Tag Archives: software

Top 10 West Coast Confs for 2019

I’ve been putting together a list of conferences that I want to aim to attend this coming year. I made it, then thought, “somebody else could use this list probably” so here it is. If you think of any other specific conferences I ought to add and attend please leave a comment. Enjoy!

March 7-10 is SCALE Southern California Linux Expo in Pasadena, California

March 25-28 is O’Reilly Strata in San Francisco, California

April 26-28 is LinuxFest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington

June 3-5 is Monitorama in Portland, Oregon

June 10-13 is O’Reilly Velocity in San Jose, California

June 10-13 is O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference SACON in San Jose, California

July 15-18 is O’Reilly OSCON in Portland, Oregon

August 21-23 is the Open Source Summit in San Diego, California

September 9-12 is the O’Reilly Artificial Intelligence in San Jose, California

November 18-21 KubeCon 2019 in San Diego, California

Without Dates – Conferences that are really great that don’t currently have a date just yet.

Polyglot Conf in Vancouver BC

Seattle Code Camp

Microsoft Build

GDG DevFest

What others should I add that are awesome Seattle or immediate surrounding area conferences?


DevRel Data: Presentation & Deductions

Before diving into conclusions, let’s take a look at some answers to questions asked. This is a slice of answers, with totals for the charts and such. After a few months of answers I’ll have another follow up to see how things may or may not change.

Do you like video material?


What specifically do you, or would you like to watch in video? Screencasts, short videos, conversational, or some other type of videos?

  • Screencasts/tutorials
  • I love both screencasts going through big topics and short videos that cover smaller tips and gotchas.
  • Videos with a specific outcome as the goal, whether achieved or not. Showing the process of something.. like hey, here’s how you building out a Postgres cluster using streaming replication and repmgr and pgpool… Kind of thing.
  • Bite sized content, maybe 2 minutes, to teach me one thing.
  • Editing. No jokes, no “hey what’s up guys” with 60 second intros. Discuss the problem, then solve it.
  • Demos, learning a new way of doing something
  • Doesn’t matter short or long, but has to be deeply technical with code examples that I can actually apply
  • I watch videos mostly for fun.
  • Screencast
  • Short videos of say 5-10 minutes each covering different concept of the subject matter
  • (videos work best in a classroom setting where time/attention is precommitted, or as part of a tutorial)
  • conversational
  • Short videos.
  • If it’s too long, it ends up on my todo list forever (not good). So shorter is better. And something that benefits from visuals, rather than something that could just be written.
  • I also watch LinkedIn Learning when just starting a new tech. to get a general overview and pick up a tip or tow, then I read books and the Internet from there.
  • short videos

What kind of written material do you like?


Do you like other material mixed in that details the reason for the tech, the story, or such?


Is there anything that comes to mind, that you’d like to have me or the team I’m working with (@ DataStax) put together that you’d find useful, entertaining, or related.

  • Place priorities on designing materials for more depth (i.e., more linked material) as well as less attention-nuisance. That’s no criticism of your work, merely the gestalt of where we work — so less noise is a better way to stand out and make materials useful.
  • Maybe focus more on written material – code & architecture material (books, articles) rather than videos and twitch. It is much easier to consume and is easily googlable. Also I’d suggest making blog posts target a specific common issue or question – sometimes I see posts that I don’t really care about or the problem is so narrow that I don’t want to read about it. I’d read about building resilient and highly available architectures in various configurations.
  • Database reliability, scalability, migrations and such stuff is interesting.
  • Anything to do with machine learning.
  • Data model examples, starting up a Cassandra node, configuring YAML, etc


I’m going to go backwards through the questions and discuss what I’ve deducted, and in some ways what has surprised me among the answers!

First there’s the “Is there anything that comes to mind, that you’d like to have me or the team I’m working with (@ DataStax) put together that you’d find useful, entertaining, or related.” request and questions.

The answers here didn’t surprise me much at all. Within DevRel from Microsoft to DataStax to Google to many other organizations we have this ongoing battle between “write a whole book on it” or “make it 2 minutes short”. It’s wildly difficult to determine what format, what timing, and what structure material needs to be in for it to be most useful to people. So when I saw the answer that reads, “Place priorities on designing materials for more depth (i.e., more linked material) as well as less attention-nuisance.” I immediately thought, “yeah, for real, but ugh…” it’s difficult. However, I’m working on more thorough material, some of it will be paywalled via LinkedIn Learning or Pluralsight and other material may be available by book in the coming months. But there will be other material that will indeed be long form how to material on how to really put things together – from scratch and from the basis of “we have X thing and need to hack it so we can add a feature”.

The next answer I got in this section that I completely agree with is increasing the focus on written material. I’m making tons of video, and I’ve got that down to the point where it’s actually easier and faster to do most of it then it is to write things down. However I realized, especially from my own point of view, that written material actually ends up being vastly more useful than video material. That’s also why, even with the video material, when I’m covering specifics I aim to provide a linkable timeline and a blog entry with the code and other changes shown in the video. Thanks for reinforcing these efforts and giving me that indirect encouragement to make this process and the results even better. More written material is on its way!

As for the database reliability, scalability, migrations, machine learning, data modeling, Cassandra node starting, and all that it’s in the queue and I’m getting to it as fast as I possibly can.

Next question I asked is, “Do you like other material mixed in that details the reason for the tech, the story, or such?

It appears, albeit not a huge contingent of people, some people are curious about biking, train coding, and making good grub! Hey, that’s groovy cuz I’ve got a show coming out which is basically the behind the scenes videos about all those topics that make the coding and technology hacking possible!

The one outlier in this set however is clearly the request for “Ways to simplify life to dig through those algorithms faster, easier, better?” which I didn’t suspect would be any different then the other answers for this questions. Which left me surprised and ill-prepared on what to do about fulfilling what is clearly a demand. I’ll have to up level my blog posts around algorithms. I did do a couple a long while ago now in “Algorithms 101: Big Sums” which I completed in Go and another I wrote up “Algorithms 101: Roads & Town Centers” which I have 90% of the answer complete but I’ve never finished the blog entry! I guess it’s time to get the algorithm train coupled up and ready to depart!

Then the question, “What kind of written material do you like?

Two options lead by a healthy margin for this question: Demos w/ Write Up and Blog Articles. With this coupled up to the first question it’s clear that written material via blog and demoes via blog should and ought to be top priority. They are, however they’re a whole helluva lot of work, so I only get them produced but so fast. Got some gems coming on Go, Bash, Cassandra, and a few other demo, tech, and historical information.

Next up was single page cheat sheets and documentation, followed closely by books. I kind of expected documentation and books, but wow that single page cheat sheets option is higher rated than I would have suspected and by proxy I’ve immediately added that to my produce this type of material list! I put it in as a very secondary thought but it’s going to get into that increased focus queue.

The last one with some semblance of demand is pamphlet size short form. This one almost seems like a fluke, but I’ll ponder putting together some of these. I know O’Reilly has their short novelette size books which cover a particular topic. They hand these out for free at conferences and seem pretty solid. Maybe I’ll work one of those into the queue? Maybe.

The other three options scraped by with 1%, so somebody was choosing them. So the vi mug isn’t a priority nor the short explainer videos. Which seems in contention with video content demands around shorter content. I guess, explainer videos just doesn’t sound useful!

The next question I just put together a top three of the results, “What specifically do you, or would you like to watch in video? Screencasts, short videos, conversational, or some other type of videos?

  1. Make screen casts.
  2. Make screen casts generally short.
  3. Make screen cases that are short and on a specific and deep dive into a topic.

This seems kind of in conflict with itself, but I’m going to aim for it and try to hone the skill further. So that I can produce screen casts, screen casts that are generally short, and make sure that these screen casts that are short are on a specific and deep dive into a topic. Whew, got it.

Finally, “do you like video material?


At this time, 53.8% of you have said yes. I had guessed it would be around 50%.

I had guessed no would be about 25%, and at 23.1% I wasn’t to far off.

The other respective mishmash of answers made for interesting depth to the questions that followed this question.

Article Summary & TLDR

Produce more topic specific, detailed material around screen casts and blog entries!

End of story.

For more on this information, why I asked, and what I do check out my article titled “Evangelism, Advocacy, and Activism in The Technology Industry” and for some of the big victories for big corporations check out “The Developer Advocates – Observations on Microsoft’s New Competence“.

Truly Excellent People and Coding Inspiration…

.NET Fringe took place this last week. It’s been a rather long time since my last actual conference that I actually got to really attend, meet people, and talk to people about all the different projects, aspirations, goals, and ideas about what’s next for the future. This conference was perfect to jump into, first and foremost, I knew it was an effort in being inclusive of the existing community and newcomers. We’d reached out to many brave souls to come and attend this conference about pushing technology into the future.

I met some truly excellent people. Smart, focused, intent, and a whole lot of great conversations followed meeting these people. Here’s a few people you’ll want to keep an eye on based on the technology they’re working on. I got to sit down and talk to every one of these coders and they’re in top form, smart, inventive, witty and full of great humor to boot!

Maria Naggaga @Twitter

I met Maria and one of the first things I saw was her crafty and most excellent art sketches around lifestyles, heroes, and more. I love art like this, and was really impressed with what Maria had done with her’s.

Maria giving us the info.

Maria giving us the info.

I was able to hang out with Maria a bit more and had some good conversation time talking about evangelism, tech fun and nonsense all around. I also was able to attend her talk on “Legacy… What?” which was excellent. The question she posed in the description states a common question posed, “When students think about .Net they think: legacy , enterprise , retired, and what is that?” which I too find to be a valid thought. Is .NET purely legacy these days? For many getting into the field it generally isn’ the landscape of greenfield applications and is far more commonly associated with legacy applications. Hearing her vantage point on this as an evangelist was eye opening. I gained more ideas, thoughts, and was pushed to really get that question answered for students in a different way…  which I’ll add to sometime in the future in another blog entry.

Kathleen Dollard @Twitter && @Github

I spoke to Kathleen while we took a break across the street from the conference at Grendal’s Coffee Shop. We talked a lot about education and what is effective training, diving heavily into what works around video, samples, and related things. You see, we’re both authors at Pluralsight too and spend a lot of time thinking about these things. It was great to be able to sit down and really discuss these topics face to face.

We also dived into a discussion about city livability and how Portland’s transit system works, what is and isn’t working in the city and what it’s like to live here. I was, of course, more than happy to provide as much information as I could.

We also discussed her interest in taking legacy shops (i.e. pre-C# even, maybe Delphi or whatever might exist) and helping them modernize their shop. I found this interesting, as it could be a lot of fun figuring out large gaps in technology like that and helping a company to step forward into the future.

Kathleen gave two presentations at the conference – excellent presentations. One was the “Your Code, Your Brain” presentation, talking about exactly the topic of legacy shops moving forward without disruption.

If you’re interested in Kathleen’s courses, give a look here.

Amy Palamountain @Twitter && @Github

Amy had a wicked great slides and samples that were probably the most flawless I’ve seen in a while. Matter of fact, a short while after the conference Amy put together a blog entry about those great slides and samples “Super Smooth Technical Demoes“.

An intent and listening audience.

An intent and listening audience.

An intent and listening audience.Amy’s talked at the conference was titled “Space, Time, and State“. It almost sounds like we could just turn that into an acronym. The talk was great, touched on the aspects of reactiveness and the battle of state that we developers fight every day while building solutions.

We also got to talk a little after the presentation, the horror of times zones, and a slew of good conversation.

Tomasz Janczuk @Twitter && @Github

AAAAAaggghhhhhh! I missed half of Tomasz’s talk! It always happens at every conference right! You get to talking to people, excited about this topic or that topic and BOOM, you’ve missed half of a talk that you fully intended to attend. But hey, the good part is I still got to see half the talk!

If you’re not familiar with Tomasz’ work and you do anything with Node.js you should pay close attention. Tomasz has been largely responsible for the great work behind Edge.js and influencing the effort to get Node.js running (and running damn well might I add) on Windows. For more on Edge.js check out Act I and Act II and the Github repository.

The Big Hit for Me, Distributed Systems

First some context. About 4 years ago I left the .NET Community almost entirely. Even though I was still doing a little work with C# I primarily switched stacks to other things to push forward with Riak, distributed systems usage, devops deployment of client apps, and a whole host of other things. At the time I basically had gotten real burned out on where the .NET Community had ended up worldwide, while some pushed onward with the technologies I loved to work with, I was tired of waiting and dived into some esoteric stuff and learned strange programming techniques in JavaScript, Ruby, Erlang and dived deeper into distributed technologies for use in application construction.

However some in the community didn’t stop moving the ball forward, and at this conference I got a great view into some of that progress! I’m stoked to see this technology and where it is now, because there is a LOT of potential for a number of things. Here’s the two talks and two more great people I got to see speak. One I knew already (great to see you again and hang out Aaron!) and one I had the privilege & honor to meet (it was most excellent hanging out and seeing your presentation Lena).

Aaron Stonnard @Twitter && @Github

Aaron I’d met back when Troy & I put together the first Node PDX. Aaron had swung into Portland to present on “Building Node.js Applications on Windows Azure“. At .NET Fringe however Aaron was diving into a topic that was super exciting to me. The first line of the description from the topic really says it all “Distributed computing in .NET isn’t something you often hear about, but it’s becoming an increasingly important area for growing .NET businesses around the globe. And frankly it’s an area where .NET has lagged behind other runtimes and platforms for years – but this is changing!“. Yup, that’s my exact pain point, it’s awesome to know Aaron & Petabridge are kicking ass in this space now.

Aaron’s presentation was solid, as to be expected. We also had some good conversations after and before the presentation about the state of distributed compute and systems within the Microsoft and Windows ecosystem. To check out more about Akka .NET that Aaron & Andrew Skotzko …  follow @AkkaDotNet, @aaronontheweb, @petabridge, and @askotzko.

Akka .NET

Alena Dzenisenka @Twitter && @Github


…Lena traveled all the way from Kiev in the Ukraine to provide the .NET Fringe crowd with some serious F# distributed and parallel compute knowledge in “Embracing the Cloud“!  (Slides here)

Here’s a short dive into F# here if you’re unfamiliar, which you can install on OS-X, Windows or whatever. So don’t use the “well, I don’t use windows” excuse to not give it a try! Here’s info about MBrace that  Lena also used in her demo. Also dive into brisk from elastacloud…

In addition to the excellent talk that Lena gave I also got to hang out with her, Phil Haack, Ryan Riley, and others over food at Biwa on the last day of the conference. After speaking with Lena about the Ukraine, computing, coding and other topics around hacking and the OSS Community she really inspired me to take a dive into these tools for some of the work that I’m working on now and what I’ll be doing in the near future.

All The Things

Now of course, there were a ton of other people I got to meet, people I got to catch up with I haven’t seen in ages and others I didn’t get to write about. It was a really great conference with great content. I’m looking forward to round 2 and spending more time with everybody in the future!

The whole bunch of us at the end of the conference!

The whole bunch of us at the end of the conference!

Cheers everybody!   \m/

An Aside of Blog Entries on .NET Fringe

Here are some additional blog entries that others wrote about the event. In addition to these blog entries I’ll be updating this entry with any additional entries that I see pop up – so if you post one let me know, and I’ll also update these talks above that I’ve discussed with videos when they’re posted live.


Where are the Part Time ~20-30 hrs Dev Gigs?

Over the years one of the things that I’ve seen missing in disproportionate amounts are many opportunities for part time work in the software development industry. There are two things about this fact that makes me kind of chuckle at the absurdity behind them.

  1. Much of the time there isn’t any part time work because so much of management and the existing group think is that more hours equal more productivity and more product. This is, however, very wrong.
  2. If software developers did work fewer hours, they actually have a high possibility that they’d become more productive, not less.

Shock, gasp, horror, no, tell me it isn’t so, you mean an entire industry is wrong about the human psychology behind an occupation?! Yup. The perverse thing is this isn’t exactly the first time. It appears, we humans are really bad at determining the best psychological state to be in for a particular occupation. We tend to get better at managing this, but overall we humans don’t have a great track record.

What I’d like to see, and I’m by no means assuming anybody would listen, but if leadership out there is, here are my thoughts. They’re free, I’m putting them right here on this blog, and I’m not even asking for any pennies for my thoughts. Disseminate and use as you would like!

The Part Time Coder Position$40-80k Dependent on Experience & Contribution Ability

Description: Available for meetings, pairing and coding for 4 hours per day, either on a declared morning or evening schedule to sync up with the team. Spending 4-5 hours per day total either meeting or working on project code. No excess meetings, domain planning or other business meetings necessary, core focus is coding and communication with the team and team lead that are working on the coding project.

Requisite Job Requirements:
• Possibly spend a full time week or two to get up to speed on practices, such as kanban usage, task tracking or whatever else is in use for project management.
• Be familiar with software development in general, with the expectation being of several years of experience with some stack that is similar to the primary stack that is being used.
• Be able to communicate, determine need for communication (especially if remote), and up-manage as well as determine self-direction with minimal interaction. i.e. ability to use the right comms for the right messages as often as possible.
• Be able to apply algorithms, patterns, and related thinking to provide solutions to the problem domain space that is being approached.

Other Peripheral Requirements:
• Ability to provide rough guesstimates on where and what effort something will take, pending reasonable time given to determine such things. Also management, as always, should keep in mind, estimates are always wrong. Just sayin’.

So where is this position availability? How about throwing some of those out there and see how or what could be done with some roles like that? It could be very useful. If you’re interested in putting some positions like this into place, I’d be happy to help consult or determine what you’d need.

Recruiters: I pose this question and write this blog entry knowing of no less than a dozen people that would work in software development, are exceptional software developers, but don’t because they’re either A: well off and have no need or desire to work full time or B: want to spend considerable amount of time living life and don’t have huge expenses, so they’d be really happy with a part time job. Neither of these people have any desire to work more than about ~20 hours a week. It’s a workforce that hasn’t even been touched on and overall, the businesses in the tech sector are seriously missing out

PDX Cloud – A Question Posed.

I attended the PDX Cloud meeting to present, but more to ask a question. Here’s how I posed that question (slide deck at the bottom of this blog entry). I frame the scenario of the distributed development world of cloud computing, dive into the vertical world of enterprise dev and then throw down the big question…

This is a situational report on the current state, of the somewhat bi-polar condition that exists in software development right now. This is reflective of my train of thought around a number of aspects of the industry and what questions have come up time and time again while working with fellow coders and technologists.

The first segment of the industry that we often here about. it’s the hip and cool thing to do, as well as the obvious path into the future right now. It’s not particularly the idea that this segment, of building things as distributed systems is new, it’s just that it has become more important and more capable now than it ever has in the past.

A lot of this has to do with the advent of key technologies around virtualization, cloud computing and large scale object storage and network capabilities. We can spool up enough compute to rival a super computer, sitting alone at home, to storing more data than we can imagine with zero theoretical limit to that storage. All of this networked together behind load balancers, switches and programmable devices that a mere half dozen years ago would have taken more resources than any reasonably sized small business could even afford. All of these capabilities are literally at our fingertips now.

I’ve spooled up a 1000 EC2 instances for a demo before. That was 2 years ago even! Now I as well as many host applications and databases entirely in memory. SSDs as a cloud back end option at AWS and other locations provide another avenue that brings these devices into a world where they can be utilized immediately. Blink an eye, you’ll have the resources.

The storage realm, with costs falling through the floor with Glacier to operationally effective options like S3, EBS, Table Store, Object storage and others make our junk trunks limitless. The option to throw away any data at all seems less and less appealing.

Many developers, but definitely not all, have seized opportunities to alter the way they work and what they’re able to accomplish by using these new capabilities. From the now common asynchronous approach to development, shifting languages and stack to the invention of new paradigms around development and operations into a devop practice, leadership has stepped up to this changing game.

Vertical systems have in the past twenty years held the main position in the enterprise as the go to architectures. Client server or three tier or whatever one may call it. With a synchronous mindset the vertical implementation of systems produced several benefits.

We gained the ability through diligent documentation and widget style architecture to build CRUD (Create Read Update Delete) and LOB (Line of Business) applications at a rapid rate. With a simplified approach like this businesses spent a lot of time focusing on their business, not particularly on efficient utilization of resources, processing or reliability. But who could blame them, with Moore’s Law it seemed the only real ways to scale vertical systems were by writing faster code or buying a bigger computer, for a while that seemed to work fine.

Most of the, what I’ll call “vertical revolution” happened with the GSD mindset. GSD mean Get Shit Done. Again, another idea that sort of worked pretty well as long as Moore’s Law was in effect. But things have started to change, with Moore’s Law faltering.

Management practices also became a complete TLA soup during this time. The last 20 years continued the standard “let’s cookie cut people into widget producers”. It never works as well as it could or should, but the industry – and really all humanity keeps trying – to do this anyway. This is fine, we’ve got to try. The vertical stack however brought this to the extreme forefront as the industry tried to shoe horn all sorts of development into singular types of management practices.

Overall though as long as things stayed simple, we stuck to our KISS principles as software craftspeoples the architecture stays straight forward enough and the stack stays easy. However there are voluminous limitations. There are massive management and project issues with all of this.

Many parts of the industry are screaming for the future. As we have it, some agree on certain aspects of what the future should be and others agree on other aspects of the future.

We have some bright spots amid the confusion that is making the distributed world much easier, and the technology continues to do this.

Some want convergence. Which may work well in some ways, but in others it is converging into a clustered mess. As with the roadways of the 50s and the effervescent ideas of 50s planners, we’re finding the idea of the superhighways aren’t working either. The same is starting to appear for some types of device convergence. So where does this really leave us? Where are our weak spots as an industry? It seems like right now we’re stuck in that traffic jam getting to the next step.

Things are looking a little like this freakingnews.com MAV. Multifunction and not functional at all.

So to gain clarity on direction I pose the question…

  • How do we change the later world to work as well as the new world of distributed systems?

…and a few follow ups.

  • What do developers in the industry need to make true distributed computing advances while drawing on the known elements of the vertical computing realm?
  • What do we need as developers and leaders to more reliably advance the industry without setbacks?
  • What do we need as leaders to move the industry forward to the next steps, stages and developments in converging technology?
  • Are these even valid questions? What would you propose to ask?

TeamCity Setup for Junction Build, Plus Implosions

I wanted to get a continuous delivery process setup for Junction that could help everybody involved get a clear and quick status of the project. The easiest way to do this for a Windows 8 .NET Project is to setup a Team City CI Server.

This article covers what I went through to get the server up and running. In the next part I’ll cover troubleshooting that I went through to get a Visual Studio 2012 Window 8 C# Project building correctly on the server.

Finally, the last part is a small surprise, but suffice it to say I’ll be getting a completely different language and tech stack up and running which you’ll likely not guess (or maybe you will).  😉

Setting up Team City 8.0.3 (build 27540) using Tier 3 and a Windows 2008 Server, or not…

Setting up a Windows 2008 Server with Tier 3 is super easy, as you’d expect with a cloud service provider. Log into your account, click on “Create Server” to bring up the create server dialog.

Create a New Server screen. Click for full size image.

Create a New Server screen. Click for full size image.

Click image for full size.

Click image for full size.

Next enter the information and select a Standard server.

Select how much horsepower you want the build server to have. Click for a full size image.

Select how much horsepower you want the build server to have. Click for a full size image.

Click next and then make the last few selections.

Server Tasks. No need to change the defaults here. Click for full size image.

Server Tasks. No need to change the defaults here. Click for full size image.

Click Create Server and then sit tight for a few while the server is created. Once the server is created navigate back to the server information screen (I’ll leave you to get back to this screen).

Server information screen. Click for full size image.

Server information screen. Click for full size image.

On this screen click on the add public ip button to bring up the IP & port selection screen.

Adding a public IP Address. Click for full size image.

Adding a public IP Address. Click for full size image.

On the public IP screen select the HTTP (80) and RDP (3389) ports to open up. Click the add ip address button and again sit tight for a few. Once the server has the IP set then we can log in using RDP (Remote Desktop or on Mac try CoRD).

Next install the .NET 4.5 SDK. For the latest, it’s best to install the latest windows SDK that is available for Windows Server 2008 also.

Team City install

In the instructions below, you’ll notice everything is now Windows Server 2012. That’s because after installing everything on a Windows 2008 Server I stumbled on a very important fact. I’m working to put a build together for a Windows 8 Store Application, which requires a Windows Server 2012 (or Windows 8) operating system to build on.

I got a sudden flashback to OS-X and iOS land there for a second, but leapt in and wiped out the image I’d just built. Since I’d built it in a cloud environment, it merely meant spending a few seconds to get a new OS instance built up. So after a few clicks, just like the instructions above for building a Windows 2008 Server I had a Windows 2012 Server instead. There are, however a few steps to follow once you have a good Windows Server 2012 install. Once you have a good Windows 2012 Server up and running it should have a public IP, some memory, compute and storage capabilities. In the image below I didn’t give it a huge amount of horsepower for a few reasons.

  1. It’s just doing builds, not computing the singularity.
  2. If it can build on this, I’m doing good keeping the project clean.
  3. I want to keep the build fast, keeping it on a weak machine and still having it fast also reinforces that I have a clean project.
  4. I don’t need a successful build every second, the server gets used only during pushes by devs. If we get up to dozens of devs hacking on this, I can easily spool up and get a faster, more hard core heavier horsepower option up and running.
Windows Server 2012 w/ Public IP, 1 Proc, 1 GB RAM and 40 GB Storage. Click for full size image.

Windows Server 2012 w/ Public IP, 1 Proc, 1 GB RAM and 40 GB Storage. Click for full size image.

When Windows Server 2012 boots up the first thing that will launch is the Server Manager. We don’t really need that yet, so just ignore it, close it or move it to the side.

Windows Server 2012 Server Manager. Click for full size image.

Windows Server 2012 Server Manager. Click for full size image.

The first thing we will need is Internet Explorer, so we can download Chrome or Firefox. Internet Explorer is wired up with high security so the first thing it will do is explode with messages about sites not being in the right zone. It is, hugely annoying. So add each site to the zone and head out to the web to pick up Chrome or Firefox.

Internet Explorer security configuration explosions. Click for full size.

Internet Explorer security configuration explosions. Click for full size.

In the following screenshots I didn’t actually download Chrome or Firefox first, but instead downloaded TeamCity. I advise getting Chrome or Firefox FIRST and then downloading TeamCity with one of those browsers. Life is dramatically simpler that way.

Team City - add another site to the site list for security clearance. Click for full size.

Team City – add another site to the site list for security clearance. Click for full size.

Team City downloading. Click for full size image.

Team City downloading. Click for full size image.

I know one can turn off the security settings in IE, but it’s just dramatically easier to go and use one of the other browsers. Just trust me on this one, if you want to turn off the security features in IE, be my guest, I’d however recommend just getting a different browser to work with.

Once you’ve got your browser of choice and Team City downloaded, run the installer executable.

Installer Downloaded w/ Security Scan in IE. Click for full size image.

Installer Downloaded w/ Security Scan in IE. Click for full size image.

Executable downloaded.

Executable downloaded.

Installing Team City.

Installing Team City.

Leave the components checked unless you have some specific goal for your server and build agents.

Server & Build Agents Options.

Server & Build Agents Options.

In one of the subsequent dialogs there is the option to run the server under the SYSTEM account or under a user account. Since this is a single purpose machine and I don’t really want to manage Windows users, I’m opting for the SYSTEM account.

SYSTEM Account.

SYSTEM Account.

After everything is installed navigate in a browser to http://localhost. This will automatically direct you to the TeamCity First Start page.

TeamCity First Start Page. Click for full size image.

TeamCity First Start Page. Click for full size image.

At this point you’ll be prompted to ok the EULA.

Signing one of those famous EULAs. Click for full size image.

Signing one of those famous EULAs. Click for full size image.

Then you’ll be prompted to create the first Administrator user.

Creating the administrator user.

Creating the administrator user.

From there you’ll be sent to the TeamCity interface, ready to create a new build project.

TeamCity Tools is marked by a giant pink arrow, Great ways to integrate TeamCity into your workflow. Click for full size clarity!

TeamCity Tools is marked by a giant pink arrow, Great ways to integrate TeamCity into your workflow. Click for full size clarity!

Click on Projects at the top left of the screen and you’ll navigate to the Create a Project dialog. Click on the Create a Project link to start the process.

Creating a project. Click for full size image.

Creating a project. Click for full size image.

Once you’ve entered the name, project ID and description click on Create. This will bring you to the next step, and to the general tab of the project. On this screen click on Create build configuration.

Project Setup. Click for full size image.

Project Setup. Click for full size image.

Now create a name, enter the config id, and click the VCS Settings >> button to move on to the next step of the process.

Build Configuration. Click for full size image.

Build Configuration. Click for full size image.

In VCS Settings leave everything as default and click on the Add Build Step >> button.

Click for full size image.

Click for full size image.

Now select the Visual Studio (sln) option from the Runner type and give the dialog a moment to render the options below that. They’ll appear and then enter the Step Name, Visual Studio type needs to be set to Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 and then click on Save.

Setting up the Build Type. Click for full size image.

Setting up the Build Type. Click for full size image.

From there you’ll be navigated back to the Project Build Steps screen. On that page you’ll see the build step listed. We’ll have one more we’ll need to add in a moment, but for now click on Version Control Settings again.

Build Step displaced, click on Version Control Settings Again. Click for full size image.

Build Step displaced, click on Version Control Settings Again. Click for full size image.

On this page click on the Create an attach a new VCS root.

Attach a new VCS root. Click for full size image.

Attach a new VCS root. Click for full size image.

Now select Git from the dialog and wait for the page to populate the form settings and options.

VCS Root Options. Click for full size image.

VCS Root Options. Click for full size image.

Now enter the correct Fetch URL to the Git repo (which on github looks something like https://github.com/username/gitrepo.git and is available to copy and paste from the right hand side of the repo page on github), enter the appropriate default branch to build and an appropriate VCS root name and VCS root ID. Once that is done click on the Test connection button.

Test Connection. Click for full size image.

Test Connection. Click for full size image.

Click save and now navigate back to the Build Triggers screen by click on the #5 option on the right hand side of the page. You’ll be navigated back to the magical Version Control Settings screen where you now have a few more options available and a VCS root available.

Version Control Settings. Click for full size.

Version Control Settings. Click for full size.

Now an Add New Build Trigger dialog appears to add the trigger. I set it to trigger a new build at each new check-in. The TeamCity server checks frequently to see if a commit has been made and will initiate a build. Another way however to setup this is to not add a trigger and instead go to Github (if you’re using Github) and setup a push trigger from Github itself. That way every commit will initiate a build instead of the TeamCity Server, which knows nothing about the actual status of the repo until it checks, giving a more timely build process to your commits & dev workflow.

Build Trigger. Click for full size image.

Build Trigger. Click for full size image.

The added build trigger. Click for full size image.

The added build trigger. Click for full size image.

Now, one more build step. Add the NuGet Installer (which is included with the TeamCity Build Server, check the docs for TeamCity 8.x for NuGet Installer and NuGet for more information). For our purposes once you’ve insured that the NuGet Installer you need is available add a new build step. Select from the Runner Type NuGet Installer and the respective form will populate below.

NuGet Installer. Click for full size image.

NuGet Installer. Click for full size image.

Once the step is added, click on Reorder Build Steps under the Build Steps list and a dialog, specifically for reordering the build steps will appear.

Reordered Build Steps.

Reordered Build Steps. Click for full size image.

Reorder the steps so that Getting NuGetty (the name I’ve give to it, click for a full size image) will be run first.

The NuGet Settings.  Under the NuGet.exe is where to add the Nuget executable if it isn't already installed and available. Click the NuGet settings for options. Click for full size image.

The NuGet Settings. Under the NuGet.exe is where to add the Nuget executable if it isn’t already installed and available. Click the NuGet settings for options. Click for full size image.

At this time you now have all of the steps you actually need. You’ll be able to go back to the main projects screen and built the project.

When you do this however, if you’ve actually set this up to build a Windows 8 Store Project you’ll get a build failure. Which is a total bummer, but that makes for a great follow up blog which I’ll have posted real soon! For now, these are great steps for getting a modern ASP.NET, Java, Maven and a whole host of other builds up and running. For the solution around the Windows 8 Store Project keep reading (subscribe on the top right hand side to the RSS!) and I’ll have that posted up real soon.

Until next entry, Cheers!  > Adron

Using Bosh to Bootstrap Cloud Foundry via Stark & Wayne Consulting

I finally sat down and really started to take a stab at Cloud Foundry Bosh. Here’s the quick lowdown on installing the necessary bits and getting an initial environment built. Big thanks out to Dr Nic @drnic, Luke Bakken & Brain McClain @brianmmcclain for initial pointers to where the good content is. With their guidance and help I’ve put together this how-to. Enjoy…  boshing.


Step: Get an instance/machine up and running.

To make sure I had a totally clean starting point I started out with an AWS EC2 Instance to work from. I chose a micro instance loaded with Ubuntu. You can use your local workstation if you want to or whatever, it really doesn’t matter. The one catch, of course is you’ll have to have a supported *nix based operating system.

Step: Get things updated for Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get update

Step: Get cURL to make life easy.

sudo apt-get install curl

Step: Get Ruby, in a proper way.

\curl -L https://get.rvm.io | bash -s stable
source ~/.rvm/scripts/rvm
rvm autolibs enable
rvm requirements

Enabling autolibs sets up so that rvm will install all the requirements with the ‘rvm requirements’ command. It used to just show you what you needed, then you’d have to go through and install them. This requirements phase includes some specifics, such as git, gcc, sqlite, and other tools needed to build, execute and work with Ruby via rvm. Really helpful things overall, which will come in handy later when using this instance for whatever purposes.

Finish up the Ruby install and set it as our default ruby to use.

rvm install 1.9.3
rvm use 1.9.3 --default
rvm rubygems current

Step: Get bosh-bootstrap.

bosh-bootstrap is the easiest way to get started with a sample bosh deployment. For more information check out Dr Nic’s Stark and Wayne repo on Github. (also check out the Cloud Foundry Bosh repo.)

gem install bosh-bootstrap
gem update --system

Git was installed a little earlier in the process, so now set the default user name and email so that when we use bosh it will know what to use for cloning repositories it uses.

git config --global user.name "Adron Hall"
git config --global user.email plzdont@spamme.bro

Step: Launch a bosh deploy with the bootstrap.

bosh-bootstrap deploy

You’ll receive a prompt, and here’s what to hit to get a good first deploy.

Stage 1: I select AWS, simply as I’ve no OpenStack environment. One day maybe I can try out the other option. Until then I went with the tried and true AWS. Here you’ll need to enter your access & secret key from the AWS security settings for your AWS account.

For the region, I selected #7, which is west 2. That translates to the data center in Oregon. Why did I select Oregon? Because I live in Portland and that data center is about 50 miles away. Otherwise it doesn’t matter which region you select, any region can spool up almost any type of bosh environment.

Stage 2: In this stage, select default by hitting enter. This will choose the default bosh settings. The default uses a medium instance to spool up a good default Cloud Foundry environment. It also sets up a security group specifically for Cloud Foundry.

Stage 3: At this point you’ll be prompted to select what to do, choose to create an inception virtual machine. After a while, sometimes a few minutes, sometimes an hour or two – depending on internal and external connections – you should receive the “Stage 6: Setup bosh” results.

Stage 6: Setup bosh

setup bosh user
uploading /tmp/remote_script_setup_bosh_user to Inception VM
Initially targeting micro-bosh…
Target set to `microbosh-aws-us-west-2′
Creating initial user adron…
Logged in as `admin’
User `adron’ has been created
Login as adron…
Logged in as `adron’
Successfully setup bosh user
cleanup permissions
uploading /tmp/remote_script_cleanup_permissions to Inception VM
Successfully cleanup permissions
Locally targeting and login to new BOSH…
bosh -u adron -p cheesewhiz target
Target set to `microbosh-aws-us-west-2′
bosh login adron cheesewhiz
Logged in as `adron’
Confirming: You are now targeting and logged in to your BOSH


If you look in your AWS Console you should also see a box with a key pair named “inception” and one that is under the “microbosh-aws-us-west-2” name. The inception instance is a m1.small while the microbosh instance is an m1.medium.

That should get you going with bosh. In my next entry around bosh I’ll dive into some of Dr Nic & Brian McClain’s work before diving into what exactly Bosh actually is. As one may expect, from Stark & Wayne we can expect some pretty cool stuff, so keep an eye over there on Stark & Wayne.