Monthly notes 15

This time in monthly notes we cover design trends for interfaces, Apple steps up to iOS user interface templates game, learn Flexbox and Redux, something about microservices with Docker and see what GitHub has learned about CSP.

Issue 15, 28.1.2017

User Interfaces

Review of Popular Design Trends for Interfaces in 2016
What should apps look like in 2017? Let’s start with looking at what happened in 2016 with Marina Yalanska. (from iOS Dev Weekly Issue 284)

Apple iOS UI templates
Apple joined the party of iOS UI templates with their own comprehensive set. Would be nice if they would expand this to tvOS, watchOS and macOS. (from iOS Dev Weekly Issue 284)

Crash Course: UI Design
A pretty epic article by Jeff Wang that revisits the design process he took on a recent project from the UI angle. (from Web Design Weekly)

Microservices

Containers and microservices and Node.js! Oh, my!
Learn microservices, Node.js, and containers by example using the provided application. This post walks through an example application that is split out into Node.js microservices running in Docker containers. (from Microservice Weekly 64)

Building Efficient Dockerfiles – Node.js
Old but good to know. Many Dockerfiles are written inefficiently, especially if you’re using npm. You should use caching to improve the performance of your Docker container. tl;dr; add package.json to tmp before running npm install in there. (from WDRL 166)

Making microservices more resilient with circuit breaking
‘Circuit breaking’ is the idea of shutting off traffic to an instance if requests to it fail too frequently. Good article of how linkerd can help you with it. (from Web Operations Weekly 99)

On the front end

Understanding Flexbox: Everything you need to know
A very thorough attempt to cover all the fundamental concepts you need to get comfortable with the CSS Flexbox model. (from Front-end focus 273)

React or Vue: Which Javascript UI Library Should You Be Using?
If you’re not sure which to pick, start here. (from Weekend Reading)

Thinking in Redux (when all you’ve known is MVC)
Good explanation of Redux with React although the article uses it with React Native. Redux is quite simple in concept but you’ve to think differently how things work. Another option to Redux would be to use Mobx.

Accessibility testing with Intern
Covering unit tests and functional tests, The Intern is a nice testing tool for JavaScript. But you can also use it for accessibility testing. (from WDRL 163)

Security

GitHub’s post-CSP journey
Previously Github shared their learnings from using the Content Security Policy at github.com. Now they share more learnings in and the focus lies on i.a. img-src, form nonces, same-site cookies. (from WDRL 166)

Something different

Finnish mountain biking expertise was awarded a couple of Design and Innovation Awards this year: Pole Evolink 140 and Huck Norris. The super long and slack Pole Evolink 140 bike throws up questions about geometry standards. And although not a new innovation with protecting your rims and tyres, the Huck Norris anti-pinch-flat insert is a plastic foam ring effectively protects your rims from dents and reduces the risk of burping. You can ride tubeless with an even lower tire pressure or even a lighter carcass, plus glean more grip.

2016 Retrospective

A year has again come to its end and it’s time to look back what I’ve managed to write about and do some planning for the new year of 2017. In 2016 my writing schedule was as leisurely as usual and I managed to put together of 20 articles which nine of them are about weekly notes. On average I managed to keep my pace of at least one post per month. Yay but it should be better. Things have gone quite well, I’ve learned new things and got things done :)

Keeping up with Weekly/Monthly notes

Last year I started writing Weekly notes series about interesting articles I come across from several software development related newsletters and while reading Twitter, Reddit and Hacker News. I planned to write them weekly but as practice showed it turned out to be monthly.

Learning from others at meetups

One way of learning new things is to hear how others do things and get do ideas how to make things better. I’ve found that attending meetups and conferences are nice way to both freshen your thinking and get to know people working in the same field.

Some of the meetups I went was about container orchestration with CoreOS which provided introduction, nice lessons learned and Kontena, CoreOS war stories.

More interesting meetup in DevOps field was DevOps Finland Meetup goes Mobile where we heard how continuous delivery works for mobile applications at Zalando, learned mobile testing with Appium and what’s Qvik’s efficient mobile development cycle.

Software development as usual

At work I’m developing web applications mainly with React and Java but looking for better tools is always good. Modern Java is nice but using Kotlin is better although I didn’t get the opportunity to push it into production. Kotlin felt nice and somewhat similar to Swift.

Doing microservices has last year gained more momentum and one good way to keep your docker containers small is to build them with Alpine Linux. Using minimal base image for you container is efficient both on size and having smaller footprint thus making the attack surface smaller. Alpine doesn’t use glibc but musl libc which may limit it use cases but e.g. Java and Node.js applications are running fine on top of it.

In software field I deployed Piwik web analytics as we couldn’t use Google Analytics. Piwik seems to be nice and open source alternative for analytics and has this far worked nicely.

HTTPS has become more affordable and even free with Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates. Setting up Lets Encrypt is relatively easy but using them needs also some automation with simple scripts.

One thing I didn’t have time to write was about JavaScript development with React and TypeScript which certainly would be worth writing. Can’t say I like using TypeScript where plain ES6 would work better. Although TypeScript has become better with version 2.

Other things

As much as I love software development I like mountain biking and last year some interesting technology was presented to protect your tires and rims: Huck Norris and Procore. Whereas Huck Norris is lightweight solution to puncture prevention Procore provides better protection and they both have their use cases.

Schwalbe Procore parts

Huck Norris

I’ve used Irssi for communicating with friends in IRC but I also tried to switch to using Weechat. Didn’t quite make the cut and nowadays IRC has almost lost to Telegram and Slack.

New year, interesting things ahead

What the year 2017 brings can’t be predicted but at least my personal goals will be learning React Native and doing some development also for Android. Mountain biking will have a big part in the Summer when the Enduro racing season starts and there’s couple of trips already planned.

So, stay tuned by subscribing to the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter. Check also my other blog in Finnish.