DevEx at Infinity Works

We attended QCon in London last month (which as an aside, I highly recommend if you’ve not been before) and one of the day’s tracks that caught my attention was looking at “DevEx” or “Developer Experience” - the daily life of developers/engineers and how that might be improved through better tooling, process and skills. It got me thinking - what is the “DevEx” for engineers at Infinity Works and what are the things we can do to nurture it?

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Paul Lucas

Thoughts on a Hackathon

So I took part in my first Hackathon at the weekend, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I thoroughly enjoyed it - enough to write down a few thoughts.

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Jake Hall

Why do a code review?

Code reviews are an integral part of the teams that I work on, and recently I was asked what value they added versus the time they took. Here are a few thoughts about why they are absolutely vital to any software development project.

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Jake Hall

Google Cloud OnBoard

At Infinity Works, many of us use AWS routinely, but we’re less experienced with Google Cloud Platform. So I decided to find out more and signed up for a one day Google OnBoard event recently. I wasn’t surprised to see a lot of similarity between AWS and GCP. But there were a number of important differences, too — and in many ways GCP looked better. Some of the differences were small conveniences, while others were much more fundamental.

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Ivor Caldwell

Slack Notifications & Alertmanager

A simple guide, taking a look at how we can enhance the quality of the alert notifications we receive from Alertmanager in our Slack channels. The changes we run through allow us to enrich the quality of the information in our alerts, allowing us to make better decisions up-front when responding to an event.

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Ed Marshall

Generating new master key shares in Vault

Vault makes use of Shamir’s secret sharing scheme to split a master key into n pieces, requiring at least k of them to be presented at unseal time. At initialisation time, the user specifies what values n and k should take. However, Vault does not make it possible to change the number of shares after initialisation without recreating new shares for existing shareholders. Shamir’s scheme does allow this so I decided to raise a pull request implementing this functionality.

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James Hall

Getting REST right

It seems everyone is building a REST API these days - this is great! It’s not easy, but there are a few key things you can do to make it easy for your consumers of your API.

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Jake Hall

Opening up security

I believe that there has been a cultural shift in recent years around who is responsible for implementing security within a business, and that development teams are becomming more involved in the implementation of security practice, and thereby becoming leaders in it.

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Thomas Gray

Architecting for Agility

The days of imposing an Enterprise Architecture top down are gone. It doesn’t scale and it doesn’t create good architectures. Now it’s all about building the right culture and community, effecting architectural change through organisational change, and creating generative feedback mechanisms which cause sustainable architectures to grow. Instead of cost reduction we focus on maximising customer value and organisational resilience. Build communities. Optimise for flow, not control. Decide by learning, and learn by doing. Good architectures grow from small and simple beginnings.

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Ivor Caldwell

Hiring our jugglers

Every now and then a rash of blog posts appear looking at the process of hiring good engineers. Some just lament the difficulty (it is hard!) and some claim a new silver bullet by doing something unusual. The markets we hire from in both Leeds and London are highly competitive and the best people usually have several companies vying for their attention. When you do find someone there is the difficult task of measuring whether they’ll actually be any good at the job.

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Paul Lucas

Visualising Our Digital Footprint

Visualisation has always been a critical component of the services I’ve worked on. I believe that visualising the services you run and the systems you manage, is a key part of engaging your teams and enabling them to buy into the services you provide. I’ll likely explore this subject further in a future blog, for now though I’d like to talk about visualisation, in this instance of our digital footprint at Infinity Works.

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Ed Marshall

Monitoring Round Table

At Infinity Works, we use a variety of different monitoring tools with our clients: Prometheus, AWS CloudWatch, AppDynamics, Splunk, ELK etc. They all appear similar or appear to do similar things, but actually work in very different ways. We got together to talk through the options, starting by getting some definitions out of the way.

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Infinity Works

Promcon 2016

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak alongside an old friend, Chris Urwin, at Promcon in sunny Berlin. Promcon 2016 was the inaugural Conference for all things Prometheus. For those of you unfamiliar with Prometheus, it’s in essence a queryable metrics store built upon a time series database.

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Ed Marshall

Chaos and Innovation

The word ‘chaos’ is used in the Cynefin framework to describe a domain where the agents of a system have no constraints. While the chaotic domain can be a bad place to be, in the right circumstances it can be used to fuel innovation. Liz Keogh has previously posted about isolated idea generation and Cognitive Edge have developed a pattern called Ritual Dissent in order to perform a ‘shallow dive’ into chaos. In this post I’d like to talk about how hack days can be used to do this, provided certain precautions are taken.

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James Hall

Container Round Table

Over the last few years, Linux containers and associated technology (Docker, container registries, container orchestration tools) have been widely adopted, with our consultants using them in a number of scenarios, from simplifying the creation of local and shared test environments to running large scale production systems on premises and in the cloud.

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Infinity Works