HTTP caching is a key part of what makes the web usable, and draft standards like HTTPbis add further refinements to the existing HTTP/1.1 caching features. At WebPerfDays 2012, Mark Nottingham (@mnot) and Josh Bixby (@joshuabixby) gave some useful tips on how we can tune our web applications to take advantage of the existing and forthcoming HTTP cache features.
The last few months in London have seen a surge in interest in Continuous Delivery by companies wanting to speed up delivery of their web-based software systems. See below for a summary of the events I have been fortunate to be involved with (I know there are many more); if you’re interested in Continuous Delivery and you’re in or close to London, then join the London Continuous Delivery meetup group (#londoncd) and let’s share our experience.
(logo by @DaveNolan!)
James Betteley: Continuous Delivery using Maven
James Betteley gave a useful talk at BCS on how he used Maven in a Continuous Delivery context alongside Artifactory, Nexus and Sonar. James blogged about using Maven for Continuous Delivery back in February 2012: well worth a read, even if you’re not using the Java+Maven stack.
In July, Christopher Marsh of AKQA talked about his company’s success with Continuous Delivery on a London-based project for a large client organisation. They used GO from ThoughtWorks Studios for implementing the deployment pipeline.
I went to the London offices 7digital for a Devs In The ‘Ditch session last week, where Chris O’Dell explained how they have moved from painful, irregular releases with tightly-coupled code to frequent small releases and a service-oriented approach. The transformation took two years, and they now restrict deployable units to about a day’s worth of work to make deployment easier. GOOS co-author Steve Freeman also gave a useful talk on full-system testing, which is crucial to get right in a Continuous Delivery context.
ThoughtWorks Studios GO 12.3
The ThoughtWorks Studios product team have changed the pricing model with the 12.3 version of their agile release management tool GO: the free Community edition how has feature parity with the pay-for editions, including previously enterprise-y only features such as LDAP and Environments. This means that small teams can make full use of the excellent deployment pipeline features of GO without the price tag. I was always a bit reluctant to recommend using GO before now because the free version was feature-limited, but with all features now available in all editions, I have to say that for modelling and implementing deployment pipelines, there is other no tool which comes close to GO.
WebPerfDays EU 2012
I was fortunate to be able to present at WebPerfDays EU 2012 on how build and deployment shapes software architecture at thetrainline.com [slides] along with Andie and Oddur from CCPGames. Three of the many really excellent discussions that came up were:
- Why you should design your pipelines up front [more on this from me soon…]
- How to get real ownership of software (e.g. service/product teams, devs on call, etc.)
- Jenkins vs TravisCI vs TW GO for deployment pipeline automation
In the end, we had to be ‘evicted’ from the room; we could have gone on discussing for another hour! Apparently, one major UK publisher had nearly 10 staff in the session, and rated it the best session in WebPerfDays. It was so great to be among such brilliant minds and conversions, which led me to…
A London Continuous Delivery meetup group
Based on conversations and discussions at At WebPerfDays it was clear that a London-based meetup group centered on Continuous Delivery would be interesting for quite a few people and organisations.
A few of us agreed to get things off the ground, and we’re now on Meetup.com at London Continuous Delivery (http://www.meetup.com/London-Continuous-Delivery/) and on Twitter with #londoncd. Any help, donations, perks, etc. are very welcome.
Software performance guru Martin Thompson (@mjpt777) gave an illuminating talk on event-sourced architectures, and why event-driven, state-machine designs are the way forward for complex, multi-path software systems (“Event Sourced Architectures and what we have forgotten about High-Availability”, [slides: 700KB PDF]).
Jon Allspaw (@allspaw) from Etsy talked about the role that Anomaly Detection, Fault Tolerance and Anticipation play in producing highly scalable software systems (Fault tolerance, anomaly detection, and anticipation patterns, slides [PDF, 5MB]).
As head of technical operations at Etsy, whose web traffic is pretty substantial, Jon focused on resilience in software systems: what it is, and how to achieve it.
Stefan Tilkov (@stilkov) from innoQ gave an excellent talk on the importance of a “system-of-systems approach” to software architecture (Breaking the Monolith, slides [PDF, 1MB]). [Update: the video is now online here: http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Breaking-the-Monolith]
In essence, he argued for a distinction between micro-architecture (the design of the individual [sub]system) and macro architecture (the design of interacting systems).