What do developers need/want to hear?

  • How to use containers, even managing them.
  • Being more autonomous – developers love freedom.
  • Keeping up to date on skills (see containers).
  • Dealing with or hiding from stupid business culture in their org.
  • Getting permission to try new things.
  • Testing code, automation to avoid legacy traps.
  • More scalable architecture for distributed apps, new types of data stores for dealing with new types of apps. [Maybe Thought Works style radar thing]
  • Modernizing old core and frameworks that they’re stuck with.

What else do they like talking and learning about?

Questioning DRY


Recently, I’ve been in conversations where people throw some doubt on DRY. In the cloud native, microservices mode of operating where independent teams are chugging along, mostly decoupled from other teams, duplicating code and functionality tends to come more naturally, even necessarily. And the benefits of DRY (reuse and reducing bugs/inconstancy from multiple implementation of the same thing), theoretically, no longer are more valuable than the effort put into DRYing off.

That’s the theory a handful of people are floating, at least. I have no idea if it’s true. DRY is such an unquestionable tenant of all programming think that it’s worth tracking it’s validity as new modes of application development and deployment are hammered out. Catching when old taboos flip to new truths is always handy.
Continue reading “Questioning DRY”

What I’m looking forward to at SpringOne Platform

The biggest cloud native conference is coming up at the first week of August, SpringOne Platform. To plan out my time I took at look at the sessions. Here’s what I’m looking forward to and what I think you, dear readers, will find interesting as well. Doing a list like this, of course, ends up excluding some awesome sessions, so be sure to check out the talk list yourself as well.

Also, if you’re interested and haven’t registered yet, be sure to use the code pivotal-cote-300 to get $300 off.

Dealing with legacy

Almost every conversation I have with large organizations involves a discussion about dealing with legacy software. While you may not be running JFK era IT, you probably have to deal with legacy. Here’s some sessions on that topic:

Cloud Native Coding

Moving to The New, New Thing requires different ways of architecting and coding your software. Here’s some sessions that go over those new ways:

Case Studies

While cooked up demos of Pet Stores and Breweries are education, I’m most interested in hearing tales of what’s actually happened out in the world. Here are some of the case studies that look interesting:

The Usual Chuckle-heads

And, to highlight talks from my team:

(And, remember: if you want to come, you can get $300 if use the code pivotal-cote-300 when you register.)

Sputnik Cloud Launcher – Doing More DevOps

One of the tools in Project Sputnik is the “cloud launcher.” The idea for this tool is to help instrument a DevOps life-cycle: the tool models out a simulated cloud on your desktop during development, and then deploys it to “real” clouds once you’re ready. We demonstrated one version of the cloud launcher at Dell World this week that uses juju.

In the meantime, OpsCode’s Matt Ray has been working on another approach (which he describes in the above video) that uses Chef under the covers. See the code checked into the Sputnik repo as well. I’m looking at these two versions as proofs of concept, or even “spikes” to explore how to best implement the idea. We’re eager to get feedback and engagement from the community to figure out which approach (or a third!) is most helpful.

Project Fast PaaS and Dell Cloud Labs

A couple of developers in our Dublin cloud labs started working on Cloud Foundry and set it up to run on our Dell cloud. You can check out more info and sign up for a invite to it.

Moving Beyond The PaaS Paradox

In my strategy role I’ve been looking at PaaS for awhile now. In doing that, I keep hitting upon what I call “The PaaS Paradox.” If you take any given analysts forecasts for PaaS, the overall market looks “bad” compared to IaaS and SaaS: $2.9B by 2016 by a recent Gartner estimate – or about 3% of the ~$110B public cloud market in 2016 (I subtracted out that annoying “advertising” segment that Gartner tracks).

And then you have some real gorillas already moving in there: Microsoft, Salesforce, Google, IBM, Oracle, and so on. While several billion may seem amazing to individuals, in the IT industry, it’s not much…esp. if you’re competing with those guys. (As another data point along the PaaS road: EngineYard helpfully reports its revenue from time-to-time, $28M back in July, 2011.)

And yet, everyone is always going on about how PaaS is mega important. Each year it’s going to be “the year of PaaS,” and analyst survey data always indicates high interest in PaaS.

My theory has been that when most people, esp. all those gleeful survey respondents, think of PaaS they’re not thinking of “pure PaaS” (or 1st and even 2nd generation PaaS). Instead, they just are thinking “doing software development with cloud technologies and practices.” Once you re-calibrate your whiz-bang charts to include all of software development, “PaaS” seems a lot more attractive.

I ran this by Jeffery Hammond and James Staten in a conversation the other day and they framed it in another, interesting way: people want the ability to run, and target different frameworks in a cloud context. Heroku is the classic of example of this. While Heroku is a PaaS, it’s more about being able to run rails (and plenty of other languages and frameworks now). This flexiblity fixes that unsettling feeling that 1st generation PaaS had: you were using, essentially, a propriety framework that was limiting your choice.

Or, as Stephen puts it: PaaS is the new middleware.

With that framing, you can escape the PaaS Paradox, and PaaS is a lot more interesting. So far, Cloud Foundry has seemed one of the better architectural fits for this “PaaS as middleware” think.” As we move “Project Fast” through (the new) Dell Cloud Labs, I’ll be eager to see how that architecture plays out and even more excited to see how the Dell community reacts to and participates in the project. As with Project Sputnik, a huge part of what we’re doing is engaging with developers, which sounds like a pretty good way to spend time to me.

Also: check out some demo videos of Project Fast PaaS.

Episode 136 – Cracks in the Web UI Powerbase

In this episode, while I’m State-side, Charles is still in Finland. Thus, we start out talking about the wood-burning sauna he’s been using. We then jump into a discussion of Chrome, and then I float the theory that there’s major cracks in the dominance of web-only UIs – what with RIAs and the iPhone.

We wrap up with a special production from Charles.

Episode 130 – Pooping Your Way to Cleanliness

Pickled Okra

In this episode:

  • We start out talking about Charles’ “cleansing” efforts, which sound terrible if you like food, but he’s down for it.
  • I then tell Charles about how I like FriendFeed a lot now-a-days. As I say in the podcast, you guys should join and link up with me so I can get more content to read.
  • Charles then talks about how dealing with ruby and Java deployments is annoying and we wonder out-loud about how easy it is to deal with PHP installs – which is probably debatable given crap you’ve had the deal yourself.
  • I then detail how a little jaunt to iUseThis.com stuck me a desktop optimization rut, esp. after I found AppFresh.

  • Finally, we learn that Charles is selling one of his iMacs and – shocker! – probably going to get a ThinkPad.

Thanks to John Arley Burns for sending over the Starcontrol sounds.

Episode 129 – Cloud Conferences, Flex, Flex Builder

RIP Gonzo

This week we phoned in our recording as I was at Velocity 08, smack in the middle of a crazy week of cloud conferences – Tour de Force.com, Velocity, Cloud Camp, and then Structure.

We spend most of our time talking about Charles using Flex (without FlexBuilder) and then get into coverage of the the cloud-headed I’d been doing up to that point.

Episode 127 – Puppet, Skinless Bodies, Rational Tools, Getting Sick of Ajax

Clown Cup

In this episode, we start out talking about Puppet (whose patron company, Reductive Labs is a RedMonk client). I then re-cap the Our Bodies exhibit Kim and saw, we move onto a short discussion of using Rational Tools from Charles’ consulting days (I’ll be at RSDC next week). We wrap up with Charles’ growing distaste for Ajax, but his lack of anything else to use.

Episode 126 – Coding by Contract, Sessionful SMS, Fixing Windows

Micheladas at Arrandas

This week – download hereCharles and I start by talking about coding by contract. Then we move to the use of a persistent session with SMS systems like BrightKite (check out my BrightKite profile here) and how that might be, you know, something cool. Finally, we talk about what’s up with Windows and if Microsoft could pull an OS X with it, that is, start from scratch, more of less.

DrunkAndRetired.com Podcast Episode #121 – Co-working and ESBs

Phil's Bathroom Switch

In this episode, we start out talking about Coté’s desire to get an office or desk somewhere – maybe the co-working people in town will be something, maybe some ones else! Then we talk about ESBs – as Coté is going to MuleCon next week – and GameOn League’s own home-brew bus.

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Episode 116 – The Command Pattern Gets Interrupted by Internet Fragility

Dark Sith of Having the Flu

In this episode, a flu-stricken Coté mostly nods along to Charles comments about using the command pattern across the command line, web pages, and testing.

Sadly, Charles ‘net connection gave out mid-explanation, so we’ll have to leave you with a “to be continued” for next week.

Episode 114 – jQuery and Debit Card Fraud and The Last Firewall of Financial Security

After a Christmas break hiatus, we’re back with a quick episode on jQuery and then tales of Charles getting his debit card account hacked.

I start asking Charles if jQuery is a, sort of, JDOM like way of manipulating web pages. Charles then explains the declarative (to me, XPath-like) syntax of jQuery’s selectors. Once you select the “bag of nodes” from your web page with jQuery, you can then execute code over each of those nodes. Sort of like the inverse of using a foreach loop over a collection of items. Instead, as Charles explains, there’s this big old jQuery JavaScript object that you graft new JavaScript methods (or “extensions”) onto.

As we joke about, this way of coding is sure to drive OO-purists crazy. Also, we clarify the origins of the Subzero/Sub-zero character from The Running Man to Mortal Combat.

Charles then tells us about his recent Christmas vacation and the bummer of having someone hijack his debit card. Thankfully, Silva and he have gotten new credit cards now to stave off the annoyance of getting your checking account directly hacked.

Sounds like fun, huh?

[DrunkAndRetired.com Podcast] Episode 110 – I got a retarded Leopard

Halloween Party

In this episode we talk about a whole passel of things, most interesting of which are:

Finally, go check out DFoF!

(This episode edited by Coté.)

[DrunkAndRetired.com Podcast] Episode 109 – I’m gonna get bombed. Watch out for the shrapnel.

Charles, recording episode 109

In this episode, Charles and I talk about daiquiris and cigars in Munich; Miller High Life & Mickey’s when it comes to Charles’ decreased beer snobbery and my grandfather; giving away software to sell it; Charles take on Green IT: “turning out the light when you take a shit…wait…after you take shit”; and finally the recent WordPress acquisition, Gravatar.

(This episode edited by Coté.)

Oh, and happy halloween!:

Halloween Party

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[DrunkAndRetired.com Podcast] Episode 108 – Nestmates, Erlang, & Social Diseases

In this episode, Charles and I spend some time talking about Erlang, specifically, what the hell is up with it being such a buzz-language now.

In addition to that, we talk about some non-code stuff which I’ve forgotten.

(This episode edited by Charles.)

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