Until we get get to be chromed-up cyborgs, we’re stuck with our meat bodies, and like many things, they need regular maintenance. Here is a brief introduction to keeping your body moving as someone who spends a lot of time sitting down.
Lua is probably my favourite “little language” - a language designed to have low cognitive load, and be easy to learn and use. It’s embedded in a lot of software, such as Redis, NGINX via OpenResty and Wireshark. It’s also used as a scripting language in games such as World of Warcraft and Roblox via Luau. This post is a brief love letter to the language, with some examples of why I like it so much.
In my first post in this pseudo-series, we covered more of the theory and organisational practices around building and operating a database-as-a-service platform. In this post, I’ll cover some of the more technical aspects of this that I think are worth considering, drawn from my own experience.
So you’ve made the decision to build a Database-as-a-Service product (or something similar). As a result, you are making state and coordination your problem. Here are some things I’ve learned to keep in mind as you embark on this project, in no particular order (other than the first). This is a long one, so a table of contents is provided to skip around to the points that interest you.
Corporate legibility is the art of making tasks, and their outcomes, easier to understand for those not directly involved. I’ll help you understand why this is an important thing to be aware of and how to use it to help your career.
Rice cookers are fascinating machines. I’ve owned one for years, as rice is a significant part of my regular diet, and it completely removes the stress of preparing rice. They also operate on a simple principle that can help us operate cloud infrastructure – the control loop.
One of the hardest things we do, as humans, is try and communicate what is going on in our minds to each other. With significant room for misunderstanding, biases, assumptions and cultural differences, communicating with other engineers (or to stakeholders) appears fraught. However, there are tools we can leverage to make ourselves understood, and to smooth the passage of information to makes sure it gets to the right people at the right time.
It’s 2AM. You’re paged to respond to a failing set of components that you are the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for. Sleepy, you load up the playbook for when the
SplineReticulatorBlocked alert has gone off, and start executing. The Incident Commander (IC) is vaguely aware of what you are doing, and checks in now and then.
Much of my current job is maintaining and enhancing control planes for Heroku’s managed data services. This post explores three patterns used to reduce operational burden and increase system safety and resiliency: state machines (and associated state-transition tables), transducers and re-entrant and idempotent operations.
Ever heard someone say “It’s only software/money/<trivial thing>, not life or death”, in the context of incidents at your company? Although mostly true, I want to talk about a time in my career when sometimes, just sometimes, it was the latter, and how it shaped my approach to operating and owning services.
When building and operating a user-facing system, especially one that is open to the public, it is important to consider the riskiness of a user, which can also be characterised as trustworthiness. These will typically be negatively correlated, with low trust indicating high risk and vice versa, but this is not always the case.
Sprezzatura is “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it”, coined by Castiglione in 1528’s The Book of the Courtier.
This is a short post on what I see are table stakes for any new user-facing service, security-wise. Mostly focused on user-focused, rather than intra-service, considerations.
Following up from last time, let’s explore the internal and insider fronts when moving beyond security towards safety for our users.
We need to move beyond mere security and towards safety for our customers and our users. This is how we can do that.
Let’s kick off 2016 with a whistle-stop tour of one of my favourite OO approaches, Service Objects, in the context of Rails.