Open Tabs No 3

This week in Open Tabs.

Posted by Holger Reinhardt    on September 12, 2016 in Opinion tagged with Customer Development, Culture, CTO

Open Tabs is my weekly column to share links and commentary based on the list of my open (browser) tabs.

Last week was slow since it is prime vacation time here in Southern Germany. It has been, in turn, a good time to step outside the daily email, telephone and meeting vortex and do something truely revolutionary - work hands-on with some of the technologies on my personal short list.

And hands-on work I did! I finally installed Rancher on my Digital Ocean cluster and put it to good use to bring my application stacks. I have to say I am very impressed - I used to be a big Tutum fan but Docker’s pricing has decisively moved it outside of my hobby range. With Rancher I have finally found an easy-to-use docker management tool, which is open source and can be installed locally. And in addition it uses native docker-compose file syntax for application deployment. What more could I wish for?

Rancher - Docker Host

The experience has been so smooth that I am wondering if Rancher could have a place next to our CI/CD pipeline - not for automated deployments, but for ease of experimentation with various application stacks. I now run my own instances of RocketChat, ownCloud, Calibre, and - yes - my very own Minecraft.

Rancher - Deployed Stacks

But rolling my own is not without risk - so hence the first entry of my Open Tabs is Hacking Developers. I am currently looking at securing my setup using SSL as described in How To Secure HAProxy with Let’s Encrypt and Rancher’s own Load Balancer Service. Adding certificates to Rancher seems to be rather straightforward. Last but not least I am also looking into Securing Container Orchestration

Next up are Lessons from Launching Billions of Containers from the folks at http://iron.io. And even though I used Rancher for launching my stacks manually, I also want to read up on Tips for an effective Docker-based Workflow

In the Devops corner I stumbled over a Thoughtworks article on When to Automate and Why. I really like their concept of ruthless automation.

On the API and architecture side of the house I would like to read the new article from Netflix about the Engineering Tradeoffs and the Netflix API Re-architecture and the corresponding blog entry from Apievangelist on Netflix Public API Was The Most Successful API Failure Ever.

Even though we keep talking about our Cloud journey, a large portion of our business continues to come from Desktop products - and based on my own experiences using the Apple App Store on my Macbook, I tend to see predictions of Desktop dying anytime soon very sceptical. This is why I am so excited about cross-OS desktop platform like Electron, which originated from Github’s Atom Editor project. This is definetly an area I would like to get more hands-on. Since I have fairly large number of eBooks which I manage with Calibre, I was thinking to maybe try my hands on an Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) desktop client for digital libraries.

Which actually gets us back into the API story, since OPDS is nothing but an Atom protocol tailored for digital publications. You can learn the story behind OPDS by reading the wonderful article on How the New York Public Library made ebooks open, and thus one trillion times better which points to another wonderful article on The Enterprise Media Distribution Platform At The End Of This Book, and yes - Hypermedia as an inspiration for OPDS. In that latter presentation you will find a link to Library Simplified, an open source eBook library system with beautiful designed mobile clients.

For Internet of Things (IoT) I have currently two articles in my tabs: Javascript in the Realm of IoT with NodeRed and Deploying an IoT Swarm with Docker Machine.

You probably have read about the Apple event last week. Stratechery’s latest blog post looks at Beyond the iPhone. Which brings us to business strategy in general. I am currently reading Kotter’s book Accelerate which has some interesting parallels to the debate on Gartner’s model of Bimodal-IT.

If you work a lot with eBooks like me you probably end up with a large number of “highlights””. To make those highlights usuable in my normal work flow I am currently going to my account on http://kindle.amazon.com and take a snapshot of the page in Evernote. This makes it searchable. But I also haven’t given up my idea of converting them (in markdown format) to beautiful mindmaps. You can find my “weekend” project here.

Last but not least I had a very interesting discussion over at the API Academy Slack channel how the use of incentives can scew the results, as best seen in the recent news of Wells Fargo employees opening fake accounts. An interesting pointer in that discussion was to Goodhart’s Law which I had not heard before. It states that When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

This should cover it for this week. Plenty to read, think and catch up on. See you again next week.