Release day. Although the product team was used to a bit of a hustle to wrap up open features, perform final testing, and prepare for deployment, today presented some additional challenges.
On a previous stream we tested out the library for RTMP in Membrane to achieve streaming on our own in Elixir. This time we make it more convenient, flexible and work our way towards using it.
From Twitter I stumbled on this neat, still early, but working project for using the OpenCV library from Elixir. So I decided to give it a whirl!
GenServer is the typical Actor abstraction in Erlang and Elixir. I've used one for talking to my Elgato Keylights in the lightswitch project. It is sort of dumb.
So Software Mansion, the makers of Membrane Framework, have kindly conspired with me to get RTMP ready for Membrane. RTMP is the protcol used when streaming from popular open source tool OBS. The RTMP module is currently at a technical preview level so be warned, might have some sharp edges.
Just a brief note announcing the three winners that take home a copy of Elixir in Action by Saša Jurić. Thanks to Manning for providing those copies.
Is your company actively trying to hire Elixir developers? Or should you be?
The discussion of Contexts in Phoenix, their arguable relevance to Domain-Driven Design and their general usefulness feels like a common point of controversy in Elixir. I've gathered that the discussions went high and low as it was becoming a thing. I don't really care for controversy but what I see is a topic which gets confusing to wrangle with and which I never know quite how to explain. So this will be an attempt to explain what Contexts as provided are, cover some common concerns around this and two rather opposing suggestions about how to deal with them.
The book Elixir in Action by Saša Jurić is widely recognized as one of the best books on this language I favor. I've been meaning to run some giveaways and this book was always on the agenda. It shouldn't be the only one but I think it makes a very appropriate starting point. Especially as the book has been such a starting point for many Elixirists through the years.
I became familiar with Marcin Kulik when I was brought in to work with a company called Vic.ai. A fintech startup. Marcin is the guy who started building their entire Elixir system and was the person to primarily onboard me to the work. When I was brought in they were a small team of 4 devs, looking to grow up to around 7 at the time.
How many Raspberry Pi do you have sitting in a drawer. I think I still have about 4? And at least 2 on a shelf. I may be over the average there but the story itself is common. Oh! This is neat, I can automate X with this and ...
This livestream we tried to control my Elgato Keylights from a Nerves device. We really tried gang, come on. A good attempt.
Sitting down to show some of the work I've done with Nerves and Erlang Distribution for clustering Raspberry Pis. This is what I do when I have a cold and am not streaming. Automatically, with mDNS.
Cleaning up previous work and making the eInk display look fabulous by iterating in our LiveView-based simulator. We get this thing ready for small office production :)
I sat down with the stream and gently coaxed a couple of Raspberry Pi Zeros to cluster up with each other using the Nerves project.
I've been enjoying some Nerves recently which prompted me to finally order the Pi400 to play around with. In this stream I unpack it and get Nerves running on it without having tried it before or hearing that anyone had tried it. I just trusted the hard work of the Nerves team.
The Inky eInk display was one of my first real things done with Elixir. And I'm apparently back on my bullshit. Because I just pulled that thing out and tried it with Nerves + Livebook. Had a really good time this stream and I think I want to do more things with hardware like this. Let me know how you like that.
There are some very exciting updates in Phoenix 1.6 that just recently hit RC. We go through and try them out. It all seems to work great. I consider every bit of it an improvement.
As part of some foundational work on a CMS concept I've been building out this fairly dynamic Ecto-based way of dealing with content types and content (we call it entity types and entities) in a database.
Me and an experienced programmer friend sit down and try to teach him Elixir using the Elixir School curriculum and materials. We are doing it in Livebook. This time, strings.
I've had a lot of thoughts and a few failed runs at creating a CMS in Elixir. This isn't because Elixir is particular hard to do it in. Rather the opposite. The reason I've abandoned those efforts have to do with what exactly I want solved with a CMS.
Me and an experienced programmer friend sit down and try to teach him Elixir using the Elixir School curriculum and materials. We are doing it in Livebook. This time, comprehensions.
Getting deeper and farther into trying to do Operational Transformation with Erlang wxStyledTextCtrl, aka. Scintilla and TextDelta.
Me and an experienced programmer friend sit down and try to teach him Elixir using the Elixir School curriculum and materials. We are doing it in Livebook. This time, sigils, the most arcane.
In an act of hubris I try to tackle with wxStyledTextCtrl and Operational Transformation in an unholy alliance of native UI and offline-friendly collaboration. I get partway there but nothing actually works.
Me and an experienced programmer friend sit down and try to teach him Elixir using the Elixir School curriculum and materials. We are doing it in Livebook. This time, modules.
That's right. It never has been.
In this stream of the PETAL Photo project we work on authentication.
It begins. For my vacation work-days, a concept to explain soon, I wanted to try to scratch an itch that I feel have product potential. So I decided to do parts of the work on the stream. This is the first part.
It continues. After some off-stream work fixing the upload issues from last stream we are now mostly heading into making this visually sensible. We are using the PETAL stack and that means a lot of Tailwind CSS.
Getting a bit technical in this one we get into thumbnails and video transcoding in the middle of a heatwave. Watch me sweat .. the details with FFMPEG.
I don't think I've ever had more distrust and as a consequence distate for software than in recent years. I don't think its just me as a tech-nerd with artisanal tech-carpentry aspirations. I want people to build well, treat their users right and generally exercise some actual restraint. I see it very clearly and I react more viscerally than anyone non-technical in my surroundings. However, I see the frustrations and the consequences everywhere.
I'm pretty skeptical of Kubernetes as a choice for small teams, small projects and any less complicated operation. Gerhard Lazu is quite enthusiastic about it on the other hand. After having me on his show Ship It!, a Changelog.com production, I expressed some curiosity about k3s, a lightweight variant of k8s. He offered to come on the livestream and show me how good life can be. Hope you enjoy the video.
For this livestream I sat down with pen and (i)Pad and tried to hash out some of my design thinking for a product idea I've been turning over in my head.
Me and an experienced programmer friend sit down and try to teach him Elixir using the Elixir School curriculum and materials. We are doing it in Livebook. This time, the pipe operator |>.
Me and an experienced programmer friend sit down and try to teach him Elixir using the Elixir School curriculum and materials. We are doing it in Livebook. This time, functions.
Alex Koutmos, creator of the PromEx library and buddy from the radio show gave us some of his time to help set up Grafana and Prometheus metrics for our application Noted. This was an extremely tight path to a lot of observability. PromEx is very kind to you as a developer. Leveraging the common telemetry API to make something really compelling. And then Alex has spent the effort so you get a whole bunch of useful default dashboards rather than needing to decide up front what you want. I thought this was quite the well-packed hour. Hope you enjoy.
Me and an experienced programmer friend sit down and try to teach him Elixir using the Elixir School curriculum and materials. We are doing it in Livebook. This time, control structures
Made the webcrawler better, more polite. Plan to continue with this in coming livestreams, so watch this to get up to speed on what we are doing.
Me and an experienced programmer friend sit down and try to teach him Elixir using the Elixir School curriculum and materials. We are doing it in Livebook. This time, pattern matching.
Had some great fun building on this webcrawler on the stream. Plan to continue with this in coming livestreams, so watch this to get up to speed on what we are doing.
Me and an experienced programmer friend sit down and try to teach him Elixir using the Elixir School curriculum and materials. We are doing it in Livebook. This time, Enum as in enumerables. We map, we reduce, we love and we laugh.
This livestream turned out well. We got the Erlang wx module to work as intended in Elixir. We built a window, we made some controls, we made them interact. Good fun.
Last weeks livestream was spent mostly on setting up the PETAL stack basics for a project. Then we spent some time with setting up Exqlite and finally started looking at setting up SiteEncrypt. Everything you'd need for an indie SaaS ;)
Me and an experienced programmer friend sit down and try to teach him Elixir using the Elixir School curriculum and materials. We are doing it in Livebook. This time, collections. So lists and maps, etc.
Me and an experienced programmer friend sit down and try to teach him Elixir using the Elixir School curriculum and materials. We are doing it in Livebook.
A livestream where I created some parts of an overlay for my stream. In this case it shows some indication of what we do during a coding stream by showing lines-of-code stats as we go. This is the view-at-your-leisure archival footage of that. This time in 1080.
Membrane Framework allows processing media streams in a very high-level compelling way with Elixir. I've been wanting to work with it for a while and finally did a small thing with it around my most recent livestream. When we did the live stream we didn't get it all the way to where I wanted. This resolves that.
Another live stream. I've been very curious to try Membrane and I finally got to screw around with it some. Thanks to Marcel Fahle for being a patient and helpful guest.
Last friday I did my second live stream. A lot of nice people stopped by and I spent the time showing and getting more familiar with the newly released Livebook.
The Lumen Project is an ambitious compiler development effort to create a complimentary set of compilers and tools that allow developers to get the power of the Erlang VM, The BEAM, in places it does not traditionally fit. Such as the browser. Currently the project is at an early released stage as covered in Luke's ElixirConf talk. It does not yet implement all of Erlang OTP and as such won't handle most Erlang/Elixir you could throw at it. I want to show something that it does do. And while the project is a complicated compiler project you do not need to know that stuff to try it out. This should be achievable for most developers and to ensure that I wasn't talking out of my rear I had my assistant developer follow the instructions without my input and it worked out well.
I asked my network about noting ideas quickly and got a lot of good responses. One mentioned saving them in Telegram. I don't think I want to do specifically that but I do want a minimum friction way of noting ideas for later review and refinement. And sending them to a Telegram chat would be quite nice. So I started on the path of something like a note-taking system using Telegram for ingesting quick notes. And I want to share the satisfaction I felt with seeing the near real-time way that it works.
This is a small update to let you know that the RSS feed contains full content.
Before I did the independent thing I was a developer at a few different companies. I worked on multiple things but one of the main things I worked on was a series of products in the preschool education segment here in Sweden, that's the titular vertical. The products have since been shut down. This series of posts will cover my trajectory as a professional web developer as well as the evolution of these systems. The series has three parts (they are already written) and will likely receive an addendum. This is part 3.
Before I did the independent thing I was a developer at a few different companies. I worked on multiple things but one of the main things I worked on was a series of products in the preschool education segment here in Sweden, that's the titular vertical. The products have since been shut down. This series of posts will cover my trajectory as a professional web developer as well as the evolution of these systems. The series has three parts (they are already written) and will likely receive an addendum. This is part 2.
I recently wrote about the PETAL stack on Changelog.com and as I haven't really had a chance to really get my hands dirty with it I decided that my next lab project should use it. So I set it up as a public repo and added the missing components manually by following some guides. You can see the commits or follow along.
Before I did the independent thing I was a developer at a few different companies. I worked on multiple things but one of the main things I worked on was a series of products in the preschool education segment here in Sweden, that's the titular vertical. The products have since been shut down. This series of posts will cover my trajectory as a professional web developer as well as the evolution of these systems. The series has three parts (they are already written) and will likely receive an addendum.
I want to shine a light on some podcasts that I really appreciated as I made my bid for independence and went out to contract, consult and strap boots. Because in some aspects running your own business can be lonely. It suits me well but I also immensely appreciate having some voices that share my concerns, contribute to my thinking and sometimes just keep me company.
I generally don't track startup news and financing rounds closely but it filters in because I enjoy tech. And these two Elixir-based companies made a blip on my radar recently with their successful rounds. So why not. Let's be a little bit business.
While working I mostly found the attention of recruiters slightly reassuring but often annoying. I think that annoyance is fairly common, usually built up from countless LinkedIn drive-by attempts from unreading keyword-hunting recruiters. I thought that now, out on my own, maybe this legion of recruiters can be my sales department.
I've been mostly happy using a Mac since I got myself my first computer earned with programmer money. I believe it was a mid 2009 15" MacBook Pro. That was a computer I used at least until 2016 which I consider very decent usable life. At that point I had replaced the hard-drive with an SSD, upgraded the RAM and switched a battery that was worn out. I stopped using it when it just straight died some time in 2016.
The BEAM is the virtual machine that Erlang and Elixir runs on. It is widely cited as a battle-tested piece of software though I don't know in which wars it has seen action. It has definitely paid its dues in the telecom space as well as globally scaled projects such as Whatsapp and Discord. It is well suited to tackle soft-realtime distributed systems with heavy concurrency. It has been a good platform chugging along. And with a small team at Ericsson responsible for much of its continuing development it has been managed in a deeply pragmatic way. Erlang has always been a bit of a secret and silent success. Almost no-one uses it if you look at market shares. But among the ones that use it there seems to be a very positive consensus. And then Elixir came and caused a bit of a boom. I think the BEAM has benefited from Elixir and Elixir wouldn't exist without the BEAM. With that bit of background I'd like to shine a light on some cool developments that I think makes the BEAM more interesting or even uniquely interesting in the future.
So any time recently that I've gone looking for a good overview of supervision trees in Elixir I haven't found what I want.
So in my post Is this evil? I covered a way of tracking users with CSS. While thinking about those weird ways of using the web I also started thinking about pushing live data to clients without JS. Or at least maintaining a connection. So WebSockets requires JS. WebRTC requires JS. Even HLS (video streaming), which would otherwise be super cool, with captions for accessibility. But no. Or rather, maybe on Apple platforms. Eh. Not good enough.
Pondering one of the things I want to make an impact in: helping inexperienced developers get the traction they need to find their way into the industry.
A brief weekly run-down of what I've been doing.
I try to be a friendly citizen of the web. I try to keep my site in good shape. It should load quickly, track nothing beyond your basic server logs, not hassle you about cookies, GDPR or my newsletter. I do have a newsletter but it won't pop up in your face here. I try to stay firmly on the side of friendly and a good experience in how I run this site.
A brief weekly run-down of what I've been doing and what I'm planning on doing.
A brief weekly run-down of what I've been doing and what I'm planning on doing.
Chris Dosé was interviewed by us on Elixir Mix. When he spoke about his work on a Nerves-powered keyboard I knew this was a project I wanted to try out. So I dropped into their dev channel, acquired the hardware (thanks for the help) and have done some playing around with it.
This is a brief announcement. If you are interested in following bloggers in the BEAM, Elixir, Erlang, etc. ecosystem or you blog yourself. Please check out beambloggers.com to get in on the old-school webring action. Bloggers can join it. It might lead to some traffic. Mostly it is a small nod to a stranger old time on the web when sites organized in rings for discoverability. I think the need for discoverability remains and some webrings have been showing up again. You can find the shuffler for the webring at the bottom of my site as well and just let it carry you to a new site.
I feel like a curmudgeonly sort recently. I'm honestly a pretty optimistic and positive person. But I'm becoming increasingly technically curmudgeonly. I don't think it is age turning me conservative. But I feel like I'm moving back to what I find tried and true in many ways. I feel resentful in a lot of cases where I can't really reasonably go back. So what am I talking about here?
I've been very surprised and delighted over a number of years now by Microsoft's strong efforts in open source. I understand the skeptics, I was on Slashdot when they tried to sue Linux out of existence and I think only time will tell. I figure MS contributing is better than them hunting Linux distributions for sport. So I was mostly onboard for Microsofts efforts and I've especially found Visual Studio Code useful.
This is about a reaction I noticed with myself in response to membership programs, patreons and individual sponsorship as I've run into significantly more of these following Corona. The advertising-supported model has confirmed many of the concerns about its sustainability and creators are looking for more reliable options. I think this feeling I have might be something other people experience and something for creators to be prepared for.
On a recent Elixir Outlaws episode Chris Keathley told us all a nice story of the advantages of Elixir as opposed to Ruby. His frustration with Ruby and appreciation of how Elixir works resonate at the frequency of my own frustrations and joys. I believe my titular quote is accurate, that's one of the primary things he noted. How nice it is to use a runtime that can do more than one thing at a time.
My recent work with WordPress revived a frustration I built up while working with software from that era of the 2000's. Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and friends. Whenever you visit a page, the system will generate it from scratch.
WordPress is approximately the most popular CMS out there. I've worked with it plenty over the years, off and on, as clients, employers and others have needed websites.
Short update on the general state of things. Pandemic quarantine in full swing. Me and mine are doing fine. Thankfully. We are staying at home awaiting a baby. I'm likely to be fairly sporadic for a few months. But I do intend to keep writing. Most of my blog posts are written to be useful in the longer term. If you want more in-the-moment writing, the newsletter is more temporally anchored publication (signup further down, no pop-up).
A little while back I released a tool for self-evaluating as a web developer. I have just now updated it to include some explanation and guidance for things topics where the learner indicates a need for it.
I've been thinking a lot about inexperienced (junior, if you must) web developers and just how much there is to learn about programming in general but the web in particular. You often hear people say that you don't need to know everything but you should have a solid foundation. Well, how do you establish a solid foundation and how do you know if you have one? How do you get introduced to all the relevant terminology and how do you find out what you haven't learned yet?
My brain has very little chill on a day-to-day basis. There are moments where I can find a very peaceful state of mind. Doing something menial in the garden for an extended time, cooling off outside after a while in a sauna, winding down after heavy exercise. At most other times my mind is usually working on something or I'm itching with the need to do things.
The Lumen Project is an alternative implementation of the Erlang VM, more known as the BEAM. It is designed to work in WebAssembly with the specific goal of bringing Elixir and Erlang to the browser.
A good ol' while back I wrote about why I'm interested in Elixir. I think that deserves some follow-up.
This should be the final piece of this saga. Previous parts can be found here:
This covers how to create Signed URL Custom Policies with Cloudfront in Elixir.
So me and Emilio Nyaray made Inky. We built on top of what was there from Nerves and Scenic and in the end we had theInky series of eInk displays for Raspberry Pi devices working with Nerves through Elixir. Cool. That was a fun tripI've covered previously:
If you have an interest in the Elixir ecosystem I think the Elixir Radar newsletter is useful resource. I followed it even before I had any real opportunity to work with Elixir or Phoenix but it helped in keeping me up with conference talks, interesting blog posts and assorted other stuff. I recommend it.
In the first part I covered the basics of getting started with Dynamic repositories with Ecto. Using that post we can create one or more repos at runtime, create the necessary database, run migrations to get it ready and then direct queries to it. That's a good start. Building blocks for something better. I'll try to get into the better bits here.
You can listen to it here.
Ecto is the database library we know and love from the Elixir ecosystem. It is used by default in Phoenix, thehigh-profileweb framework. Ecto has a bunch of cool features and ideas. But this post is about a corner full of nuts, bolts andvery little of the shiny or hot stuff. It just covers some rather specific needs. Ecto docs for these features arethis guide and this API. But that is usually not thewhole picture. I'll try to cover some of the practicalities.
While I'm writing something a bit more involved and substantial I figured I could give an update on what I've been doing. Mostly around Elixir. But I'll cover a few different things.
So I'm launching a newsletter. The sign-up is at the bottom of the page, it won't pop up here, so read on inpeace.
This is a post covering the creation and refinement of an open source project within the Elixir ecosystem. More words than code. Be warned.
Whenever we design and create software we need to pay attention to the trade-offs we are making.
So I've been curious about what kinds of displays you can connect to the Pi-series single board computers for a while. I happened to accidentally order a few. Among others an eInk display. I ordered the PaPiRus ePaper. It ended up being dead on arrival and then out of stock so I received an Inky to replace it. Fair enough.
Me and nyaray finally finished up our work on the Inky eInk display library to a level where we are happy to release it. So Inky 1.0.0 is now out on Hex! Docs are on there too.
Do you have a system that is vital to your business that your development team seems to have given up on? Do they consider it old, slow, complicated or impossible to work with? Are they pushing heavily for a rewrite?
I’ve had Elixir on the brain recently. And by recently I probably mean 2 years. In my defense I think it is fair to say it is blooming right now. I haven’t had much need of it, or opportunity for it, in my day-to-day of maintaining a Python legacy system, renewing another legacy or optimizing Elasticsearch. So I’ve tried it with a few hobby projects I’ve spent time on and that was fun. But mostly I really just watched the community and what they did with a feeling of “Shiiiit, I want in on some of that!”. I'll primarily touch on BEAM, OTP, Phoenix Presence, Phoenix LiveView, Nerves, Scenic and Rustler.
This post covers setting up a Scenic project in the Elixir programming language. It briefly covers the default method but largely dives into adding Scenic to an existing project, which covers the different parts that Scenic requires to run.