Image for post
Image for post
Image by EstudioWebDoce from Pixabay

I am a big fan of side projects. I try to work on one almost every single day.

There are some side projects that get further than others, of course. Some I lose interest in quickly, some serve their purpose and I’m done with, but others I get really excited about. I want to share them with people.

Sure, I can link to my source code in GitHub, but that isn’t always enough. Sometimes I want to share the finished product.

I can share the link to the implementation in a blog post. But by default APIs in AWS have some crazy names. Names that I would consider undiscoverable. …


Pier
Pier
Photo by Tim Hill from Pixabay.

2021 is going to be the year of the API. We’re going to focus on converging on a standard (providing public APIs) and fast-forwarding our rate of innovation.

With our focus on API design with Open API Spec (OAS), we are going to run into scenarios where some automation is needed but not currently possible. Maybe this automation is custom to you and your company or maybe it’s a service you want to provide to developers everywhere. How do we go about implementing this automation? Through the use of an extension.

An extension is a simple way to add functionality to your OAS. You add some attributes to your file, implement a handler to read it and take an action, and reap the benefits of automation! …


Someone recording video on their phone
Someone recording video on their phone
Photo by photo-nic.co.uk nic on Unsplash.

When 2020 started, I couldn’t have been more excited.

My team and I had just started greenfield development on a brand new serverless app. We were excited about the opportunity to get familiar with serverless and start improving our JavaScript skills.

We spent a good amount of time in 2019 assessing options and building proof of concepts. When we finally landed on the decision to use AWS serverless, all other options seemed… silly. We contributed to the “container vs. …


Christmas stocking
Christmas stocking
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.

Every year, I give my brother his Christmas gifts in an untraditional way. It started off as just a way to be funny on Christmas Day but eventually escalated to the point where I make it a whole ordeal.

Last year, I made him call and text his presents to see if they were ready to be opened. The year before that, he had to do some research on AKC dog breeds and use that to figure out what order to open his gifts in.

This year, though… this year is different.

I’m a software developer by trade and work with cool new tech as my day job, so I’m exposed to a lot of different technologies. I decided to use my experience to provide an immersive, unique Christmas morning for my brother. …


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Image for post
Photo by Ales Nesetril on Unsplash

We are obviously in unprecedented times. Our routines are thrown off, our friendships are thrown off, our lives are thrown off.

When we’re thrown off, it can be difficult to remember the things that make us happy. The things that delight us. The things that make us….us.

With Thanksgiving and the holidays approaching, now is a great time to slow things down and reflect on what has gotten us through one of the hardest years in modern history.

So I’d like to share some of the things in tech that I appreciate now more than ever. …


person standing alone in an open space, silhouetted against the sky
person standing alone in an open space, silhouetted against the sky
Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

I remember the first time I was asked to give an estimate.

It caught me by surprise.

I was brought into a room with my boss, boss’s boss, and my boss’s boss’s boss, and we all sat at a round table looking at each other.

A couple of analysts starting reading some requirements from a client. A brief discussion was had around them.

Then my boss turned to me and said, “How long will that take?”

I didn’t know what to say. Nobody had prepped me for this. I wasn’t told I was coming into this meeting to provide estimates. …


a racing motorcycle with helmeted driver
a racing motorcycle with helmeted driver
Image by intographics from Pixabay

Would you mention reliability? Documentation? Security? Developer experience?

You might be surprised to hear that most people don’t mention performance. How fast does the API run? Whether or not they know it, they subconsciously think it.

If you use a new API for the first time and it takes five seconds to respond, you’re probably going to get a bad impression. It’s 2020: That response should have been sub-second. It should have just worked.

Whether we know it or not, we judge performance just as highly (if not more highly) than any other metric. It’s what drives our user experience. We don’t want users waiting for an action to happen. …


Man standing on rock at sea
Man standing on rock at sea
Photo by Bayu Anggoro on Unsplash.

So many things need to be built. Where do you start? You imagine all the cool features and anticipate future gotchas, but do you accommodate for them now?

This is what makes greenfield development one of the most challenging experiences in a developer’s career. Fighting back the urge to build it all now.

But you shouldn’t. And after reading this article, hopefully you won’t.

The Last Responsible Moment

The key word in the last responsible moment is the word responsible. Don’t read the phrase and think “Defer everything to the end!”

That is not what it means.

What it does mean is to build what you need right now. Don’t build software for anticipated problems. …


gray metal anchor pendant
gray metal anchor pendant
Photo by Vishal Jadhav on Unsplash

Have you ever been in a meeting talking about a new product build, and you get to the integration requirements of products x, y, and z?

You don’t really want to build direct integrations with these systems — you’d prefer to build an integration that’s more generic and could be used by anybody. Why build something custom when you could build for everyone?

In event-driven architectures, like a serverless application, you’ll have integration points at many different places in your application. These integration points are known as events and represent exactly what you’d think —that something happened.

You know how you get a notification on your phone whenever your security camera detects motion? That’s an event. The detect-motion event from your smart camera was published as soon as it saw that cat run across your driveway. …


Orange moon through a veil of smoke
Orange moon through a veil of smoke
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pixabay.

Software development has always relied on APIs. Being able to integrate with an external system has been a requirement of almost all software pretty much since the beginning.

Today, they are more prominent than ever. Everything is API-driven. We even have API-first development as a thing now.

The demand is high for APIs, and as developers, we must focus our efforts on getting reliable, strongly defined, and stable ones out the door as quickly as possible.

But what kind of responsible developer would I be if I didn’t talk about testing?

An API needs to be tested. You need to verify that it does what the documentation says it does. You need to make sure you don’t break backward compatibility. …

About

Allen Helton

I work in the cloud with a strong focus on serverless and API lifecycle. Pushing the limits on API design, standardization, and automation.

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