There was DockerCon US 2016 in June in Seattle [http://2016.dockercon.com]. Docker community grows from year to year, and this is the largest Docker-centric event. There are a lot of news announced during the sessions, plenty of use-cases described, talks about success stories from enterprise level projects to middle-size Software as a Service solutions.
There was announced new version of Docker 1.12. It should be released in several weeks. There will be built-in Orchestration and Docker Swarm.
Orchestration is a set of duties for installing, updating and maintaining your infrastructure during lifetime of the application. It doesn’t seem a problem in case of several servers, but if you have more systems to hold under control in your Software as a Service project, then it would not be so easy. Orchestration have to be useful and simple. To achieve both of those goals, the orchestration is built-in into new Docker version.
Docker Swarm is a technology to install and maintain a cluster for Docker. Several systems may be joined together and treated as the saem Docker container. There are Swarm manager and worker nodes. They are communicating in secured way via TLS transparently for software developers. We can use docker CLI to create a swarm:
Web and HTML as its main technology was designed more than 20 years ago. There was just the idea to publish rich format documents and reference each other in easy way. The purpose of the Web has been changed drastically several times during these years. A proposition to reinvent HTML sounds reasonable. There is a lot of hype around new Polymer project [https://www.polymer-project.org/1.0/] provided by Google. Its version 1.0 is already released and used widely. Polymer is based on Web Components technology. In practice, it’s treated as the same.
Microservices architecture [http://martinfowler.com/articles/microservices.html] is a mature robust Web Application Development approach are widely used among all web development platforms. It allows easy integration, deployment and horizontal scaling for VPS, pure cloud or dedicated hosting.
Generally, there would be several application instances runned on the same system or separated machines. User may connect or send request to any of front-end server and that transaction may be processed by any of instance of the next layer. That looks ok till we receive another request of the same user, which involves the result of previous transaction or an object specified for this case and this user. It’s called the state. And if it holds the state on specific instance, then the request have to be routed to that instance to be processed. Another approach is to share the state among all instances we have in the cluster. Both cases needs additional efforts for design, implementation and support. JWT provides a solution for this problem.
Layout as a problem
At design point of view, any web site needs some sort of layout. It’s a mandatory Web Development aspect for even very basic HTML content like landing pages. Modern web picture have to be splitted into logical parts in terms of some structure. The problem is the nature of the web. 30 years ago, when the web was actually invented, a page was treated as pure top-to-bottom flow of a text content and images. That was original layout only. A lot of technologies have been applied since that time. E.g., pure HTML tables, floating div elements. Most of them look like hacks. Keep in mind, there were outstanding features and behaviour of specific browsers and their versions. Yes, I’m talking about dark times of IE6. The situation became even worse because we had to support wide range of mobile devices in responsive way. To solve all these problems there are a lot of grid system implementations available as standalone libraries or complete Web Development frameworks. E.g., Bootstrap [http://getbootstrap.com], Foundation [http://foundation.zurb.com].
Flexbox as a standard solution
Flexbox [https://css-tricks.com/snippets/css/a-guide-to-flexbox/] is not just one more solution, but rather a standard that solve layout problem on basic level. It would be better to have it initially at the beginning of Web Development epoch. W3C is going to add Flexbox to its official standards soon. Technically, it’s not a library but just a set of CSS3 properties to layout DOM elements. There are 3 versions of Flexbox properties set: old, tweener and new.
This month we created REST service as a project. Technical requirements were to use Hapi.js architecture [http://hapijs.com] to implement a solution. It’s a better alternative for well-known express framework. The problem with express is its simplicity in design. One of the goals of its authors was to make it as simple as possible. But in real life it’s not a criteria. You have to spend a lot of time to configure all components you need for your application. E.g., getting raw HTTP request content needs particular middleware attached into some point of HTTP request/response chain. That’s why a lot of teams and projects choose something more robust. Hapi provides very good balance between simplicity and power.
Beyond express framework
Hapi was created by Walmart software development team to hold under control their black-friday storm. By the way, this fact shows us one more time that node.js platform has both high performance and robust Application Development approaches.
A lot of cool technologies are coming from non-web world to Web Application Development. One of the most excited examples is WebGL [https://www.khronos.org/webgl/]. It’s a free web standard to use low-level 3D graphics right on the page via canvas element. It’s based on OpenGL ES 2.0 and has similar development approaches. To test if your web browser supports WebGL just go to http://get.webgl.org/. Almost all modern browsers and platforms support WebGL. It doesn’t need special plugin like Flash player or Unity.
Vim [http://www.openvim.com/] is a successor of the ancient vi text editor, which was created as primary UNIX visual text editor several decades ago when computers were really big and expensive. Despite such a great age, Vim is still a very popular and useful tool in Software Application Development and DevOps. Both console and GUI versions are available for all operating systems and platforms. It’s included into any standard installation set of Linux/UNIX family system. Because of its plain nature, our programmers can use Vim as both regular text editor installed and runned locally and opened in remote shell via Internet with effective workflow even in case of slow network connection.
In brief, Vim has 2 main modes: to navigate a cursor throw the text and to enter the text into place marked by the cursor. This would be the most terrible barrier between you and Vim. Don’t fight it. Just accept this approach and move on.
Microservices [http://martinfowler.com/articles/microservices.html] is a server side architecture positioned as one of the most cool technical trends in 2016. There is still a lot of hype around it in all platforms and programming languages ecosystems. A composition of light services, each one handles its own task, may be implemented and then integrated and configured to work together are usually done by the same tiny web framework. It looks like small tool for small tasks. E.g., there are flask written in python, sinatra in ruby or node.js, which itself has a lightweight architecture and interface in design. .NET Development as robust mature technology has its own libraries to support new trends in server side programming. There is ASP.NET Web API 2 [https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn448365(v=vs.118).aspx]. It’s a new standard toolset provided by Microsoft for .NET Development community.
Web API is already shipped with modern version of Visual Studio. Besides, it’s available for installation via standard NuGet package management system. Generally, there are a lot of tools to implement HTTP service: raw HTTP handler, WCF, asmx. We have been using all of them for years. Web API is outstanding enough to call it the best both as a solution and development process as a whole.