Goodbye 2018 Hello 2019

09 Jan 2019 -


Hello!

It’s taken me a while to get round to writing something down, partly because I don’t know what to write and partly becuase I wanted to switch CI tools since I removed Jenkins from my production environment.

This post is kind of a run down on 2018 and stuff I’ll be doing this year. I’ll split it into sections so it’s easier to skip around if you don’t want to read boring things.

Bye Bye Drupal

I’ve finally made the switch out of Drupal into DevOps. The rate at which project requirements change and technology as well means that it’s time to switch things up. I’m also bored with it, after 10 years of building sites I don’t find using Drupal interesting anymore. Drupal always seems so slow to make changes and I’d rather do things that I really enjoy.

Hello DevOps

It’s fun, learning new tools and fitting things together like a massive jigsaw puzzle is great. I’m also really interesting in seeing tools mature and find their place in the DevOps ecosystem.

One of the reasons for not blogging much is that I’ve not been happy with how the blog has been built and deployed. CI and CD is such an important chain in the development process, getting it right is hard.

Moving from Jenkins

Jenkins has been a great tool for many years, I’ve pushed my instances out to production for a wide range of clients and it’s worked out really well but the support for pipelines as code has always been a bit odd. The declarative syntax is ok but finding documentation for some of the more obscure tasks is annoyingly hard. Another contributing factor is that log rotation was broken in a release at some point which brought down two of my production instances (annoying ones I wasn’t monitoring in Zabbix).

CI/CD Evaluation

I’ve been evaluating a number of different applications to replace Jenkins, for personal use I’ve settled on Concourse CI, for client work I’m using Drone on AWS with the intention of replacing it. I find Concourse CI to be a perfect mix of abstraction and management, it’s CLI tool fly is great for testing a pipeline without commiting it. I’ll be publishing another blog post soon on how I deploy this blog.

Docker

Docker is such a large part of the future of deploying and building applications that I’m afraid I came to the party a bit late. Thankfully I’m getting a lot of hands on experience and more importantly enjoying using it for projects. Over 2019 I’ll be replacing the server this blog runs on and rebuilding it with everything running in containers hopefully inside Kubernetes.

Python and PHP

While I’ve stopped using Drupal I’ve not stopped using PHP, I’m finally losing many Drupalisms when building small microservices. Laravel and Lumen are my go to tools for building prototypes and small applications now. I’ve also put more time into Python using Flask to quickly spin up test APIs and building simple tools to make my life a bit easier like dalyio-to-sqlite.

Mental Health

Overall my mental health has been pretty good, still on the same medication (Citalopram 20mg) and going to therapy. I’ve cut down my therapy sessions from weekly to bi-weekly and will be going to once a month starting this year. I had a self harm relapse earlier last year but I didn’t manage to do any harm which was good. Things are still up and down but I’ve learnt that it’s normal.

A huge thanks to my parents, lovely wife, Mark & Gem for being there even if they didn’t realise it!

I’ve spent a large amount of time looking back over the past few years and how I handled mental health as a whole and learnt quite a bit about it. I used to talk a lot in public about it but I’ve made the decision to stop in 2018 and that’s something I’m pleased with. I don’t intend to put any talks out there on mental health for the forseeable future, instead I want to put that energy into other areas.

Public Speaking

2019 is the year I want to get back into the game! I’m not sure how or where yet but will be spending more time putting together talk ideas and fleshing them out. There are so many cool conferences out there now that it’d be awesome to go and speak at them. Current ideas are:

  • Failing fast in infrastructure
  • Building a companies IT infrastructure from scratch

Holidays

More of them and in warmer climates, Spain was amazing last year and I’d love to explore more of it.

Anyway that’s about it for now. Hopefully if everything is working then my CD pipeline will publish this when I push it up to github and then IFTTT will publish it to twitter.

Here’s a picture of me looking happy!

Me looking happy