2018 Retrospective

The year has changed and it’s time for traditional retrospective of post done in 2018. By numbers 2018 was total of 23 articles which 11 articles were Monthly notes. I visited couple of conferences and some meetups, did software development and tested technology stuff. Business as usual and I presume that it’s going to continue this way also this year.

Monthly notes

It has been proved to be a good way to ensure that I keep reading what happens in software development and also think about it when I collect interesting articles to my Monthly notes series. The series continued with 11 posts.

Meetups

During the year I attended couple of meetups and if you follow me on Twitter you might have noticed that I went to more meetups than I wrote about. There are several interesting events in Helsinki you can attend almost monthly but you’ve to be quick to participate because usually events fill up quickly. But although the event seems to be full, there’s often spots left as some people don’t cancel if they can’t make it.

Information security related meetups are always interesting and I participated couple of OWASP Helsinki meetings.

OWASP Helsinki chapter meeting 34: Secure API told about “Perfectly secure API” and “Best friends: API security & API management”. The event gave good overview to the topics covered and was quite packed with people. Eficode’s premises were modern and there was snacks and beverages. And also a sauna.

Have you ever wondered how to become a bug bounty hunter or wanted to organize a bug bounty program? OWASP Helsinki chapter meeting 35: Bug Bounty programs told all about bug bounty programs from hacker and organizer point of views with topics of “Hunting for bounties in a web browser”, “How to become a bug bounty hunter” and “Running a successful bug bounty program”.

In August I attended React Helsinki August 2018 meetup at Smartly.io. Topics covered “Splitting React codebases for increased development speed”, “Making your own Ignite generator – for React Native” and “Use GraphQL!”. There are links to recordings of the presentations.

Meetups and conferences are also nice way to both freshen your thinking, hear how other’s do things, get new ideas and meet people working in the same field.

Conferences

Last year there was lots of interesting conferences in Helsinki. In the Spring there was React Finland 2018 conference which told what’s hot in the React world. The two day conference covered topics of React on day one and day two was React and React Native. The two conference days were packed with great talks and new information.

Where the React Finland was a conference from developers to developers, the opposite was Red Hat Forum Finland 2018 which was held at Finlandia-talo. The mainline was “Ideas worth exploring. Come with questions. Leave with ideas.” The event was divided to keynote and to four breakout sessions. I chose to get hands-on with OpenShift.

The developer conference theme continued in Autumn with GraphQL Finland 2018. The first of its kind event in Finland brought a day of workshops and a day of talks around GraphQL. The event was organized by the same people as React Finland and it showed, in good ways. The talks were interesting, atmosphere was cosy and after party was bookie. All of the talks were live streamed and they’re available on Youtube

Software development as usual

I managed to write couple of articles regarding software development and topics surrounding it.

Writing documentation is always a task which isn’t much liked and especially with diagrams and flowcharts there’s the problem of which tools to use. I wrote about generating documentation as code with mermaid and PlantUML as an alternative to crafty Draw.io. Using mermaid or PlantUML has the advantage that you can see the changes clearly in human readable text format and maintain source-controlled diagram.

Developing modern web applications you often come to around checking REST API responses and parsing JSON values. If you’re allowed to install extra tools or use Python then things get easier as you can use command line and combine jq and Python to extract JSON values. And a further note you can also use jp, command line interfacee to JSMESPath.

A more practical approach to visualize things was when I did a build monitor with Raspberry Pi and touch screen. Information is a great tool in software development and it’s useful to have easy access to it. Using build monitor to show continuous integration status and metrics from running services helps you notice problems and get them solved quicker.

And as we know learning and staying current in software development is important and expanding your horizons can be achieved with different ways. One good way I have used is following different news sources, newsletters, listening podcasts and attending meetups.

Awesome times ahead

Years change but the blog stays pretty much the same. Also this year plans are to continue as before, write about technology, collect interesting articles, learn new things about software development and of course ride mountain bike.

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


2017 Retrospective

It’s January 2018 and while I’m gathering my notes for the year’s first post its’ good to look back what I wrote in 2017 and make plans for the new year. In 2017 I managed to write as leisurely as usual and put together 17 articles of which 6 are something other than monthly notes. On average I wrote 1.4 post per month. I visited some meetups, did software development and tested technology stuff. Business as usual and I presume that it’s going to continue this way also this year.

Monthly notes

Writing Monthly notes series about interesting articles I’ve come across has proved to be good way to ensure that I keep reading what happens in software development and also think about it. Collecting articles to monthly post have worked better than publishing weekly. In July I was mostly mountain biking and away from the computer so there was no Monthly notes.

Meetups

Meetup scene in Helsinki has grown and there are several interesting events you can attend almost monthly. But that said, it’s also starting to get growded and events with good topics tend to fill up quickly. I usually find myself going to events to hear war stories of Amazon Web Services, Docker, DevOps, Frontend and Mobile. It’s useful to hear how other’s do things and get new ideas. Meetups and conferences are also nice way to both freshen your thinking and get to know people working in the same field.

In Nebula Tech Thursday – Beer & DevOps we heard stories about “Cloud Analytics – Providing Insight on Application Health and Performance” and “Building a Full Devops Pipeline with Open Source Tools”. OWASP Helsinki chapter meeting #31 presented topics like “DevSec – Developers are the key to security”, “Docker Security” and “Leaking credentials – a security malpractice more common than expected”. Both events where nice and as usual Nebula Tech Thursday with great food and drinks. If you follow me on Twitter you might have noticed that I went to more meetups than I wrote about, like Solita Core and Slush.D.

Software development as usual

Microservices and Docker has evolved the way we do things and to Dockerize all the things you can run Ansible inside Docker container. You might ask why and that’s easy to answer: isolating all of the required dependencies from the host machine and to get the Ansible version we want.

For making software development more reliable I introduced git pre-commit and pre-receive hooks for validating YAML to our continuous integration process. Validating YAML can be done by using a yamllint and hooking it to pre-commit or pre-receive helps you to automate the check for syntax validity, for weirdnesses like key repetition and cosmetic problems such as lines length, trailing spaces and indentation.

Other things

As an engineer I’m interested of technology and gadgets and sometimes I get things to test. In July I wrote about keeping data secured with iStorage datAshur Personal2 USB flash drive. It is an USB flash drive with combination of hardware encryption, physical keypad and tamper-proofing. Small external devices are easy to lose and can leave your data vulnerable if not encrypted. The hardware encrypted USB flash drive seemed to be quite crafty.

Awesome times ahead

New year, old me. Or something like that. Plans are to continue as before, write about technology, collect interesting articles, learn new things about software development and of course ride mountain bike. The training for the Enduro racing season has already started.

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

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.

Looking back, planning ahead

Again a year has passed and it’s time to take a short look back and plan for the next year. A year ago I wrote that in the year 2012 the blog would be more active and I partly managed to keep up that promise with 9 articles. Not quite at least an article per month as I planned.

The articles in 2012 started with technical issues like running Crucible as a service, JSF 1.2 and value from dropdown menu and using CAcert.org signed certificates for TLS. In the Autumn as a Fujitsu LIFEBOOK4Life Insider I reviewed Stylistic M532 Android tablet and wrote about my visit to Fujitsu Forum 2012. There were more technical issues to write about software development but again the time ran out. It’s so much easier to say couple of words in Twitter or Google+ than write a coherent and insightful post about it :)

The year 2013 is almost here so it’s time to plan ahead. There are already some articles about Apache Wicket and running different development tools on Linux in the backlog waiting to be finished and some technical tasks like upgrading the theme and maybe changing the VPS provider are to be done. Will see if I manage to achieve one article per month so subscribe to the RSS feed and stay tuned.

Happy New Year!