Adam’s January 2019 Meeting Summary

Agenda – Code Huddle – HMRC VAT MTD – Zero to Hero

Adam’s Summary

The meeting was an innovative format: Code Huddles.
Subject: Creating applications to submit VAT using the new digital governmental portal.

The idea being to have attendees break into groups, and work together to solve a problem, with some members present had already solved the problem and were able to assist and hand-hold the Huddles.

I feel this was one of the most successful meetings I’ve been to. My group consisted of a good set of members with diverse knowledge and experience. Actually working on a problem helped to drive home new things I learned during the day, and everyone in my group learned something and taught something, which felt brilliant. Those of us who weren’t particularly interested in VAT as a topic still learned a lot about JSON, HTTP Requests, and OAuth2 which are all very widely used technologies.

Having members present who had already solved the problem was key, as it allowed those groups stuck on some stages to move forwards. Allowing these members to show their own workings as presentations after the Huddles was also good as it drove home the learning from the day.

We used PostMan and Delphi’s REST Debugger to generate HTTP Requests which generated responses from the UK Government VAT Systems. We created User and Application accounts, and wrote small Delphi applications to go as far as UK Government responding with “Hello Application”.

This required the generation of OAuth2 authentication tokens, which was a fairly complex process, and which was really well described by Ian and Jason.

The later presentations showed the next stages in the process, through to retrieval and submission of accounts.

Thanks to Jason and Ian for being central to organizing the day, and to the other members who were part of the group that spent time writing the code prior to the event.

ALSO DISCUSSED:

Code Rage XIII: “OK, but not great, a few good sessions.”

GitHub: Apparently Microsoft have made it possible to have free private “Hubs” for small dev groups (3 or less).

Martin Hamilton complained that FireDAC was 30 times slower than DevArt as a data-connection component.

Several members complained about changes to APIs (Google Maps, Microsoft Graph) which mean that well written applications fall over after release when third parties change their APIs. It might be worth having some sessions on how to defend against this happening.

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