June 21, 2014

Adapted from a post I made on my old blog in January, 2014, about the first few workshops being planned.

I've been an advocate of diversity in IT for a long time. I'm very pleased to work in a company that has an above average ratio of female to male employees, as well as very diverse cultural backgrounds amongst our staff. In most tech communities, diversity is pretty low. It's why organizations like RailsBridge and Women Who Code and numerous others exist. The lack of diversity hurts us all because a homogeneous community doesn't have diversity of thought either: diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams.

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Some thoughts on Java 8

June 20, 2014

Originally posted on Google Plus on June 14th, 2014.

Why Java 8 might win me back...

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Getting Started

June 3, 2014

Sometimes it's very enlightening to look back at the beginning of a project to see how things got set up and how we started down the path that led to where we are today. In this post, I'm going to talk about the first ten tickets we created at World Singles as we kicked off our green field rewrite project five years ago.

I've been involved with World Singles for about five years now, about three and a half years as a full-time engineer. The project was a green field rewrite of a dating system the company had evolved over about a decade that, back in 2009, was running on ColdFusion 8 on Windows, and using SQL Server. The new platform soft-launched in late 2011 as we migrated a few small sites across and our full launch - migrating millions of members in the process - was May 2012. At that point we switched from "build" mode to "operations" mode, and today we maintain a large codebase that is a combination of CFML and Clojure, running on Railo 4.2 on Linux, and using MySQL and MongoDB, running partly in our East Coast data center and partly on Amazon.

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The Strange Loop 2013

September 22, 2013

This was my second time at The Strange Loop. When I attended in 2011, I said that it was one of the best conferences I had ever attended, and I was disappointed that family plans meant I couldn't attend in 2012. That meant my expectations were high. The main hotel for the event was the beautiful DoubleTree Union Station, an historic castle-like building that was once an ornate train station. The conference itself was a short walk away at the Peabody Opera House. Alex Miller, organizer of The Strange Loop, Clojure/West, and Lambda Jam (new this year), likes to use interesting venues, to make the conferences extra special.

I'm providing a brief summary here of what sessions I attended, followed by some general commentary about the event. As I said last time, if you can only attend one conference a year, this should be the one.

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Instrumenting Clojure for New Relic Monitoring

May 1, 2013

We've recently started evaluating the New Relic monitoring service at World Singles and when you use their Java agent with your web application container, you can get a lot of information about what's going on inside your application (JVM activity, database activity, external HTTP calls, web transaction traces). For a CFML application tho', all you tend to get in the web transaction traces is the Servlet entry point, some JDBC SQL reports, and some of the low-level Java libraries (if you're lucky!).

However, we have a mixture of CFML and Clojure, running on the free open source Railo server so I thought it might be possible to somehow instrument the Clojure code to enable more visibility into our application traces.

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