So after taking a brief break to write about Twitter, because that’s everyone’s new favorite hobby, I wanted to revisit part of my central thesis in my posts on platform engineering – that it’s hard to find places with actual cross-functional teams capable of doing everything needed to build and run an application or service from concept to being used in production. I’m not totally sure why this is something that organizations don’t want to do, but I still don’t platform engineering is the solution (or as I’m sure some companies will try to spin it, “compromise”). Continue reading »
Elon Musk has tweeted extensively about Twitter and journalism, and what that can mean for the future. I know a lot of people like to complain about his approach to running Twitter, but I think there’s something to his ideas. I once thought that WikiTribune would be the bridge that leads to a new type journalism due to its wiki-style approach. I was clearly wrong, as WikiTribune lasted about 2 years and is now a social media site. Twitter, however, may be able to succeed where WikiTribune failed, assuming it can figure out a business model that keeps the servers on.
Will platform engineering be the mass-reproducible secret to great software development?
When people talk about the “death of DevOps,” platform engineering is brought up as its successor. That’s probably overstating things. The practices associated with platform engineering certainly look like they have a lot to offer, but getting platform engineering right is difficult. And getting platform engineering right is important, because that’s the only way platform engineering is going to work. Otherwise, what you’re going to end up with is a mashed-up team of random engineers desperately trying to keep infrastructure afloat while developers wreak havoc on everything.
I came across an article titled “Devs don’t want to do ops” that started with the premise that developers managing their own production infrastructure is stressful (it is), questioned whether development and operations should be separated again, and settled on declaring “DevOps is dead,” and that platform engineering is the future. It was quite a ride. It also raised some good questions about DevOps, and the ideal approach to building and running code. Is DevOps really dead? Is platform engineering really the future? What does it mean to “own your own code in production?”
I’ve been thinking a decent bit about architecting services lately, and kept finding myself going to the topic of how useful it would be to make “general infrastructure” services (like an offline job processor, or gateway for capturing client events from your web application) shared resources versus making teams deploy and manage their own instances of those services in the broader context of their own work. Re-using existing services has a lot of appeal, but it’s really something that needs specific conditions to succeed. That said, advances in cloud provider functionality would have made implementing a lot of services easier, and my general approach to building applications has changed as a result. Continue reading »
I’ve been sitting down and spending some more time with the Hotwire framework after building an initial proof-of-concept and moving towards a simple 0.1 version of something. I still really like the framework, mostly because it simplifies a lot of development, without feeling like I’m sacrificing anything. Not only am I not doing as much work in the front-end, but the advantage of server-side rendering means there’s little to no state to manage in the front-end, which seems to be a huge part of front-end development. Moving from the “standard” way of writing a static webpage and populating it based on JSON data to rendering the page on the server-side is a change in how back-end development gets approached, but really it’s not as much as you may think. I stand by my comments in my original post – Hotwire is my first choice for a front-end framework.
From the “stuff I screwed up” files – the missing email link test
I was working on hotfix that turned hotter than I wanted during the deployment, all because we missed an important test case that left us scrambling to resolve an issue during the deployment that we should have caught earlier. We got lucky and fixed it during the deployment, but we shouldn’t have been in that position because the scenario that failed was a known requirement, which means we should have tested it. So what happened? Well, point blank, we forgot a test case.
So I was working through an issue where I’m having to put together a multi-table query that gets run as part of a scheduled job, and as I’m taking a break after finding the XML file and getting this query (and resulting data mapping) added to said XML file, I come across this tweet, and it described exactly what I was feeling. Why was I shoving queries into an XML file shunted away in my
resources directory instead of just building it in the code? Surely there are better ways to construct SQL queries, right? Well, maybe, but in the end, what I was doing was probably better than I thought it was at the time.