Web Developer Tools from Browserling

browserling-effortless-cross-browser-testing

Browserling – an awesome cross-browser testing service, has a collection of Web Developer Tools, which are as simple to use as possible.  There are now more than 80 (!!!) tools, according to this Peteris Krumins blog post, that provide immediate help with things like converting dates and times, formats like CSV, JSON, Markdown, HTML, XML, etc, generating passwords, minimizing or prettifying HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more.

On Google+ success from 5 years ago

One of the benefits of having your own blog is all the archives that are accumulated over time.  Web services, platforms, and social networks come and go, and so does your content when you choose to use them.  But with your own piece of the Internet, you get to keep it all.

It’s always interesting to see what I was into and what I was thinking like years ago.  Especially when it comes to predictions and forecasting.  Especially with the technology, which moves so fast.

Here is, for example, something that I shared 5 years ago (to the day):  On how Google+ will succeed.  Now that never happened.  In fact, almost the opposite is happening:

Horowitz made a point to emphasize, once again, that Google+ isn’t going away. Instead, he reiterated that the company will be offering “a more focused Google+ experience.”

In other words, Google+ has a core set of users that really do enjoy using the service. “Google+ is quickly becoming a place where people engage around their shared interests, with the content and people who inspire them,” Horowitz said.

More specifically, Google plans to continue to offer new features in Google+ and move “features that aren’t essential to an interest-based social experience” into existing products.

This just tells you how “trustworthy” is my opinion on things…

“AWS Week in Review” goes open

I’ve been a big fan of Amazon AWS for over two years now.  One thing that absolutely blows me away is how much activity there is in Amazon AWS development.  Every day there is an announcement of a new services or updates to the existing ones.  In order to help people keep up with all the updates, Jeff Barr of Amazon was blogging “AWS Week in Review” for a few years.

First "Week in Review"

Now, imagine this – there is so much new stuff going on that it takes hours to prepare each of those blog posts:

Unfortunately, finding, saving, and filtering links, and then generating these posts grew to take a substantial amount of time. I reluctantly stopped writing new posts early this year after spending about 4 hours on the post for the week of April 25th.

This is insane!  So he almost gave up on the idea, as it is too time consuming.  But people want it.  What’s the solution?  Go Open Source!

The AWS Week in Review is now a GitHub project (https://github.com/aws/aws-week-in-review). I am inviting contributors (AWS fans, users, bloggers, and partners) to contribute.

Every Monday morning I will review and accept pull requests for the previous week, aiming to publish the Week in Review by 10 AM PT. In order to keep the posts focused and highly valuable, I will approve pull requests only if they meet our guidelines for style and content.

At that time I will also create a file for the week to come, so that you can populate it as you discover new and relevant content.

I think that’s a brilliant move.  Those weekly review posts are super useful for anyone involved with Amazon AWS.  They should keep coming.  But the time cost involved is understandable.  So crowd-sourcing this is a smart way to go about it.

I hope this will not only continue the blog post series, but also take it to the new level, with more section, content, and insight.

Well done!

How the Internet works

cable

Ars Technica runs a nice overview article “How the Internet works: Submarine fiber, brains in jars, and coaxial cables“.  It features plenty of cool images, statistics, and details of the Internet wiring from under the sea to the last mile to the last 100 meters.  It’s mostly focused on UK, but it provides a good understanding of what’s involved in the modern day connectivity.

P.S.: On a less serious note, here’s The IT Crowd take on how the Internet works.  Thanks to Maxym Balabaev for a reminder.

10k Apart – Inspiring the Web with Just 10k

10k apart

From this article, I’ve learned about an excellent (for our times) 10k Apart competition:

With so much of an emphasis on front-end frameworks and JavaScript runtimes, it’s time to get back to basics—back to optimizing every little byte like your life depends on it and ensuring your site can work, no matter what. The Challenge? Build a compelling web experience that can be delivered in 10kB and works without JavaScript.

Think you’ve got what it takes? You have until September 30th.

I can’t wait to see the submissions and all the ways to squeeze the awesomeness of the modern web into just 10 kilobytes.  This reminds me of the Perl Golf posts over at PerlMonks and Assembly PC 64K Intro from my childhood early days (here are some examples).

Git Workflow Basics

git workflow

Git Workflow Basics” is yet another take on the git workflow.   This subject has been covered in a variety of ways before (here, here, and here, for example), but I think it’s super important for every developer to understand, so if all the other attempts left you puzzled and confused, have a look at this one.  It’s pretty straight forward.

One thing in particular that I would like to emphasize:

And hey: remember to review your own pull request before asking for reviews of your teammates. You’ll spot a lot of small things you didn’t notice (style issues, typos, etc) and will allow your colleagues to focus on what really matters.

101 Most Common Interview Questions with Pass or Fail Answers

Following the recent post “10 Favorite Job Interview Questions for Linux System Administrators“, here is a more generic, but a much more comprehensive resource – “101 Most Common Interview Questions with Pass or Fail Answers“.  It’s not as technical, but it provides a good summary of common interview questions, from the generic ones like “Why do you want to leave your current company”, through brainteasers like “How many gas stations are there in the United States?”, to stress and communication ones like “What did you do when you had a boss you didn’t get along with?”.  The good thing is that you’ll find not only the questions, but also the suggestions on how to answer them.

Altogether, it’s a great resource to go through before your next interview.  Most of these questions are very common, no matter which position you are applying to.

FotoJet – online photo editor

FotoJet

FotoJet is yet another online photo editor.  Like many others it provides a simplified user interface for manipulating images.  Two things in particular that I liked about this service are collages and social media banners.

Collage editing makes it really simple to combine multiple images into one (see the screenshot above).  Social media banners greatly simplifies the creation of images that can be used for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube channel headers.  No more searching for the appropriate dimensions, image sizes, and the like!

PHP backdoors

PHP backdoors repository is a collection of obfuscated and deobfuscated PHP backdoors. (For educational or testing purposes only, obviously.)  These provide a great insight into what kind of functionality the attackers are looking for when they exploit your application.  Most of these rotate around file system operations, executing commands, and sending emails.

One of the things from those files that I haven’t seen before is FOPO – Free Online PHP Obfuscator tool.

The Twelve-Factor App

I first heard about the twelve-factor app a couple of years ago, in Berlin, during the International PHP conference.  It was the basis for David Zulke (of Heroku fame) talk on the best practices for the modern day PHP applications.

The twelve-factor app is a methodology for building software-as-a-service apps that:

  • Use declarative formats for setup automation, to minimize time and cost for new developers joining the project;
  • Have a clean contract with the underlying operating system, offering maximum portability between execution environments;
  • Are suitable for deployment on modern cloud platforms, obviating the need for servers and systems administration;
  • Minimize divergence between development and production, enabling continuous deployment for maximum agility;
  • And can scale up without significant changes to tooling, architecture, or development practices.

The twelve-factor methodology can be applied to apps written in any programming language, and which use any combination of backing services (database, queue, memory cache, etc).

Here are the 12 factors, each one covered in detail on the site:

  1. Codebase: one codebase tracked in revision control, many deploys.
  2. Dependencies: explicitly declare and isolate dependencies.
  3. Config: store config in the environment.
  4. Backing services: treat backing services as attached resources.
  5. Build, release, run: strictly separate build and run stages.
  6. Processes: execute the app as one or more stateless processes.
  7. Port binding: export services via port binding.
  8. Concurrency: scale out via the process model.
  9. Disposability: maximize robustness with fast startup and graceful shutdown.
  10. Dev/prod parity: keep development, staging, and production as similar as possible.
  11. Logs: treat logs as event streams.
  12. Admin processes: run admin/management tasks as one-off processes.

These seem simple and straightforward, but in reality not always as easy to follow.  Regardless, these are a good goal to aim at.