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The state of internal tools in 2021

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Developers spend more than 30% of their time building internal applications. That number jumps to 45% for companies with 5000+ employees. And on top of that, 4 out of 5 teams plan to keep or increase this level of investment over the next 12 months.

Why are internal tools and apps so important? And why do developers spend so much time on them? We surveyed 650 developers and builders (see full PDF report here) and they had one clear goal in mind: making teams across the business more productive.

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Ship It! Ship It! #12

Grafana’s "Big Tent" idea

Gerhard talks to Tom Wilkie, VP of Product for Grafana Labs. They talk about Loki, Tempo, and how can Grafana Cloud offer such a generous free tier. The solution is in the Cortex architecture, which was used in Loki and in Tempo too. Yes, Tom is the Cortex co-author. We recommend that you listen to this episode in combination with episodes 3 and 11. That’s the best way to get a more complete picture of the topics that we discuss today.

Lastly, would you like to watch Gerhard & Tom pair-up and build Grafana dashboards like pros? Tom has this really interesting approach that Gerhard would like to learn too. We can either have a live YouTube stream, or record and then publish the video. Let us know your preference via our Changelog Slack, or just plain Twitter.

Ahmed github.com

Deploy databases and services easily for dev and testing pipelines

Peanut provides a REST API, Admin Dashboard and a command line tool to deploy and configure the commonly used services like databases, message brokers, graphing, tracing, caching tools … etc. It perfectly suited for development, manual testing, automated testing pipelines where mocking is not possible and test drives.

Under the hood, it works with the containerization runtime like docker to deploy and configure the service. Destroy the service if it is a temporary one.

Technically you can achieve the same with a bunch of yaml files or using a configuration management tool or a package manager like helm but peanut is pretty small and fun to use & should speed up your workflow!

Deploy databases and services easily for dev and testing pipelines

Databases 1729.com

The billion user table

Jon Stokes believes blockchain tech has the opportunity to take us from a world where individual corporations build their siloed users tables to a world where the entire Internet shares a single users table.

In place of a decentralized network of user data silos connected by APIs, there’s a single decentralized user data store accessible via an open protocol and a decentralized network of storage nodes. So the identity-hosting blockchain represents decentralization at the datastore implementation layer, and recentralization at the datastore access layer.

What would this produce? Jon envisions this:

Moving identity on-chain, and thereby removing the possibility of users-table-centric network effects, completely up-ends the entire landscape of API-based, access-controlled interoperability that the present Internet is built on. All of the non-technical market and political dynamics around users table size, leverage, and risk suddenly go out the window.

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Reinventing the on-prem deployment model

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There’s a new architecture and deployment paradigm that is gaining momentum and addresses the issues we have today by merging the best from both worlds, on-prem and SaaS.

The SaaS software delivery model has completely transformed the industry and for a good reason. It offers an amazing combination of easiness and maintainability that wasn’t possible in the past with older software delivery models. It works amazingly well when we want to deliver software like CRMs, Marketing platforms, etc.

Regardless of its success, there are still challenges with the adoption of SaaS, especially in the enterprise market where security and compliance are of great importance. Today, with the rapid growth of data-related products, the SaaS model is getting even more challenged while compliance and security are not just an enterprise concern anymore.

This post shares in more detail why we need a new paradigm and what this new model has to offer.

Kubernetes stackoverflow.blog

Why you should build on Kubernetes from day one

To k8s or not to k8s, that is the question on lots of people’s minds these days. In this post on Stack Overflow’s blog, Max Horstmann argues it’s worth doing… and worth doing right away.

If you’re building a new app today, it might be worth taking a closer look at making it cloud-native and using Kubernetes from the jump. The effort to set up Kubernetes is less than you think. Certainly, it’s less than the effort it would take to refactor your app later on to support containerization.

History whyisthisinteresting.substack.com

The history of regular expressions

Buzz Anderson lays out the history of one of the most beloved/hated tools in every developer’s tool belt:

The concept of a regular expression has a surprisingly interesting history that dates back to the optimistic, mid-20th Century heyday of artificial intelligence research.

The term itself originated with mathematician Stephen Kleene. In 1943, neuroscientist Warren McCulloch and logician Walter Pitts had just described the first mathematical model of an artificial neuron, and Kleene, who specialized in theories of computation, wanted to investigate what networks of these artificial neurons could, well, theoretically compute.

Alex Koutmos akoutmos.com

The human side of Elixir

Alex Koutmos:

If you follow my blog, you have probably noticed that my articles usually revolve around some deep technical problems and how to go about solving these problems using the amazing Elixir programming language. These posts usually discuss the technical merits surrounding Elixir and the Erlang virtual machine, but rarely touch on the “human” aspects of Elixir.

The goal of today’s post will be to address some of the non-technical aspects of the Elixir programming language and talk about the profound impact they can have on your engineers and your business. I’ll start off by addressing one of the most common concerns I come across when it comes to Elixir - that being that “It is hard to find Elixir developers”.

An excellent goal for a blog post. I’d love to see more like this for each and every sub-community in the software world.

Martin Heinz martinheinz.dev

The unknown features of Python's `operator` module

At the first glance Python’s operator module might not seem very interesting. It includes many operator functions for arithmetic and binary operations and a couple of convenience and helper functions. They might not seem so useful, but with help of just a few of these functions you can make your code faster, more concise, more readable and more functional. So, in this article we will explore this great Python module and make the most out of the every function included in it.

Practical AI Practical AI #142

Building a data team

Inspired by a recent article from Erik Bernhardsson titled “Building a data team at a mid-stage startup: a short story”, Chris and Daniel discuss all things AI/data team building. They share some stories from their experiences kick starting AI efforts at various organizations and weight the pro and cons of things like centralized data management, prototype development, and a focus on engineering skills.

Productivity github.com

A Unix-style personal search engine and web crawler for your digital footprint

Apollo is a different type of search engine. Traditional search engines (like Google) are great for discovery when you’re trying to find the answer to a question, but you don’t know what you’re looking for.

However, they’re very poor at recall and synthesis when you’ve seen something before on the internet somewhere but can’t remember where. Trying to find it becomes a nightmare - how can you synthezize the great material on the internet when you forgot where it even was? I’ve wasted many an hour combing through Google and my search history to look up a good article, blog post, or just something I’ve seen before.

If you scan Apollo’s README, you’ll know the author has put a lot of thought into this project. The more I grokked it, the more I thought of Monocle (which we’re doing an episode about soon). Turns out, it’s a direct inspiration (along with Serenity OS for the design).

David Sacks sacks.substack.com

Building out your SaaS org

David Sacks shared frameworks for Series A, B, and C stage SaaS startup orgs, saying they can be “helpful as a starting point.”

You’re the founder of a nicely growing SaaS startup which has just raised a Series A, Series B, or Series C funding round. You need to hire rapidly to seize the opportunity. But how much should you hire, what roles should you hire, and what should the org chart look like when you’re done?

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