Safe Pad: Secure Text Editor Open Source Project

Recently I have been doing a bit of travelling for work to visit vendors and this has involved some lengthy train journeys. On these journeys I decided to set about writing a small little application that I had a use for. Initially I wanted a password vault, but when I thought about it more, I realised I wanted a secure way to store all sorts of information, like passwords, license keys, financial data etc.

Safe Pad : Rich Text Editor with strong encryption.
Safe Pad : Rich Text Editor with strong encryption.

So, whilst whiling away the hours on the train I started developing Safe Pad. The application is a pretty typical Rich Text based editor, but when you save your documents they are compressed and then stored by encrypting it with AES 256 three times using 2 passwords. This is a similar theory as to when the DES algorithms life was extended by using it to triple encrypt.

AES 256 is already a very strong algorithm, but when used in an application like this people still tend to use rather weak passwords which makes them susceptible to dictionary attacks. Because this application triple encrypts you are prompted to enter 2 passwords, therefore the program encrypts with password 1, then password 2, and then password 1 again. It adds that extra layer of protection for your secrets. Of course, this isn’t an excuse to use weak passwords, I still recommend using strong passwords made up of mixed case letters, numbers and non alpha-numeric symbols.

I have developed the program enough to a stable 1.0 release. It is quite basic, but then again it doesn’t need to be complicated. I have released the source code on CodePlex under the GNU Public license and this marks my first foray into the world of open source software development. Feel free to download the application if you think it will be useful to you. It costs nothing.  If you are not interested in messing around with the source code, then there is an installer you can use to install the application. If you feel like adding some features, then the source code is available for you to play around with.

I have also written a blog post explaining the solution and code structure of Safe Pad should anyone wish to contribute to it.

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Book Review : The Architecture of Open Source Applcations

I am a bit of a book worm, especially with technical books. I love nothing more than to extend my knowledge on my craft. I wanted to let you know about a book that I have been reading recently that is absolutely fascinating. The book is called, the Architecture of Open Source Applications.

The idea behind the book is simple. If you were an architect constructing buildings, you wouldn’t do so without studying how other buildings are constructed. The premise is the same for software. As a software developer / solutions architect, how can you design applications without first studying how other applications are designed and built? That is exactly what this book does.  This book covers 25 open source applications and discusses how they were built and designed.

Amazon.com Paperback | Kindle

Amazon.co.uk Paperback | Kindle

Architecture of Open Source Applications
Architecture of Open Source Applications

The Obligatory First Post

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Image supplied by http://www.freeimages.co.uk/galleries.htm

Wow, this is the first post!! It feels a little empty around here at the moment. My name is Stephen Haunts and I am a software developer currently working in the financial services industry in the United Kingdom. I have decided to start this site as a way of capturing some of my ideas and sharing them with the world.

I mainly work in C# and .NET. This is because that is what my job requires, so I will tend to bias towards the Microsoft Development Stack when talking about actual software development. I also enjoy working with .NET; it is a fun system to write software with.

I don’t intend to just talk about code. This site covers more of the architectural aspects of enterprise software development. Most of these ideas can sit above the actual language and implementation details.

I have ideas for different series of articles that revolve around ideas that I have been thinking a lot about recently. As a little hint to what is to follow, some of these themes are around applications system monitoring, PCI DSS, Zero Downtime deployment models, Agile/Lean development and software development leadership.

I hope you find the content enjoyable, interesting and thought-provoking. Please subscribe to the blog using the subscription widget to the right of the screen. You can also use the sites RSS feed in your favourite news reader. Also, please comment and contribute to the articles if you feel you have something to say. I don’t expect you to agree with everything I say, but the initial articles serve as the starting point of the subject. They can be extended much further by your contribution to the conversation.

Well, that’s the obligatory first post out-of-the-way. That wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

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