video Podcast produced by David Leedy. In this show, I demonstrate how I built and Amazon Alexa Skill for the IBM Domino based IdeaJam app. If you have any questions, please let me know. I would be more than happy to answer them! Thank you, David, for having me on. More videos on building Alexa Skills coming soon.

Amazon Alexa Meets IBM Domino – Sneak Peek

Here’s a sneak peek of the app I will be featuring on an upcoming NotesIn9 screencast:


2016/2017 Must-Know Web Development Tech: Watch this if you want to be a web developer

Taking control of the Browser Security Model

This past weekend at the Devsigner Conference held in Portland, Oregon, Dylan Tack gave an excellent presentation entitled “Taking control of the Browser Security Model”:

Since the birth of the web, the browser security model has remained nearly static. Recent evolutions make it possible for site operators to fine-tune the security model, and enforce mandatory access controls. This session will focus on Content-Security-Policy, and other browser security features like Strict Transport Security and Public Key Pins.

47% of all web applications have a cross-site-scripting vulnerability, and this potential security flaw ranks in the top three classes of all vulnerabilities. [ White Hat Security, 2015 Website Security Statistics Report ]

A Content Security Policy is a systematic way to block these attacks, by whitelisting allowed sources of script, style, and other resources. The holy grail – blocking “unsafe-inline” code – offers the strongest defense, but can be a big surprise for front-end developers when inline scripts and styles stop working!

If you are developing for the web you need to take a look at his slide deck. If you have any questions, feel free to let let me know.

IBM Bluemix Weather Company API with Python

Here is a simple example of calling the IBM Weather Company REST API using Python. The program asks for a US ZIP code and then displays some of the data. A perfect program for an intro to programming class. Also, on GitHub.

# Using the IBM Bluemix Weather Company API
# Bruce Elgort
# July 9, 2016
# Version 1.0
# IBM Weather Company Docs:

import requests
import json

def get_weather(zip):
    username = 'your username'
    password = 'your password'

    watsonUrl = '' + zip + ':4:US' + '/observations.json?language=en-US'

        r = requests.get(watsonUrl,auth=(username,password))
        return r.text
        return False

def display_weather(results):
    print('Here is the weather for {0}'.format(results['observation']['obs_name']))
    print('{0:20} {1:<10}'.format('Current Temperature:',str(results['observation']['temp']) + '° and ' + results['observation']['wx_phrase']))
    print('{0:20} {1:<10}'.format('Feels Like: ',str(results['observation']['feels_like']) + '°'))
    print('{0:20} {1:<10}'.format('Low Temp: ',str(results['observation']['min_temp']) + '°'))
    print('{0:20} {1:<10}'.format('High Temp: ',str(results['observation']['max_temp']) + '°'))
    print('{0:20} {1:<10}'.format('Winds:',str(results['observation']['wspd']) + ' mph coming from the ' + results['observation']['wdir_cardinal']))

def get_weather():
    zip = input('Enter US ZIP code to get weather for:\n')
    results = get_weather(zip)
    if results != False:
        results = json.loads(str(results))
        print('Something went wrong :-(')

if __name__ == '__main__':

Learn to Program with Python

I Do Not Agree

Going to shit

2015 is when web development went to shit. Web development used to be nice. You could fire up a text editor and start creating JS and CSS files. You can absolutely still do this. That has not changed. So yes, everything I’m about to say can be invalidated by saying that.

Read “The Sad State of Web Development” >

Using the Slack API with Python – A Simple Example

Here is a simple Python program that can be used to:

  • Test the API
  • Get a list of Slack Users
  • Get a list of Slack Channels
  • Get information about a Slack Channel
  • Post a message to Slack Channel

Students in my Intro to Programming and Problems Solving class at Clark College learn how to build this and other things using Python.

Have fun with it!

On Github >

# CTEC 121 / Intro to Programming and Problem Solving
# Lab - Using the Slack API
# by Bruce Elgort, 2016

# pip install slackclient to install SlackClient library
from slackclient import SlackClient
import json

def test_slack(sc):
    # use for debugging
    print("Testing API")
    print(80 * "=")
    print (sc.api_call("api.test"))

def get_channel_info(sc,channel):
    # get info about the channel
    print("Getting Channel Info")
    print(80 * "=")
    print (sc.api_call("", channel=channel))

def get_list_of_channels(sc):
    print("Getting List of Channels")
    print(80 * "=")
    # get list of channels
    channels = sc.api_call("channels.list")
    channels = json.dumps(channels)
    channels = json.loads(str(channels))
    return channels

def display_channels(channels):
    print("Display Channels")
    print(80 * "=")
    for i in channels['channels']:

def post_message(sc,text,channel,icon_url,username):
    print("Posting Message to Slack")
    print(80 * "=")
    # post a message into the #general channel
    print (sc.api_call("chat.postMessage",channel=channel,text=text,username=username,icon_url=icon_url,unfurl_links="true"))

def get_users(sc):
    print("Get Users")
    print(80 * "=")
    #call the users.list api call and get list of users
    users = (sc.api_call("users.list"))
    users = json.dumps(users)
    users = json.loads(str(users))
    return users

def display_users(sc,users):
    print("User List")
    print(80 * "=")
    # display active users
    for i in users['members']:
        # don't display slackbot
        if i['profile']['real_name'] != "slackbot":
            # don't display deleted users
            if not i['deleted']:
                # display real name
                print (i['profile']['real_name'])
def main():
    # define variables
    token = "your token"
    channel = "a channel id"
    username = "Username to use display for message function"
    icon_url = "icon url for message function"
    # connect to Slack
    sc = SlackClient(token)
    # test slack
    # get channel info
    # get list of channels
    channels = get_list_of_channels(sc)
    # display channels
    # post message
    # get users
    users = get_users(sc)
    # display users


Getting Started with IBM Bluemix

What is Node.js Exactly? – a beginners introduction to Nodejs