Back to basics with October CMS

My brother needed a new simple one-page website for his CV. I usually do my websites in WordPress, but today I wanted to try something new. The content management systems (CMS) I evaluated were:

  • Craftcms
  • contentful
  • Octobercms.com
  • Pagekit
  • Bolt
  • Sitecake
  • Getkirby
  • Bludit

I found a winner: OctoberCMS! It truly is great for developing websites. Not as complicated as most CMS have gotten. Just a simple structure with real files to describe the content of the website. The website is divided into layouts, pages, partials and content. The layout is like the theme. The layout includes partials. When you want a new page (a new url) you add a page. (I skipped using the content type for now since I was making a one-page website). The editor is just simple HTML, (but you can add a proper wysiwyg editor if you want). For more complicated stuff (ecommerce and so on) you can add plugins.

You can check out the website at https://jonathannilsson.com/

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Appium MQTT backdoor

Appium is generally considered a blackbox testing tool, that is it has no access to the app's methods. Appium acts on the elements accessible by an user.

But what if that is not enough? For example if you want to simulate an incoming notification, a bluetooth device connection, or a crash? For that you need whitebox testing with access to the app's internal methods.


There are ways to do whitebox testing in Android using the espresso driver: https://appiumpro.com/editions/51

There is also a library to add backdoor testing to iOS+Appium: https://github.com/alexmx/Insider

But neither of these solutions work as a backdoor in C# apps, and I am mainly thinking about Android and iOS apps using the Xamarin framework. I also want my backdoor to be callable from Python and Robot Framework. For that I made a backdoor with MQTT messaging.


MQTT broker


Not really necessary for this backdoor to work, but it is a really good tool for testing mobile apps.


Necessary to call the backdoor from if you want to use the code I wrote, but you could implement the backdoor access in any language. You just need to be able to call a MQTT broker.

Robot framework

Only necessary if you want to use it. You could run the tests in python or any other language.

Add testing backdoors to your app

Implement the backdoor in your C# app

Add a handler to the backdoor events:

// Initialize the MQTT backdoor
Task t = Backdoor.Instance.Initialize(mqttHost: "YOUR_MQTT_HOST");

// Handle backdoor events
Backdoor.Instance.BackdoorEvent += HandleBackdoorEvent;
private void HandleBackdoorEvent(object sender, BackdoorEventArgs e)
    // here is where you implement the backdoors
    if (e.Subtopic == "ReceiveNotification")

There is an example app implemented in Xamarin forms in /AppBackdoor/BackdoorExampleApp

Use the backdoor from your tests

There is a python module in appium-mqtt-backdoor\BackdoorAccess\BackdoorAccess

Call it from python like so:

from BackdoorAccess.BackdoorAccess import BackdoorAccess

backdoorAccess = BackdoorAccess(broker_host=MQTT_BROKER_HOST)
backdoorAccess.backdoor('ReceiveNotification', 'Showing popup via backdoor')

I made two examples on how to use the backdoor. One in Robot framwork and one in pure python. Both uses the same python module implementation.

Robot framework example

*** Settings ***
Library            AppiumLibrary
Library            ../BackdoorAccess/BackdoorAccess.py    

*** Variables ***
${Android apk path}         ${CURDIR}/../../AppBackdoor/BackdoorExampleApp/BackdoorExampleApp.Android/bin/Debug/com.companyname.backdoorexampleapp-Signed.apk
${Android package name}     com.companyname.backdoorexampleapp
${iOS app path}             ${CURDIR}/../../AppBackdoor/BackdoorExampleApp/BackdoorExampleApp.iOS/bin/iPhoneSimulator/Release/BackdoorExampleApp.iOS.app
${Apple team id}            

*** Test Cases ***
Test button press and notifications on Android app
    [Tags]  Android
    Open Android example app
    Click button and check that label was updated
    Simulate a notification
	Sleep  2
	Close application

Test button press and notifications on iOS app
    [Tags]  iOS
    Open iOS example app
    Click button and check that label was updated
    Simulate a notification
    Sleep  2
	Close application

*** Keywords ***
Open Android example app
    Open Application    ${APPIUM_SERVER}    platformName=Android    deviceName=Android Emulator    noReset=true    autoGrantPermissions=true  app=${Android apk path}  appPackage=${Android package name}

Open iOS example app
    Open Application    ${APPIUM_SERVER}    platformName=iOS    deviceName=iPhone 8    automationName=XCUITest    noReset=true    platformVersion=13.4    xcodeOrgId=${Apple team id}    xcodeSigningId=iPhone Developer    app=${iOS app path}

Click button and check that label was updated
	Click element  accessibility_id=A button
	Element Should Contain Text  accessibility_id=Number of button clicks  Button was pressed once

Simulate a notification
    Backdoor  ReceiveNotification  Showing popup via backdoor

Python unittest example

import unittest
import os
from appium import webdriver
from BackdoorAccess.BackdoorAccess import BackdoorAccess
import time

script_folder = os.path.dirname(os.path.realpath(__file__))

APPLE_TEAM_ID = 'your team id'

class MyTestCase(unittest.TestCase):
    def test_button_press_and_notifications_on_android(self):

    def test_button_press_and_notifications_on_ios(self):

    def open_android_example_app(self):
        desired_caps = {}
        desired_caps['platformName'] = 'Android'
        desired_caps['deviceName'] = 'Android Emulator'
        desired_caps['noReset'] = True
            'app'] = f'{script_folder}/../../AppBackdoor/BackdoorExampleApp/BackdoorExampleApp.Android/bin/Release/com.companyname.backdoorexampleapp-Signed.apk'
        desired_caps['appPackage'] = 'com.companyname.backdoorexampleapp'

        self.driver = webdriver.Remote('http://localhost:4723/wd/hub', desired_caps)

    def open_ios_example_app(self):
        # modify these capabilities to work on your machine
        desired_caps = {}
        desired_caps['platformName'] = 'iOS'
        desired_caps['deviceName'] = 'iPhone 8'
        desired_caps['automationName'] = 'XCUITest'
        desired_caps['noReset'] = True
        desired_caps['platformVersion'] = '13.4'
        desired_caps['xcodeOrgId'] = APPLE_TEAM_ID
        desired_caps['xcodeSigningId'] = 'iPhone Developer'
        desired_caps['app'] = os.path.abspath(f'{script_folder}/../../AppBackdoor/BackdoorExampleApp/BackdoorExampleApp.iOS/bin/iPhoneSimulator/Release/BackdoorExampleApp.iOS.app')

        self.driver = webdriver.Remote('http://localhost:4723/wd/hub', desired_caps)

    def click_button_and_check_that_label_was_updated(self):
        # click button
        button = self.driver.find_element_by_accessibility_id('A button')

        # check that label text was updated
        label = self.driver.find_element_by_accessibility_id('Number of button clicks')
        self.assertEqual('Button was pressed once', label.text)

    def simulate_a_notification(self):
        backdoorAccess = BackdoorAccess(broker_host=MQTT_BROKER_HOST)
        backdoorAccess.backdoor('ReceiveNotification', 'Showing popup via backdoor')

if __name__ == '__main__':


Obviously having a backdoor in your application is a data security issue. Disable all backdoors before shipping the application:

// Initialize the MQTT backdoor
Task t = Backdoor.Instance.Initialize(mqttHost: "YOUR_MQTT_HOST");


sebnil/appium-mqtt-backdoor git repo

Support me creating open source software

Flattr this git repo

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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Our game Bananpiren has launched!

After years of inactive development I have decided to release the game I made together with my brother; Bananpiren. It is a game where you control a banana boat in Gothenburg. Your task is to transport as many banana crates as possible. Give it a try!

The game was my first game project in Unity3D. Great fun creating a game, but even a very simple game like this took more time than I would like to admit to finish. Let's see if I ever make a second one. Maybe if this one becomes a great success.

Enable dark mode on your website with CSS

Dark mode is getting more and more popular. It is easier on the eyes and especially when working late. Both Windows and MacOS support setting the color scheme to a darker tint, but the websites we visit stay the same. But that might be about to change with a new CSS standard.

I added this CSS code on this website:

/* dark mode */
@media (prefers-color-scheme: dark) {
    background: #111;
    color: #fff;

  #header h1#logo a {
    color: #fff;

What it means is that if the user prefers dark mode, invert the colors and make the background dark, and the text white. It looks like this if you navigate to the site using using a browser that supports this new feature, and if you have dark mode enabled in your OS:

Support for this feature is at the moment quite low. Only the latest versions of Safari and Firefox supports it, but it looks like it will make the standard so more or less every browser will support it in a while.

Setup free VPN between Windows and Ubuntu Linux computers


Diagrammatic representation of Internet VPN (Originally uploaded by Ludovic via Privacy Canada) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_private_network

Use case, say that you have a corporate server that you want team members to access. Maybe it is running a build server (Jenkins) and source control repository (GitLab). Instead of publishing these services on the web we can keep them in a local network and then add access to them via a VPN; Virtual Private Network.

I use DynVPN and netvirt-agent. It was a bit tricky to get it working on Ubuntu linux so I decided to share the config:

sudo apt-get install supervisor
sudo nano /etc/init.d/netvirt-agent
sudo supervisorctl reread
sudo supervisorctl reload
sudo supervisorctl status

Change "sebnil" to your user.

Getting it running on Windows is much easier:


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Moved to Gold Coast, Australia

A few months ago I moved from Gothenburg to Gold Coast, Australia, to work for Volvo Penta and enjoy a sunnier life style 🙂

I have only been here 4 months, but so far I really like it. The sun is almost always shining, people are for the most part nice and helpful, salary for engineers is higher (compared to Sweden), taxes are lower and it is much easier to find a good place to live compared to Gothenburg.

I was a bit hesitant about moving to Gold Coast since I knew nothing about the place, but it is starting to grow on me. Even though it is much smaller than Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, it is still large enough to host large events and have lots of ways to waste time. The city is right by the coast, and in the background you have large mountains. My main goal right now is to get my surf going which is one of the most popular activities around here.

Real estate finder

Location, location, location! When I was searching for an apartment in Gold Coast, Australia, I wanted to have a tool that would list travel times to some important locations. For me it was travel time to and from work during rush hour, and time with public transport to the city centre. This python script does a few things:

  1. You give it a start search.
  2. The script will find the travel time to the locations (that you need to edit)
  3. Output into excel

I was experimenting a bit with making it a web app but kinda gave up. It works though, but you need to manually edit the code in a few places. Hope you find it as useful as I did!

Source code:



Python 3, pip, .. Just use Anaconda. It is great.



  • All code is licensed under the MIT License - see the LICENSE file for details

Software Engineer at Volvo Penta Oceania

Moved to Gold Coast, Autralia to work with Volvo Penta. Daily work is troubleshooting and developing control systems in marine applications.

VĂ€sttrafik Monitor v2

VÀsttrafik har uppdaterat sina api:er vilket gjorde att min bussmonitor slutat fungera. De hade gjort det lite klurigare med Oauth2 men i övrigt var det mest att byta url till https://api.vasttrafik.se/bin/rest.exe/v2/departureBoard

All kod finns pÄ Github.

Cross platform mobile app for Volvo Penta Easy Connect interface

Volvo Penta has commited to implement better connectivity functionality. Part of this was the release of Easy Connect. An app which lets boat users connect to their vessel via Bluetooth. I developed the proof-of-concept and then continued as one of the developers in getting this product to market. I was responsible for the initial requirement specification, choice of development platform and the continuous implementation of new features and bugfixes. We decided to develop the app in Xamarin to get cross platform (iOS and Android) with a shared code base. Looking back it was the right decision.