2014 Favorites

Tim Kadlec

Here are the five most popular posts of 2014, in order. That time of year again! Fast Enough. How fast is fast enough? Page weights and load times vary so much from site to site and industry to industry. While it’s easy to spot the obviously bad examples, it can be much more difficult to find the line between is “fast enough” and what is slow. “RWD Is Bad for Performance” Is Good for Performance. Myths are powerful things.

The Story of Apollo - Amazon’s Deployment Engine

All Things Distributed

Automated deployments are the backbone of a strong DevOps environment. Without efficient, reliable, and repeatable software updates, engineers need to redirect their focus from developing new features to managing and debugging their deployments. Amazon first faced this challenge many years ago. When making the move to a service-oriented architecture, Amazon refactored its software into small independent services and restructured its organization into small autonomous teams.

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Expanding the Cloud – Introducing the AWS EU (Frankfurt) Region

All Things Distributed

Today, Amazon Web Services is expanding its worldwide coverage with the launch of a new AWS region in Frankfurt, Germany. This is our 11th infrastructure region and was built to support the strong demand we are seeing in Europe and to give our customers the option to run infrastructure located in Germany. The new Frankfurt region provides low millisecond latencies to major cities in continental Europe and is also run with carbon neutral power.

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What I Read in 2014

Tim Kadlec

Time for my annual look back at what I read in the past year. Keeping in the same format as last year, each book has a rating (on a simple 5-star scale) as well as a very short review to give you (and me when I look back at this in a year or so) some idea of why I enjoyed each book. My top three choices for fiction are: The Martian , Ancillary Justice and Genesis. For non-fiction: Chuck Amuck , Stuff Matters and The Noble Approach.

Document Model Support in DynamoDB: Flexibility, Availability, Performance, and Scale.Together at last

All Things Distributed

Today, I’m thrilled to announce several major features that significantly enhance the development experience on DynamoDB. We are introducing native support for document model like JSON into DynamoDB, the ability to add / remove global secondary indexes, adding more flexible scaling options, and increasing the item size limit to 400KB. These improvements have been sought by many applications developers, and we are happy to be bringing them to you.

The Easiest Way to Compute in the Cloud – AWS Lambda

All Things Distributed

When AWS launched, it changed how developers thought about IT services: What used to take weeks or months of purchasing and provisioning turned into minutes with Amazon EC2. Capital-intensive storage solutions became as simple as PUTting and GETting objects in Amazon S3. At AWS we innovate by listening to and learning from our customers, and one of the things we hear from them is that they want it to be even simpler to run code in the cloud and to connect services together easily.

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Cloud computing in Europe should put power in the hands of the customer

All Things Distributed

This is an extended version of an article that appeared in the Guardian today. We are rapidly entering into an era where massive computing power, digital storage and global network connections can be deployed by anyone as quickly and easily as turning on the lights. This is the promise – and the reality – of cloud computing which is driving tremendous change in the technology industry and transforming how we do business in Europe and around the world.

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Expanding The Cloud - Introducing The Amazon EC2 Container Service

All Things Distributed

Today, I am excited to announce the Preview of the Amazon EC2 Container Service , a highly scalable, high performance container management service. We created EC2 Container Service to help customers run and manage Dockerized distributed applications. Benefits of Containers. Customers have been using Linux containers for quite some time on AWS and have increasingly adopted microservice architectures.

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Customer Centricity at Amazon Web Services

All Things Distributed

In the 2013 Amazon Shareholder letter , Jeff Bezos spent time explaining the decision to pursue a customer-centric way in our business. As regular readers of this letter will know, our energy at Amazon comes from the desire to impress customers rather than the zeal to best competitors. We don’t take a view on which of these approaches is more likely to maximize business success. There are pros and cons to both and many examples of highly successful competitor-focused companies.

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Expanding the Cloud: Docker Containers in Elastic Beanstalk

All Things Distributed

We launched Elastic Beanstalk in 2011 with support for Java web applications and Tomcat 6 in one region, and we''ve seen the service grow to 6 container types (Java/Tomcat, PHP, Ruby, Python,NET, and Node.js) supported in 8 AWS regions around the world.

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AWS Pop-up Loft 2.0: Returning to San Francisco on October 1st

All Things Distributed

When: October 1, 2014 at 6:30 -8:00 PM. It’s an exciting time in San Francisco as the return of the. AWS Loft. is fast approaching. We’ve been working round-the-clock, making updates to ensure the experience is more fulfilling and educational than in June. Today we’re excited to announce that…. On Wednesday, October 1 st , we’ll be returning to 925 Market Street! The AWS Loft is all about helping you scale and grow your business by offering free AWS technical resources.

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Don't Miss These Startup Activities at AWS re:Invent!

All Things Distributed

I’m excited to be heading to Las Vegas in less than two weeks for our annual re:Invent conference. One of the highlights for me is being able to host an extensive lineup of startup-focused events which take place at re:Invent on Thursday, November 13. Here’s a quick peak at the startup experience this year: Third Annual Startup Launches. I’m excited to host this event where five AWS-powered startups will make a significant, never-before-shared launch announcement on stage.

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The AWS Activate CTO to CTO series on Medium

All Things Distributed

I’m excited to announce a new blog dedicated to AWS startups. We’re launching it on Medium, itself a startup on AWS. I kicked off the blog with a Q&A with the Medium CTO Don Neufeld.

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The AWS Activate CTO to CTO series on Medium

All Things Distributed

I''m excited to announce a new blog dedicated to AWS startups. We''re launching it on Medium , itself a startup on AWS. I kicked off the blog with a Q&A with the Medium CTO Don Neufeld. I really enjoyed Don''s answers to my questions and there are some real gems in here for startup CTOs. Check it out. We''ll be keeping this blog fresh with other startup spotlights and good technical content so follow the collection and keep up

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Let's Write Some x86-64

Nick Desaulniers

…“‘Our speech interposes itself between apprehension and truth like a dusty pane or warped mirror. The tongue of Eden was like a flawless glass; a light of total understanding streamed through it. Thus Babel was a second Fall.’ ’ And Isaac the Blind, an early Kabbalist, said that, to quote Gershom Scholem’s translation, ‘The speech of men is connected with divine speech and all language whether heavenly or human derives from one source: the Divine Name.’

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Frames Per Second Prefab

The Polyglot Developer

When building a game, it is often a good idea to know your frames per second (fps) during the testing phase. It is even more important to know this when building for mobile devices that may not have the high specifications that modern computers have. The easiest method to have the frames per second display is to create a prefab that you can recycle across all your game scenes. The post Frames Per Second Prefab appeared first on The Polyglot Developer

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Reducing JavaScript Bloat with Shoestring

Tim Kadlec

Those smart and clever folks at The Filament Group formally announced yet another useful tool yesterday: a “lightweight, simple DOM utility” they call Shoestring. I’ve been using Shoestring for awhile now, and I’m a huge fan. In fact it has become my go-to solution when I need such a tool. It’s small, powerful, and very, very smart. It’s very rare that I write about a specific tool. Tools come and go.

"RWD is bad for performance" is good for performance

Tim Kadlec

Myths are powerful things. They certainly have the ability to destroy—we’ve seen that many times. But put the right spin on a myth and you can use it to build up; to create something new and better. Responsive design just can’t seem to shake the rumor that it’s bad for performance. It’s very frequently spouted as a downside of the technique—a reason why you may not want to pursue responsive design for a project. Just to be clear where I stand on this: I don’t agree.

PSA: Service Workers are Coming

Alex Russell

IF YOU DO NOT RUN A SITE THAT HOSTS UNTRUSTED/USER-PROVIDED FILES OVER SSL/TLS, YOU CAN STOP READING NOW. This post describes the potential amplification of existing risks that Service Workers bring for multi-user origins where the origin may not fully trust the content or, in which, users should not be able to modify each other’s content.

Why RWD looks like RWD

Tim Kadlec

This morning, Mark Boulton wondered aloud on Twitter about why responsive design “looks” like responsive design: I wonder if #RWD looks the way it does because so many projects aren’t being run by designers, but by front-end dev teams. This certainly isn’t the first time that someone has suggested that responsive sites have a “look” to them. In fact, it seems that particular topic has been quite popular over the last few years.

noc

Wayfair Tech

Here's our Frontline team at work, in our spiffy network operations center: [caption id="attachment_2043" align="alignleft" width="584"] Wayfair network operations center[/caption] Selling home goods on the internet isn't rocket science, but if you actually wanted to send a couch to the moon, you'd want to plan for and monitor. Read more. General Web Performance noc operations

Memory Bandwidth Requirements of the HPL benchmark

John McCalpin

The High Performance LINPACK (HPL) benchmark is well known for delivering a high fraction of peak floating-point performance. The (historically) excellent scaling of performance as the number of processors is increased and as the frequency is increased suggests that memory bandwidth has not been a performance limiter. But this does not mean that memory bandwidth will *never* be a performance limiter.

Beyond Responsive

Tim Kadlec

Jason Grigsby just wrote an excellent post talking about how he’s wrestled with trying to define “responsiveness”. When a client comes to us to help them make their existing site or app responsive, we know that we’re going to be using fluid grids, flexible images and media queries. But we also know we’re going to be using much more than just those three techniques. The best responsive web designs are doing much more.

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The Persistent Imbalance Between Supply and Demand for Software Development Labor

The Agile Manager

The growth in demand for software has consistently outpaced the growth in the supply of software developers. This has been the case for well over half a century. It's worth looking at why. Each major expansion in software development - automation (60s), productivity (80s), internet (90s), mobile (00s) - has been additive to the total stock of software in the world.

How to Easily Deploy an IMDG in the Cloud

ScaleOut Software

Cloud-based applications enjoy the unique elasticity that cloud infrastructures provide. As more computing resources are needed to handle a growing workload, virtual servers (also called cloud “ instances ”) can be added to take up the slack. For example, consider a web server farm handling requests for web users or mobile apps. Being able to add computing resources on demand keeps work queues small and ensures that web users always see fast response times.

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How to Easily Deploy an IMDG in the Cloud

ScaleOut Software

Cloud-based applications enjoy the unique elasticity that cloud infrastructures provide. As more computing resources are needed to handle a growing workload, virtual servers (also called cloud “ instances ”) can be added to take up the slack. For example, consider a web server farm handling requests for web users or mobile apps. Being able to add computing resources on demand keeps work queues small and ensures that web users always see fast response times.

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Performance Budgeting with Grunt

Tim Kadlec

It seems like the idea of performance budgeting has been gaining quite a bit of traction over the past year. This is awesome! The best way to improve web performance is to prioritize it from the get-go, and that’s exactly what a performance budget helps you do. But having the budget set in a document somewhere doesn’t accomplish much. It needs to be enforced to really matter. I’m a big fan of Grunt.js and use it on pretty much every project at this point.

AppFabric Caching: Retry Later

ScaleOut Software

We have spent a great deal of time at ScaleOut Software re-architecting our in-memory data grid (IMDG)’s code base to make best use of many cores and large memory. For example, the IMDG must be able to efficiently create millions of objects in each server to make use of its huge storage capacity. Likewise, object access paths must be heavily multi-threaded and avoid lock contention to minimize access latency and maximize throughput.

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Reports of Scale-Out’s Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated

ScaleOut Software

A recent blog post highlighted a Microsoft technical report which asserts that most Hadoop workloads are 100 GB or smaller, and for almost all workloads except the very largest “a single ‘scale-up’ server can process each of these jobs and do as well or better than a cluster in terms of performance, cost, power, and server density.” It’s certainly true that Hadoop MapReduce seems to have focused more on clustering issues than on single-server optimizations.

Uncomfortably Excited

Alex Russell

Jeremy Keith is wringing his hands about Web Components. I likewise can’t attend the second Extensible Web Summit and so have a bit of time to respond here. Full disclosure: I helped design Web Components and, with Dimitri Glazkov and Alex Komoroske , helped lead the team at Google that brought them from concept to reality. I am, as they say, invested. Jeremy’s argument, if I can paraphrase, is that people will build Web Components and this might be bad.

Book Review: Responsible Responsive Design

Tim Kadlec

Yesterday Guy Podjarny published his analysis of the use of responsive design among the top 10,000 websites. He found that adoption jumped from 10.8% to 18.7% over the last year. Another recent survey showed that a hefty 90% of publishers are looking at implementing responsive design. However you want to slice it, responsive design is an increasingly popular technique. But there are tricky issues to navigate along the way: tables, performance, and input modes—oh my!

Performance Budget Metrics

Tim Kadlec

Yesterday, Chris Coyier pondered aloud the best metric to use for a performance budget : Re: performance budgets. I wonder if measuring times is smart or not. So many variables, seems like requests/sizes/blockers easier to track. It’s an interesting question, and one that I touched on at the beginning of the year. I think it’s worth elaborating on a little. The purpose of a performance budget is to make sure you focus on performance throughout a project.

Deflation and Technical Debt

The Agile Manager

Technical debt is a useful metaphor for explaining why some code is faster to complete but more expensive to maintain. It is also helpful in explaining design decisions made for sake of expediency, or because of an outright lack of knowledge. Tech debt can be a real burden on development, particularly as it takes away time that would otherwise be directed toward productive investment in new feature development.

Velocity: Better performance through better design

Speed Curve

Improve web performance by improving your design process… it needs to be iterative, mindful, principled and visual. At my third Velocity conference for the year (this time in beautiful Barcelona) my keynote presentation explored the ways in which a thoughtfully developed design process can lead to higher functioning teams and better web performance.

IE11 and average speed update

Speed Curve

For Q2 2014 we're switching to IE11 which is now the most popular version of IE according to Akamai and StatsCounter and the average connection speed has been updated to 9.8Mbps download, 2.5Mbps upload with a 10ms latency. To keep inline with browser trends and average connection speeds SpeedCurve will begin updating the test setting every quarter.

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SpeedCurve wins Webstock BNZ Start-Up Alley

Speed Curve

I'm stoked that SpeedCurve has been chosen as one of two winners in the 2014 Webstock Start-Up Alley. I'll be using the 10k prize money and two flights to the US to attend Velocity Conf in San Fran in June and New York in September

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JS Parse and Execution Time

Tim Kadlec

Macbook Air (2014). Macbook Air (2014). Macbook Air (2014). Macbook Air (2014). On powerful devices, like my Macbook Air (2014), parse and execution time was negligible. At Velocity NY, Daniel Espeset of Etsy gave a great talk about how Etsy profiles their JavaScript parse and execution time. Even better, after the talk, they released the tool on GitHub.

Knowledge Versus Wage Work in Software Development

The Agile Manager

"Increasing numbers of people who had formerly been self-employed in workshops and cottage industry, often on a subcontracting basis, assumed new roles as part of an emerging wage-earning class. Labor increasingly became viewed as a commodity to be bought and sold.

Write a Test Case

Nick Desaulniers

Your application just broke, oh no! It couldn’t have been your code, right? I’ve always had trouble spotting mistakes in my own work such as spelling, grammar, mathematical, or even in programming. With spelling or grammar, office applications quickly pick up on my mistakes and underline them for me, but most of my mistakes come from my own hubris. I’m confident in what I do, and that gets me in trouble when I make little mistakes.

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Making is Part of Design

The Agile Manager

I had intended this month's blog to be about how industrialization would expand the secondary labor market and subsequently be a lost opportunity to create a new generation of knowledge workers rather than the next generation of wage laborers.

The CIO and M&A, Part II

The Agile Manager

Integrating businesses is no small task. Established workflows, systems and tools are vigorously defended yet poorly understood. Fearing for their jobs, people will equate systemic knowledge with job security. Many in the acquired business will cling to their legacy identity. Organizational politics - and power plays - will alter tactical integration plans.

The CIO and M&A, Part I

The Agile Manager

"It is hard not to be cynical about this. M&A is a great process for creating fees for bankers, and for destroying the value held by shareholders." -- John Authers, writing in the Financial Times Industries tend to go through waves of deal-making.

Can a Business Rent a Core Capability?

The Agile Manager

Tech utilities - things that automate administration, enable communication or improve employee productivity - started as a labor expense, became a capital expense, and have now become a rent payment. This final state is an efficient economic relationship for buyer and seller. The buyer has more flattering financial statements and can negotiate for non-core services at a gross level (e.g., a single cost per employee). The seller's income is the rent they can extract from buyers.