The Next Frontier: Learning Microservices in the Classroom

working

As a Customer Success engineer here at Iron.io, I’ve been fortunate enough to see people using Iron.io in ways I never thought about. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of my job.

Recently, I was chatting with a customer who mentioned his students were using Iron.io in their final project. This peeked my interest, so I interviewed Soumya Ray, an associate professor at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, about his experience. Professor Ray’s  Service Oriented Architecture class is an 18 week course that takes students from idea creation to final product. And, as a cherry on top, the class has students create the building blocks of their own startup with zero dollars spent. (more…)

Case Study: Astro Digital – DropCam for Space

Astro Digital a case study from space

Thanks to Eutelsat_SA for the base image! CC BY 2.0

Space, the final frontier. If only we could take selfies. Wait, what? We can? This is the service Astro Digital provides. A selfie-stick from space is my crude analogy. Turns out, there are better analogues.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Bronwyn Agrios, head of product at Astro Digital, to learn how it works. In Bronwyn’s (much more refined) words, Astro Digital is kind of like DropCam for space. Just pick a spot to monitor. When new images are snapped, Astro Digital runs some fancy image processing algorithms, and boom! You’re notified of new space-selfies.

Click to enlarge the Astro Digital infographic:

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Case Study: OutCast – A Mobile App for Marine Weather Forecasts

We recently joined the OutCast team to chat about their app! What does it do, how does it work, and why is it so dang popular?

OutCast is a mobile weather and marine forecast application that is used by boaters, fishermen, divers, and other marine users to stay in touch with local weather and water conditions. What started as a personal project for the creators – Ed Gonzalez and William Kennedy from Ardan Studios – has turned into a well-regarded and essential app even among professionals who spend most of their time on the water.

Outcast.io brings together all the data that is needed to view and forecast marine conditions in a convenient and intuitive format. Whereas some weather apps may provide basic tidal information, the Outcast app goes many steps further by including real-time data from observation stations, buoys, radar imagery, air quality metrics, and more to provide a more complete picture of what’s happening in marine environments.

outcast dot io

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Best Practices and Anti-Patterns for Workers and MQs

Best Practices and anti-patterns for workers and message queues

Thanks to Ruth Hartnup for the base image! CC BY 2.0

If you’ve been programming for a while, it’s probable that someone, somewhere, has recommended the Gang of Four book.

The book dissects Object Oriented programming. It lists numerous ways of royally messing things up, but it’s claim to fame is that it also lists ways to do it right! These well tested paths to success often come with explanations for when to use them and why they’re good at avoiding common pitfalls.

These are design patterns. They’re embedded in the culture of programming, and they’re an amazing way to learn from others’ mistakes. At the outset of any project, a lot of paths are open to you. Design patterns illuminate the dark paths from the healthy, low stress approaches.

Today, we’re releasing our very own set of best practices and anti-patterns in the form of a white paper. It’s a quick read and will save you time as you tinker on your own workers and message queues. So, what do you have to lose?

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Upgrade to IronMQ v3 in Under 30 Minutes

Upgrade to IronMQ v3 Today!

Thanks to Johan Fantenberg for the base image CC BY 2.0

Earlier this week, Iron.io Customer Success Engineer JPK and I sat down with Michael Geneles and Stephen Kamenar from PitchBox to discuss their transition to IronMQ v3. Last Friday, they made the transition in less than 30 minutes! We were so impressed, we asked them for the details of their experience.

First, how does PitchBox leverage IronMQ? PitchBox helps marketers find online influencers. To accomplish that they crawl blogs and social media. Then, they run some fancy algorithms voodoo magic to process the results, and boom! Marketers are matched with their ideal influencers.

PitchBox’s dashboard is written in PHP. But, their crawler is an event driven NodeJS app. A couple thousand websites may need to be crawled and parsed at any given time.

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Using IronWorker to Power Custom Service Integrations

The rise of the API economy in recent years has also given the integration economy a much needed breath of new life. What was once a painful process of dealing with proprietary formats and clunky middleware, has now become a streamlined process via openly consumable cloud-native REST APIs. As such, a new breed of services such as Zapier and IFTTT have come along to make API integrations as simple as a few clicks, while other products such as Slack have made integrations a first class citizen feature of the product itself.

The technology that powers many of these integrations behind the scenes is webhooks, essentially an event-driven callback – when this happens, notify that via HTTP POST. Webhooks are an incredibly useful feature with many services, however as developers, we’ll always find a scenario that’s beyond what’s provided out of the box. With service integrations, this often means performing custom data translations such as field mappings, or additional business logic such as filtering and tagging.

We see a lot of our customers bridge services together using IronWorker because of its direct webhook support, flexibility to run any custom logic in any language, ability to scale concurrently behind the scenes, and “serverless” environment. We say “serverless” in quotes because to a developer, there’s never a need to think or worry about provisioning resources to run and manage tasks at scale. When one of our users shared his custom integration using IronWorker on Twitter, I got in touch to hear more and share his story.

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How to Power Intelligent Traffic Systems with IronMQ

edeva-ironio-blogSweden-based Edeva AB develops and markets intelligent traffic systems. Their product Actibump is a dynamic speed bump called Actibump that makes it possible to control the accessibility, flow and speed of traffic in a way not possible with static speed bumps.
Actibump consists of one or more road modules that are mounted into a cast foundation and a radar unit that transmits information to a central control system. The road modules raise and lower in response to vehicle speed and are controlled and monitored over the Internet. (more…)

How to Deliver Massive Volumes of Sports Scores and News to over 12 Million Mobile Users at Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report (B/R) is one of the leading sports news sources in the country. Second only to ESPN, Bleacher Report is a growing force for team-specific sports content, commentary, and real-time event coverage. B/R’s goal is to deliver a comprehensive experience for sports fans and foster engagement with favorite teams and topics across all major sports. The content that B/R delivers includes curated content originating from featured columnists and external sources, all pushed to fans in real-time. They provide timely and relevant news to sports fans keeping them informed and ahead of the game.

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How Omaze Delivers Once in a Lifetime Experiences Using Iron.io and Rackspace DevOps

Blow Sh*t Up with Arnold Schwarzenegger … Be Drawn Into an Episode of the Simpsons … Celebrate the Patriots Victory with Rob Gronkowski.

These aren’t even bucket list items, these are unattainable items. That is, until Omaze gets involved. Omaze is an organization that was founded to drive significantly more money and awareness for deserving causes through the chance to live out dream experiences.

Charities offer up personalized events with their celebrity partners where everyone has the chance to win by donating to the cause. Each experience offers a range of reward levels from signed t-shirts to personalized Skype sessions to Twitter mentions, and once the experience is placed up on the Omaze site, the countdown begins to the winner of the grand prize. The growing number of high profile celebrities participating to provide such unique opportunities begs the question – what’s your dream experience?

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Hubble Gets Lean With Microservices and Iron.io

As microservices continues to spread through the industry as a dominant pattern for building modern cloud applications, marquee examples from large-scale companies such as Netflix and Twitter may appear daunting to companies still on a growth path. When powering through agile cycles to release new features at a rapid pace, the last thing on your mind is maintainability. Well, maybe not the last thing, but it is a lesser concern.

It’s rare to have the foresight to recognize future bottlenecks early on, so when we came across a series of blog posts by Tom Watson, the CTO and Co-founder of Hubble who did just that, we took notice and had a quick chat to discuss his experiences. As it turns out, taking a moment to reflect on how things scale as they grow actually put them in a position to release features quicker and more effectively by injecting a lean methodology of focused microservices development patterns and operations.

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