Build and deploy and cloud magic

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 19, 2019, 10:58 PM | comments: 0

I've really got a drive to build out a software project that I've been thinking about for awhile. I've been committing a lot of time to it because I now have a practical use for it. One of the early steps you get into on these kinds of projects is setting up all kinds of automation to build and deploy it all. That's particularly relevant because we're doing some of the same things at work right now on some new and replacement stuff (when I say "we," I really mean my team).

This kind of set up seems like something I do only once a year at best, and usually it's even less often. Even when I was working consulting gigs, most of the time all of the magic was set up for me already by a previous team, so it's like I have to relearn it every time. It changes a lot, too, so the infrequency adds to the friction. But once you get it all done, you feel good pretty much every time it runs. For the non-technical, what this work really means is to write some code, and when you save it, it triggers all kinds of magic that makes it run on the Internets.

The coolest thing about this is that it's all pretty much free. I use a product called Azure DevOps, and it can literally do anything that I need it to do to get bits on the air. In fact, the lack of constraints is one of the things that sometimes makes it hard to learn, because without a box you have to really think through what you intend to do. But now, when I commit code, within about three minutes, the web app, the functions and the database update are all done with no manual intervention. We live in the future!

I'm also amazed at how far we've come in terms of the cost of the technology, and the speed with which you can start using it. I can provision all of the databases that I need, and my code runs on Linux, which is a big deal for a guy who specialized on tech that used to only run on Windows. And even then, it doesn't really matter, because with cloud services, all of the underlying details are abstracted from you anyway. All I know for sure is that it lights up way faster.

I'll share more about the project when it gets further along. I've been so excited about it that I've actually asked a designer to make a new logo for me!


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