Tag Archives: herdingcode

Herding Code 191: Derick Bailey on SignalLeaf and Getting Started Podcasting

The guys (joined by guest host Rob Conery) talk to Derick Bailey about his new podcast audio hosting venture, SignalLeaf.

Download / Listen: Herding Code 191: Derick Bailey on SignalLeaf and Getting Started Podcasting

Show Notes:

  • What is SignalLeaf?
    • (00:18) Kevin introduces the show and warns listeners that Rob Conery is present.
    • (01:00) Kevin asks Derick what SignalLeaf is. Derick explains that SignalLeaf is a podcast audio hosting service. He explains how his service compares to big players like Libsyn.
    • (02:05) There’s a discussion of Libsyn. Jon confesses that Herding Code still runs off WordPress on an "unlimited hosting" account.
  • Bandwidth costs
    • (02:52) Jon asks Derick if the main cost is bandwidth. Derick explains that SignalLeaf runs on Heroku, but all the storage goes directly to Amazon S3 storage. He agrees that bandwidth is the main cost, and is planning to just make sure the overall subscribers balance out some of the more expensive bandwidth costs.
    • (04:52) Jon asks Derick what else he provides outside of audio hosting. Derick says he provides audio hosting, an RSS feed and stats, but he limits it at that. He also provides a blog with a lot of good information. The goal isn’t a big all-in-one service, just keeping it simple for people who want to get started.
    • (06:31) Rob gives the example of the rapid takeoff of This Developer’s Life and asks how Derick’s planning to handle pricing for unpredictable bandwidth. Derick says the model’s focused on unlimited uploads, but limited in how many releases a podcaster makes in a month. He’s relying on the law of average to pay for the popular podcasts.
    • (09:18) Rob talks about the huge streaming bills he was getting from Amazon for TekPub, which he almost eliminated by switching to Vimeo. He asks Derick if he’s looked into services like that. Derick says the backend is abstracted so he can move to other services if needed.
  • What does SignalLeaf run on? (Part 1)
    • (11:10) Jon asks about what SignalLeaf runs on. Derick mentions MongoDb (running on MongoLab), Keen.io  for analytics and CloudAMQP.com for RabbitMQ.
  • What services does SignalLeaf provide?
    • (13:25) Kevin asks more about the services SignalLeaf offers. Derick mentions storage, bandwidth, storage and analytics. Something he offers beyond what many other similar services provide is – if you use his RSS feed and embedable audio player – he can tell you where your listeners are coming from.
    • (14:50) Derick mentions his blog post showing that about 50% of listeners don’t listen via RSS. Jon said he’s seen the same thing with the Herding Code site.
  • Stats and advertising services
    • (17:25) Jon says advertisers are always asking for stats, and the kind of stats that advertisers want are hard to find. Derick mentions a service (blubrry) that inserts audio ads, but doesn’t think that sounds like a good idea. He mentions a business podcast running on a free service which had some off-color ads included as an example.
  • Getting started in podcasting: What equipment and software do you need?
    • (20:40) Rob asks how a developer should get started with creating a podcast. Derick says just hit record and get started. Don’t buy equipment, just record something and upload it and get started. He talks about professional podcasters who put artificial barriers up by focusing on radio quality recording; he disagrees.
    • (23:56) Jon mentions Derick’s recent post on getting started. He agrees with Derick and says don’t start by buying equipment, get started and buy equipment as you need it.
    • (26:11) Jon says he doesn’t use his high end condenser microphone because it picks up lots of noise and sounds strange compared to guests and other hosts. Rob asks Derick what people getting started should buy to start with. Derick recommends starting with a $26 Logitech headset, then looking at a $50 Audio Technica ATR 2100, a $90 Blue Yeti, $220 Rode podcaster mic etc.
    • (30:15) Rob asks about recording software. Derick mentions Garageband, Skype Call Recorder and Audacity. Jon uses a free Skype call recorder from scribie.com, Audacity and Reaper.fm. Jon and Derick both love the noise removal feature in Audacity.
    • (33:26) Jon says another thing to figure out at the beginning is how much you want to edit. Jon tries to focus on removing ums and repeated words and things, but leave it sounding natural. Both Jon and Derick say that Rob’s the easiest guest to edit.
    • (35:40) Jon asks K. Scott what he uses for recording. He uses Audacity and Camtasia. Jon tells a story about how how he spliced in audio from a previous call when one of the hosts couldn’t make a show. It didn’t make sense, but no one seemed to notice.
    • (36:50) K. Scott asks what kind of formats don’t work on a podcast. Derick says that visual features and visual cues obviously don’t translate.
  • What does SignalLeaf run on? (Part 2)
    • (38:21) Rob asks everyone to guess about the technology Derick’s running on. Turns out it’s all Node.js. Derick talks about how he got started with Node.js. Jon asks about what other libraries he’s using. Derick mentions Express, S3 restful API’s for upload and host, raygun.io for exceptions, keen.io for analytics, stripe.com for billing, MongoDb for data, Mandrill App for SMTP. Derick talks about how little it takes to build up a service now – he’s able to stitch a lot of services together to build what he needs. (45:30) K. Scott asks what text editor he uses. Derick’s a big VIM fan, having started with a Visual Studio VIM extension a while ago.
    • (47:20) Kevin asks about JavaScript libraries and testing. Derick talks up Backbone, Q and RSVP for promises, Underscore for utilities, and moment.js for date / time math.
    • (50:07) K. Scott asks whether Derick uses Grunt or Gulp. Derick says he’s thought about looking at Gulp, but Grunt works for him, although he doesn’t like .
  • Discussion about managing small, application specific Node modules
    • (50:55) Derick says he doesn’t like the way NPM wants you to have a separate git repository for each module – he wants to have all of his modules in one repo. He works around that by using different repositories for development and deployment. Kevin says that his company uses softlinks to work around that, but Derick’s not happy with that. Rob thinks you can do file references, but Derick and Kevin disagrees. Jon asks if submodules would work. Rob and Derick discuss cases where it does and doesn’t make sense to use different repos for different small modules which are specific to a project. Rob talks about using grunt to run an npm install command, or npm init or start scripts (set in package.json), or npm init.
  • Fin
    • (1:01:55) Kevin asks Derick if there’s anything else he wants to mention. Derick starts to mention WatchMeCode.com but the calls keep dropping and the show spontaneously combusts.

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Herding Code 190: Rob Ashton on NodeJS vs C#, Clojure and Cooking Constraints

In our final interview from NDC London, Jon and K. Scott talk to Rob Ashton his cage match with Jeremy Miller on NodeJS vs. C#, some functional languages he’s been learning, and cooking just enough curry.

Download / Listen: Herding Code 190: Rob Ashton on NodeJS vs C#, Clojure and Cooking Constraints

Show Notes:

  • The NDC Cage Match: Testing! NodeJS vs. C#
    • (00:18) K Scott asks Rob about the cage match he just had with Jeremy Miller comparing testing in NodeJS and C#. Rob’s got a lot of good things to say about what Jeremy showed, but is pretty sure he won.
    • (02:40) K Scott asks Rob to explain why he doesn’t like monkey patching. Rob mentions how QuickCheck helps, then talks about how code structure obviates the need for monkey patching.
    • (05:16) Jon asks how he bootstraps his application to inject dependencies and explains how he avoids deep dependency chains.
  • Clojure?
    • (06:40) K Scott asks what led him to Clojure.
    • (07:39) Jon asks Rob what he likes about Clojure. Rob says a better question is what he likes about functional programming languagues, then explains.
    • (09:25) K Scott asks about some of the learning project Rob’s been working with to learn Clojure. Rob talks about some of the games he started with, then the RavenDb reimplementation he’s been building with Clojure called Craven.
  • What do you do in your free time?
    • (12:56) K Scott asks Rob what he does in his free time. Rob starts by talking about Clojure, then talks about some of the complicated cooking things he’s been working on. He talks about some of the similarities between cooking and coding, and some of the constraint he deals with in ambitions cooking projects.
  • The future
    • (14:58) K Scott asks Rob about some of his plans for early 2014.  Erlang away!

Show Links:

Herding Code 189: Gary Bernhardt on The Birth and Death of JavaScript

At NDC London, Jon and K Scott talk to Gary Bernhardt about his talk, The Birth and Death of JavaScript.

Download / Listen: Herding Code 189: Gary Bernhardt on The Birth and Death of JavaScript

Show Notes:

  • (00:15) The talk occurs in the year 2035. JavaScript is now pronounced differently, and there has been another world war.
  • (01:20) Jon ran over to the talk when he heard (via Twitter) that Gary was (or will be, it’s all so confusing) mentioning Singularity.
  • (02:20) Jon asks about Gary’s references to the performance improvements gained by turning off hardware protection. Gary and Jon discuss how Singularity and the (yet to be developed) Asm language offer high performance due to this approach.
  • (04:10) Jon asks why JavaScript has died, since Asm is universal. Gary mentions some of the problems – many historical – with JavaScript. And Gary should know, he’s famous for the "wat" talk showing several JavaScript insanities.
  • (05:37) Jon asks for some reasons why JavaScript had to die. Gary explains how it’s really just running on inertia now, and that it’d be preferable to use a better designed language like Clojure.
  • (06:30) Jon asks what we’re writing our code in, now that it’s compiling to Asm. Gary doesn’t specify that – it’s not really necessary to pick one, and he doesn’t need to alienate anyone unnecessarily.
  • (07:45) Jon asks if Asm is a binary format. Gary clarifies that it’s the JavaScript subset that was proposed in 2012.
  • (08:54) Jon asks if Asm is perfect, or just good enough. Gary talks about how both Asm and the HTML DOM (which also has become universal in 2035) are full of flaws, but they’re better than fragmentation. Jon and Gary talk abouthow
  • (10:45) K Scott says this all sounds plausible, all that’s needed is time. So, why 2035? Gary talks about his reasoning… it could happen faster. He talks about some core services moving into operating system kernels, and Jon and K Scott agree.
  • (12:55) Jon applauds Gary’s 25-30 minute talk length.
  • (13:15) Jon mentions some of the interesting audience questions at the end of the talk. Gary talks about some of the most interesting. All of them were pretty easy except for the question of parallel execution.
  • (15:20) There’s a discussion about the limitations of x86 architecture and parallelism.
  • (16:10) Jon asks about some of the other things Gary’s up to – there are the Destroy All Software screencasts and a consumer product Gary’s working on but isn’t ready to announce yet.
  • (16:40) K Scott asks Gary about relaxation and recreation. Gary says that he’d become really preoccupied with things that were bad in software, and it was stressing him out. He’s made three changes: intentional social interactions, crossfit and playing guitar. All three have helped him be less angry about the state of software… which is all hacks on x86, when we get down to it.

Show Links:

Herding Code 188: Pete Smith on Superscribe

At NDC London, Jon talks to Pete Smith about Superscribe, a library which brings graph based routing to ASP.NET, Web API and OWIN.

Download / Listen: Herding Code 188: Pete Smith on Superscribe

Note: There’s a little bit of background noise due to the conference recording.

Show Notes:

  • Intro to Superscribe
    • (00:20) Jon asks Pete to explain what Superscribe’s graph-based routing means. Pete explains how traditional routing needs to check each route for a match, one at a time. Graph-based routing stores using a structure, so there are some performance gains due to only matching routes with a matching structure rather than using string matching.
    • (02:17) Pete explains that graph based routing is language agnostic, so there’s also a JavaScript implementation.
  • Extensibility due to strongly typed route nodes
    • (02:37) Each node in the graph is a strongly typed entity, so you can use an activation function for each node in the graph to determine if it’s a match rather than just using a simple regex match. You can write custom activation functions for any node. For parameter matching, Superscribe uses TryParse rather than regex matches.
    • (04:22) There are three guiding principles behind Superscribe: composability, efficiency and extensibility.
  • The OWIN connection
    • (05:22) Jon asks where Superscribe can be used. Pete says it’s currently usable in Web API and OWIN, with NancyFx and possibly MVC on the way.
    • (06:02) In addition to activation functions, you can also define an action function which says what should happen when a node is matched. This allows running different OWIN middleware based on route matches. This means you can hook up authentication middleware using an action function which will only operate on a specific node.
  • Graphs vs. Trees
    • (08:16) You can hook up optional nodes, which would allow things like an optional /debug/ route prefix which would hook up tracing middleware. Pete says this is something that wouldn’t be possible with tree-based routing (available in NancyFx).
    • (09:00) Jon asks what the difference is between tree-based routing and graph-based routing. Both are connected nodes, and trees are a type of graph in which the node connections branch out and ever reconnect, whereas in a graph any node may connect to any other node.
  • API options: Different ways to define route graphs
    • (09:53) Jon asks how developers will define nodes in Superscribe. Pete talks about the difference between economy and expressivity: economic design has fewer options but is easy to learn, while expressive design offers many options but a steeper learning curve. Superscribe is currently more expressive, using a domain specific language using operator overloads. It overloads the / symbol to add segments and the | operator to allow defining multiple routes (or the entire graph) in a single line.
    • (12:28) Jon says that you can always add an economic API layer over an expressive one. Pete agrees and says that since everything’s strongly typed underneath, you can configure it explicitly or fluently  as well (if you don’t like the DSL).
    • (13:14) Jon asks about how to hook in action functions or activator functions. Pete says they’re currently not available in the DSL, so you’d need to build those notes out by hand at this point.
  • Miscellaneous questions and pretend ending
    • (15:08) Jon asks about using routes for localization. Pete talks about some options for doing that.
    • (16:28) Jon asks what’s next on the list. Pete lists some features: syntax improvements and OWIN middleware ideas.
    • (19:12) Jon asks how people can learn more and keep up, Pete talks about Superscribe.org.
    • (20:12) Jon asks about the use case for Superscript in JavaScript. Pete talks about how activation functions are really useful in single page applications and how he’s using this in a production application. He’s working on packaging this up as Superscribe.js.
  • Update on the 0.4 release (follow-up phone call)
    • (22:11) Jon asks what’s new in the 0.4 release. Pete starts by describing some improvements to the routing syntax.
    • (23:02) You can now combine Web API replacement routing, traditional routing, Attribute Routing and Superscribe in the same application, so you can pick and choose.
    • (23:24) You can wire it up with an IOC container, so you can compose different components based on routes. You can also use route information in OWIN middleware.
    • (23:56) Everything about the new release is up on the Superscribe.org site.

Show Links:

Herding Code 187: Brock Allen on ASP.NET Security and Identity

At NDC London, Jon and K. Scott talk to Paul Betts about several of his recent open source libraries designed to simplify cross platform development on C#.

Download / Listen: Herding Code 187: Brock Allen on ASP.NET Security and Identity

Show Notes:

  • Intro
    • (00:18) Brock gave two presentations on security at NDC, as well as a two day pre-conference workshop with Dominick Baier (also on security).
  • Brock’s contribution of CORS support to ASP.NET Web API
    • (00:35) Jon asks Brock about the CORS support he recently contributed to ASP.NET Web API. Brock tells the history of how he built a CORS implementation at Thinktecture and how he went about contributing it.
    • (01:21) Jon asks Brock about what was involved in his CORS implementation. Brock describes the limitations browsers place on cross-origin requests and how CORS solves that. It’s defined in the HTML5 specs and is supported by all modern browsers.
    • (02:12) Jon asks what’s required on the server for CORS to work. Brock explains how servers respond to browsers to tell them they support CORS and which other servers they want to allow communications with.
    • (02:45) The most common form of browser communications for CORS is via an OPTIONS request from the browser, to which the server responds using predefined headers.
    • (03:14) K. Scott asks about the process of getting his CORS implementation added to the ASP.NET Web API codebase. Brock explains the process, including his big pull request and the month of work he and Yao put in to getting the code "Microsoftified." Brock’s implementation was pretty broad, the shipping version was targeted just at Web API.
  • Thinktecture Identity Model
    • (04:59) Jon asks if there’s any reason to use the Thinktecture Identity Model version now. Brock explains the other areas that Identity Model supports, and that many of the features of Thinktecture Identity Model have been removed as ASP.NET Web API has added a lot of these features to the core.
  • ASP.NET Identity and Membership Reboot
    • (06:09) K. Scott asks how the identity features in Thinktecture Identity Model compare to the new features shipped in the new ASP.NET Identity system. Brock describes the problems that the ASP.NET Identity system was designed to solve.
    • (07:02) Brock describes the membership system he wrote as an alternative to the ASP.NET provider model system, called Membership Reboot. His Membership Reboot system includes things like password resets and e-mail account verification which are not in the initial version of ASP.NET Identity, but he thinks that the new system is well architected to add these in, since it’s just a NuGet package.
    • (07:42) Jon asks Brock about the other features Membership Reboot covers. Brock says that was the subject of one of his talks – how he implemented features like password reset, e-mail verification and two factor authentication without opening up attack vectors.
  • ASP.NET Security
    • (08:27) K. Scott asks about the other talks Brock did at NDC London. His other talk was on ASP.NET Core Security – he focused on teasing apart the membership and forms authentication parts so they’re understood as separate components.
    • (09:20) Jon asks Brock how he got interested in security. Brock talks about his background in programming, and how he thinks it’s interesting to see how the different parts work together.
    • (09:48) Jon talks about cases he sees where developers decide they want to write their own security implementations for speed or other reasons. Brock says that was one of the key points of his talk: you don’t want to implement those things yourself.
    • (10:19) Jon asks about common security issues that developers commonly forget to consider. Brock lists several: proper implementation of SSL, password management, etc.
  • What’s Next For Brock?
    • (11:09) Jon asks what’s next for Brock. He’ll be busy: he’s got a lot of course rework for recent updates, Identity Server v3 (with OpenID Connect).
    • (11:46) Jon asks how OpenID Connect affects him as a developer.
    • (13:15) K. Scott asks what Brock does to relax. Brock does Tai Chi and Kung Fu.

Show Links:

Herding Code 186: Paul Betts on three cross-platform libraries: splat, ModernHttpClient and punchclock

At NDC London, Jon and K. Scott talk to Paul Betts about several of his recent open source libraries designed to simplify cross platform development on C#.

Download / Listen: Herding Code 186: Paul Betts on three cross-platform libraries: splat, ModernHttpClient and punchclock

Show Notes:

  • Intro
    • (00:18) Jon welcomes Paul back – he’s been on a few times before, talking about GitHub for Windows and Reactive UI.
    • (00:28) Paul has a dream: he’d like to write applications in C# and have them run everywhere: iOS, Android, Windows Phone maybe even WinRT. He’s not interested in sharing everything (views or designer code), but there’s plenty of other code that developers shouldn’t need to rewrite for every platform.
    • (01:16) Jon asks if Xamarin doesn’t help with this. Paul says that Xamarin’s intention is to give you direct access to the native platform, which is good when developing for a specific platform, but not when you’re working on cross-platform applications.
    • 01:32 Paul’s been on a crusade, writing a lot of small, cross-platform libraries.
  • splat
    • (01:48) splat is a library that lets you share certain things in cross-platform viewmodels, the biggest one being images. It allows for the simple load-and-display scenario. Each platform hast its own image types; splat gives you a common abstract image type that you can then cast to a native image. This allows you to write cross-platform viewmodels and just have native views. splat also gives you System.Drawing on platforms that don’t have it, e.g. WinRT by providing common types for primitives like colors and rectangles.
    • (04:08) Jon asks if portable class libraries will help with this. Paul explains the PCL operations for splat.
    • (04:45) Jon asks about support for high-DPI / Retina images. Paul talks about how the different platforms handle high DPI images.
  • ModernHttpClient
    • (05:44) Paul says that HttpClient is implemented on Xamarin using HttpWebRequest. This has some problems: it doesn’t use 3G on iOS, and it’s a blocking call. That means if you make several web requests, you end up with a bunch of waiting threads and the app slows down.
    • (06:45) There are better APIs available on each platform, so Paul’s taken the most popular HTTP libraries on each platform and made them HttpClient compatible. HttpClient allows you to specify an HttpMessageHandler, so in your portable library you can just drop in the handlers provided by ModernHttpClient .
    • (08:33) In the latest version, Paul’s done work to make sure you can cancel requests. This lets you cancel a request based on headers (e.g. status codes or ETags) which can make a big difference on mobile network usage.
    • (09:23) Jon asks how it works in the Windows platforms. Paul says that on WinRT it’s already built in, and on Windows Phone there’s no way to do anything better than HttpWebRequest.
    • Jon asks a bit more about how you use it. Paul explains how platform-specific factory methods can provide the different handlers.
  • punchclock
    • (11:00) punchclock lets you make multiple web requests; it queues them up and makes the requests for you so there are a maximum of four web requests at a time. It’s based on an Android library called Volley.
    • (12:20) punchclock is a priority based scheduler. You can then make things like analytics low priority and user initiated requests high priority.
    • (13:12) It’s not just specific to network requests, you can use it for anything that’s awaitable.
  • What’s Paul using these on?
    • (13:35) Jon asks Paul what kind of mobile applications he’s building that are pushing him to build these libraries. Paul says he’s been working on some internal applications at GitHub. One example is a support application called Halp. It lets customer support people use @mention style messages to developers, allowing developers to respond quickly from mobile devices.
  • Reactive UI documentation
    • (15:10) Jon asks Paul what he’s been doing when he’s not writing cool code. Paul says he’s been working on documentation for Reactive UI by writing one big article per day.

Show Links: