Gobbling up big-ish data for lunch using BigQuery

Beers + ‘WSPR’ = fun

To this day, I’m a firm believer in the benefits of simple, informative, and spontaneous conversations with my colleagues – at least with the ones who can stand me long enough to chat with me . Chewing the fat with other like minded folks over a beer or two is a bloody good thing. It’s how ideas are born, knowledge is shared, and relationships are formed. It’s an important aspect of any business that is sadly all too often overlooked.

Will Swift be the next king of server side development?

Swift throne

In June 2015, Apple announced at WWDC that they were open-sourcing the Swift language and its runtime libraries. On December 3rd that year they made good on their promise. In this post I’d like to talk about why this is significant, particularly for server-side developers.

Style Guides and AEM: Fitting a Square Peg in a Round Hole

Adobe-Marketing-Cloud

There is a push in the industry to code against an external style guide to maintain consistent styling, have a reusable set of components to build applications with and provide a shared vocabulary for teams to communicate. The goal is that any web application built in an organisation can make use of this style guide to re-use existing CSS rules and/or Javascript functions. For example, one of the more well-known and recently-published style guides is the U.S. Web Design Standards, which will enable U.S. government agencies to create a unified user experience throughout their web applications.

When dealing with modern web applications, integrating a style guide is a relatively straightforward process. It often involves leveraging the existing Javascript build tooling to pull assets down via npm, and then having those assets processed as part of the build pipeline along with your application’s styles/scripts. Alternately, you can simply copy-paste a version of your style guide’s artifacts into your application – the quick and dirty way.

However, things are not always this easy. In my experience working with AEM/CQ, integrating a style guide into a project has consistently been a challenge.

To be fair, style guides are not to be blamed for this. AEM’s strict file structure, meta-data (.content.xml files and the like) and reliance on Java technologies can make it challenging to integrate with Javascript-based tooling. Each project generally ends up with a set of custom scripts to achieve this integration, resulting in a solution that is simply not maintainable. If you’ll indulge me for a moment, I’d like to take this opportunity to run through a few solutions I’ve come across to integrate style guides with AEM.

Tips for AEM Beginners

Adobe-Marketing-Cloud

I started using Adobe Experience Manager (CQ 5.6.1) with a focus on component development and building OSGi services and I strongly believe that learning how to leverage AEM’s capabilities (as well as it’s underlying technologies like Apache Sling) are key to a successful CMS implementation.
With that in mind, I’ve been keeping a list of useful tips and tricks that I’d like to share with you. These are mostly about increasing productivity when working with AEM or just general things I wish I knew about earlier. This post is targeted more at developers starting out with AEM but I’m also hoping more seasoned users can benefit from it too.

Google Cloud Dataproc and the 17 minute train challenge

multiple-seats

My work commute

My commute to and from work on the train is on average 17 minutes. It’s the usual uneventful affair, where the majority of people pass the time by surfing their mobile devices, catching a few Zs, or by reading a book. I’m one of those people who like to check in with family & friends on my phone, and see what they have been up to back home in Europe, while I’ve been snug as a bug in my bed.

Stay with me here folks.

But aside from getting up to speed with the latest events from back home, I also like to catch up on the latest tech news, and in particular what’s been happening in the rapidly evolving cloud area. And this week, one news item in my AppyGeek feed immediately jumped off the screen at me. Google have launched yet another game-changing product into their cloud platform big data suite.

It’s called Cloud Dataproc.

Scurvy, A/B Testing, and Barack Obama

obama_ab.jpeg

It’s being almost 3 months since I start implementing A/B tests for one of our clients and I have to say I am enjoying it a lot.

A/B testing is very powerful technique. Not only does it increase your web site conversion rates, it also promotes innovation and encourages data-driven solutions.

In this article I will give an introduction to A/B testing by asking an important question: what have scurvy, A/B testing and Barack Obama all got in common?

Getting New Relic and RDS to play nice

Mismatched plug and socket

Anyone who’s ever had to support server infrastructure of any kind knows the value of having a comprehensive, automated monitoring solution in place. With this in mind, we have begun to roll out the New Relic platform to monitor all our AWS based servers. New Relic comes with many great monitoring metrics straight out of the box, but still has the flexibility for software developers to create their own plugins for customized metrics on just about anything your users will care about.

Concordion Integration With Jenkins

Monkey_Office_1A

We recently introduced acceptance test driven development (ATDD) at a client. The idea was for the product owners, developers, and testers to work as a team to come up with the acceptance criteria for user stories before development begins. We adopted this approach as an attempt to increase a shared understanding of user stories, as well as a shared agreement on the definition of ‘done’.

As we introduced more functionality to the application, it became evident that more and more effort had to be put into regression testing prior to a software release. The application has to be supported on mobile (iOS and Android) and desktop (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, IE8 and above). Our team of 2 to 3 testers would spend up to 3 days testing for regressions! In an attempt to reduce the need for talented testers to carry out monkey work, the team began to push for a focus on automated browser-level testing.

In this post I will demonstrate the acceptance testing framework we used and describe how the test suite can be tied to a Jenkins build (with a beautiful results page!).