• What's involved in a code review?

  • We now live in a time of version control, git and github. If you work in software development you should be familiar with “pull requests”.

    A pull request is a way for people to contribute to your code repository.

    But that’s not all, it’s also an opportunity to review your peers code.

    Peer review – an activity in which people other than the author of a software deliverable examine it for defects and improvement opportunities – is one of the most powerful software quality tools available. Peer review methods include inspections, walkthroughs, peer deskchecks, and other similar activities. After experiencing the benefits of peer reviews for nearly fifteen years, I would never work in a team that did not perform them.

    Code reviews are really important and will actually help make your team more efficient.

    Peer code reviews are the single biggest thing you can do to improve your code - Jeff Atwood

    There’s a few tools you’ll want under your belt if you’re going to review other people’s code.

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  • The Journey to DevOps - Notes from The Project Phoenix

  • If you’ve ever looked into DevOps, you’ve no doubt come across this “evolution” type image, with an ape type figure on the left, labelled “Waterfall” and on the right, you’ve got an android labelled “Continuous Operations”. Along this evolutionary journey, you’ve got agile, lean, continuous integration, continuous delivery and continuous deployment.

    Evolution is a great analogy for a company’s journey to a DevOps culture. We know it happenes over time, the lines are blurred and each evolutionarily path is different. Evolution is not about one person, it’s not about the first person or people to stand upright or being smart enough to discover fire. It’s about growth. So, when people ask; “Are we doing DevOps yet?” It’s quite hard to really answer, because it’s a process of change and a shift in mindset.

    It’s fair to say though, that there are some characteristics of the “DevOps process”, you’ll hear people talking about servers being “cattle rather than pets”, highly scalable architecture, infrastructure as code, “release early, release often”, break up the monolith, quality built in, automated testing, etc.

    For anyone new to DevOps these terms could be completely foreign. It’s been my goal to work out where they fit in the evolutionary process. The when, rather than the how.

    The catalyst that has driven me to a DevOps culture was this idea of “pets vs cattle”. This is the paradigm of disposable server infrastructure, to stop treating our servers and services as pets and more like cattle. No longer giving them cute names and keeping them around as long as possible, instead we’ve accepted that they could go at any time and prepare for that.

    That includes laying the foundations to make DevOps possible, such as monitoring and alerting, deployment pipelines, continuous integration, infrastructure as code, auto scaling/healing, performance metrics, blue/green releases. But DevOps isn’t just a toolchain, it’s a change in culture.

    I really wanted to understand what it takes to “be DevOps”. What does that look like? Fortunately, there’s a book that goes some way to explaining what those qualities are.

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  • PHP CI with Jenkins and Docker (Part 1)

  • I’ve been developing in PHP now for longer than I haven’t.

    Going from using PHP as a hammer to a nail, using it to allow forms to send emails, to operating popular open source projects, to leading a team of developers in a business enterprise.

    One key advice I learned from running an open source project on the SourceForge platform was “release early, release often”.

    This is a mantra that I’ve always tried to stick to and its always brought me good results. As I get into more and more complex projects, both in code structure and politically, I find myself turning to tools to solve problems. One of those tools is Continuous Integration.

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  • Wavemaker - An open letter

  • After the last Wavemaker board meeting I started writing a letter to the board members. This is the contents of that letter.

    Dear Directors of the board, Friends, Wavemakers,

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  • Choosing a wifi security camera

  • I’ve recently been on the lookout for a security camera.

    Someone I know recently had a break-in at their apartment in Spain and wanted to increase their security by adding surveillance. Not only this, but sometimes they have crazy storms roll in from the sea and they want to know whether they need to visit to do any maintenance in the wake of the storm.

    My experience with home cameras is limited. In 2012, I bought a Storage Options SON-IPC1 for around £60. It had the ability to pan and tilt, but, the wifi has since ceased working and (somewhat ironically) video isn’t stored anywhere.

    I did setup the iSpy video recording software on my PC and later, Zoneminder on my network attached storage, neither solution is perfect and requires some operating maintenance to keep everything going.

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