XSS Sanitizer Plugin (v0.2) released

Well, after shamefully waiting over a year to do any kind of updates to this plugin, I've finally made some changes and merged in pull requests from others.

Next steps are going to be fix some of the issues. Some great suggestions have come up in the Issues area on Github. In fact, I plan on releasing a patch later today.

I chose version 0.2 after some long debate with myself (Hello, me). I don't really want to call this a 1.0 release quite yet. I think some things like not being able to override the ESAPI.properties file as well as not enough unit tests make this still a beta plugin. I'd love to know if others are using it, too. If so, and people are having success, then maybe a 1.0 release is in order. Until then, there's still some work left to do.

How to fix Parallels Desktop from hanging on startup

Recently, Parallels Desktop did not shut down correctly for me. When I went to start it back up, it just sat there with a spinning wheel, and a message saying "suspending."

I did finally resolve the issue. Here's how I did it.

1) Quit Parallels.

2) Open up the Activity Monitor. On a Mac, this is Utilities > Activity Monitor.

3) In the list of processes, look for one named "prl_vm_app". Select it.

4) Click the Quit Process button in the upper left. Choose to Force Quit at the prompt.

You should be able to start up Parallels Desktop again.

XSS Sanitizer Grails Plugin

Well, earlier this week I published my first Grails plugin. I'm hoping that people will find it useful to add a general security plugin to parse out, and prevent XSS attacks on their website. It's a long way from being done, but I think it's a good start.

It uses OWASP's ESAPI to strip out any unwanted script, iframe, and img tags that come in on the request. It also has the added benefit of doing this in a Java filter (in case you access the request via the HttpRequest) and the Grails "params" attribute.

Next steps are to write tests for each of the potential hacks on http://ha.ckers.org/xss.html to make sure they all pass. Plus, in my opinion, this is just a general replace of all values. There are potentially times when you might want to submit something that falls into one of these categories, and you feel that it's safe to not have to filter it. So, I'd like to allow users to be able to annotate methods to allow/disallow the filter to run give a certain action.

Here's a link to the source code:


If you would like to install it, just type:

grails install-plugin xss-sanitizer

If you are interested in contributing, please let me know. I'd love to have some collaboration.

Click event slow in Chrome and Safari

Well, I came across an interesting quirk. Click events in Chrome and Safari were taking a couple of seconds before they were being fired. It was quite the head scratcher.

Here's essentially what I was doing:

        $(".example").delegate("a", "click", function(event) {

<div class="example">
    <a href="#">
        Toggle Title

At first, I just changed the <a> tag to be a <span> tag, and that worked. But, I couldn't figure out why an anchor tag was having this problem. I had been doing similar things in other parts of the application, and it was working fine.

When I made the simple script above in jsFiddle, I couldn't reproduce it. So, I started pulling out things slowly.

That's when I noticed it was something that Omniture was doing. I'm not sure I could tell why that particular element was being slow. My guess was maybe that it was nested too deep, and something Omniture was doing was making it slow.

Either way, the fix of changing it to a <span> tag seemed to fix it.

How to inject two or more dependencies with the same name

Let's say you have two services named UserService and both are included in your Grails classpath. This can happen, for example if you have a "core" package, and an "application" package that extends services from "core".

Here's what that might look like in our case:

Well, if you try to use "UserService" in your Grails application like so, you will get an error saying that UserService cannot be found.

    def userService

That's because there was a name collision on UserService.

Spring accounts for this, and allows you to define your class for each bean name. In Grails, we can define our beans in the grails-app/conf/resources.groovy file.

Here's an example of what our resources.groovy file would look like:

beans = {
  // syntax is beanId(implementingClassName) { properties }
  // User Service
  coreUserService(com.company.core.UserService) {
    grailsApplication = ref("grailsApplication")
  userService(com.company.usecase.UserService) {
    coreUserService = ref("coreUserService")

Then, in your services, you can inject these services like so:

class UserController {
  def userService


// From your UserService, you can access the core UserService like this.
package com.company.core.UserService
class UserService {
  def coreUserService


Hopefully, that helps.

Grails resources plugin

I installed the Grails zipped-resources plugin on a new project the other day, and I noticed that by default it zips up everything it sends.

This is fine, but when I tried to make it ignore the image files being served up, it wasn't obvious at first how to do that. Finally, I figured out what I needed to do. Adding the following line to my Config.groovy excluded the image files from being zipped up.

grails.resources.mappers.zip.excludes = ['**/*.png','**/*.gif','**/*.jpg','**/*.jpeg','**/*.gz','**/*.zip']

Once I read more about defining a mapper, it was nice to see that even configuration of these resource files was taking on a convention.

That said, the suite of resources plugins that are coming out now for Grails are very useful. I would say that they really help make Grails a strong contender in platform choices for the future.

Grails CamelCase Sensitivity

I ran into an weird bug today that took awhile to figure out. Basically, I was getting the error when I deployed some grails code to a linux box.

In the error log, this is what showed up:

ERROR view.ScaffoldingViewResolver  - Error generating scaffolded view [/BNice/index]: /opt/grails-1.3.7/src/grails/templates/scaffolding/index.gsp (No such file or directory)
java.io.FileNotFoundException: /opt/grails-1.3.7/src/grails/templates/scaffolding/index.gsp (No such file or directory)
at java.io.FileInputStream.open(Native Method)
at java.io.FileInputStream.<;init>;(FileInputStream.java:120)
at org.grails.plugin.resource.DevModeSanityFilter.doFilter(DevModeSanityFilter.groovy:44)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:680)

And, in the HTML response, this is what showed up:

HTTP status 404 - /testapp/WEB-INF/grails-app/views/BNice/index.jsp
type: Status report
message: /testapp/WEB-INF/grails-app/views/BNice/index.jsp
description: The requested resource (/testapp/WEB-INF/grails-app/views/BNice/index.jsp) is not available.

It took a while, but I finally figured out that it had nothing to do with the server setup, but was in fact an issue with the code.

In the project, there was a controller called "BNiceController". When grails sees to capital letters in the beginning of a name, the CamelCasing of the controller and the views must be exactly like first part of the controller.

Here's how a normal reference would look for a controller called BeNiceController.

// In the gsp, the controller would be referenced like so:
${createLink(controller: 'beNice')}

// The view would be located in /grails-app/views/beNice/index.gsp

However, if the controller is called BNiceController, this is what you would have to do. Notice, the folder in the views directory is "BNice".

// In the gsp, the controller would be referenced like so:
${createLink(controller: 'BNice')}

// The view would be located in /grails-app/views/BNice/index.gsp

It's kind of annoying. I wish this wasn't the default behavoir.

Selecting Popup Windows in Selenium

This example shows how to start a Selenium Server and run a Selenium client in Java. The example opens up a popup window by clicking on the link in index.html. It then selects the popup window by first using the "name=popupWindowName" option for selectWindow. It then grabs the original window (using "name=null"). And, finally, it grabs the popup again by using the global javascript variable option in selectWindow ("var=popupWindowVar").

In order to run this test, you will need the following three jar files on your classpath.

  • junit-4.8.2.jar
  • selenium-java-2.17.0.jar
  • selenium-server-standalone-2.17.0.jar

Unit Test

package org.example;

import static org.junit.Assert.assertEquals;

import org.junit.After;
import org.junit.AfterClass;
import org.junit.Before;
import org.junit.BeforeClass;
import org.junit.Test;
import org.openqa.selenium.server.RemoteControlConfiguration;
import org.openqa.selenium.server.SeleniumServer;

import com.thoughtworks.selenium.DefaultSelenium;

public class SeleniumIntegrationTest {
	private static SeleniumServer server = null;
	private DefaultSelenium selenium = null;

	public static void oneTimeSetUp() throws Exception {
		// Create a configuration to override defaults.
		RemoteControlConfiguration rcc = new RemoteControlConfiguration();
		rcc.setSingleWindow(true); // Support Popups
		rcc.setTrustAllSSLCertificates(true); // Trust SSL

		// Start the Selenium Server.
		server = new SeleniumServer(false, rcc);

	public static void oneTimeTearDown() throws Exception  {

	public void setUp() throws Exception {
//		// Create a Selenium thread.
//		// Open in Chrome
//		selenium = new DefaultSelenium("localhost", 4444,
//				"*googlechrome",
//				"http://localhost:8080/GrailsDefault/");
//		// Open in Safari
//		selenium = new DefaultSelenium("localhost", 4444,
//				"*safari C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Safari\\Safari.exe",
//				"http://localhost:8080/GrailsDefault/");
//		// Open in IE
//		selenium = new DefaultSelenium("localhost", 4444,
//				"*iexplore",
//				"http://localhost:8080/GrailsDefault/");
		// Open in Firefox
		selenium = new DefaultSelenium("localhost", 4444,

		// Start the server

	public void tearDown() {
		// Stop the Selenium thread.

	public void popupWindowExample() {
		// Open the base window.
		assertEquals(selenium.getTitle(), "Popup Window Example");

		// Click button to popup new window.
		// Select the popup window.
		// popupWindowID is the ID given in the window.open javascript.
		selenium.waitForPopUp("popupWindowID", "30000");
		assertEquals(selenium.getTitle(), "Popped Up Window");

		// Click a link to google on the popup.
		selenium.click("link=This link goes to google");
		assertEquals(selenium.getTitle(), "Google");

		// Select the original window.
		assertEquals(selenium.getTitle(), "Popup Window Example");

		// Select the window by a javascript variable.
		assertEquals(selenium.getTitle(), "Google");



<title>Popup Window Example</title>

function popupNewWindow() {
	window.popupWindowVar = window.open("popup.html", "popupWindowID");
function popupNewWindow2() {
	window.popupWindowVar2 = window.open("popup.html", "popupWindowID2");


	<div id="header">
		<button id="popupButton" onclick="popupNewWindow()">Popup Window</button>
		<button id="popupButton2" onclick="popupNewWindow2()">Popup Window 2</button>


<title>Popped Up Window</title>

	<div id="header">
		This is a popup window.
	<div id="links">
		<a href="http://www.google.com">This link goes to google</a>.

I found a bug in the variation of selectWindow that tries to grab the window from a JavaScript variable (i.e "var=foo"). It works in Chrome and IE. However, I could not get it working with Firefox 9.0.1 with Windows 7. The error is below. I've opened up a defect. The bug is listed here: http://code.google.com/p/selenium/issues/detail?id=3270.

com.thoughtworks.selenium.SeleniumException: ERROR: Window does not exist. If this looks like a Selenium bug, make sure to read http://seleniumhq.org/docs/04_selenese_commands.html#alerts-popups-and-multiple-windows for potential workarounds.
        at com.thoughtworks.selenium.HttpCommandProcessor.throwAssertionFailureExceptionOrError(HttpCommandProcessor.java:112)
        at com.thoughtworks.selenium.HttpCommandProcessor.doCommand(HttpCommandProcessor.java:106)
        at com.thoughtworks.selenium.DefaultSelenium.selectWindow(DefaultSelenium.java:370)
        at org.example.SeleniumIntegrationTest.popupWindowExample(SeleniumIntegrationTest.java:99)
        at sun.reflect.NativeMethodAccessorImpl.invoke0(Native Method)

Grails 2.0.0 lib directory fix

I recently had a problem with Grails when I started a new project in Eclipse with Grails 2.0.0. I tried adding an external JAR file to my "lib" directory by dragging the JAR file over to the directory.

In Grails 1.3.7, the JAR file would then get added to the list of grails dependences (after refreshing the dependencies). However, that stopped working. After reading some user group posts, here's what I did to fix it.

1) run "grails clean"
2) drag the jar file to your "lib" directory.
3) right-click on the project and choose Groovy Tools -> Refresh Dependencies