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Software Weekly - 07/15/2019

Edge storage, streaming NoSQL, EventBridge, Dark deploy, Cloudflare outage postmortem, major privacy vulnerabilities & more


Last week’s most popular episode: Edge Storage with Steve Klabnik. Steve discusses storage at the edge in depth. Using Rust and WebAssembly. Interesting talk about adding compute to CDN.

Old favorite: Edge Computing Open Source with Arpit Joshipura. Arpit discusses LF Edge, a new open source group under the Linux Foundation. The goal of LF Edge is to build an open source framework for the edge.

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Interesting Picks in Software Engineering and Architecture

Streaming Cassandra at WePay - Part 1. This hit home for me because just last week I was talking to someone about using NoSQL as a base for streaming applications and not just Kafka. A good walkthrough of decisions made and tradeoffs. 

Amazon EventBridge. It's a serverless Event Bus. I am excited about this because I really think the (legacy) event bus is actually a better abstraction than just streaming or eventing. Read the official blog post Event-Driven AWS Integration for your SaaS Applications. Check out also Amazon EventBridge: The biggest thing since AWS Lambda itself.

Re-Architecting the Video Gatekeeper. Netflix went from an event streaming model to a 'continuously processing liveness' model which is quite interesting. This won't work for all dataset sizes, but nonetheless it is an interesting read. 

Details of the Cloudflare outage on July 2, 2019. Details of outage reported a week before. A bad regex exhausted CPU used for HTTP/HTTPS serving took down Cloudflare worldwide. I don't like that they used "We’re ashamed it happened." These postmortems should be blameless and shaming just hurts people and seems personal. To me, the root cause is the global deployment of config changes. There will be future bugs but figuring out how to roll out config changes like you rollout code is what's going to make the biggest impact.

How Dark deploys code in 50ms. I haven't used it so I can't endorse it. Dark is a programming language. The idea is fascinating. This could really change how we think about testing and deployment safety. Highly recommended read.

Intention Revealing Interfaces [w/ Examples] - Domain-Driven Design w/ TypeScript. I like TS and I like DDD. Here is a great easy-to-read guide on intention-revealing interfaces. 

Facebook releases Hermes JS Engine for RN apps on Android, featuring ahead-of-time static optimization and compact bytecode. Announcement video here. Some see this as the biggest change to RN since it launched. I think time will tell as this gets rolled out more in production apps. Coincidentally someone published QuickJS Javascript Engine a few days before. So it was a good week for JS Engines. 

Democratizing data analysis with Google BigQuery. Twitter is leveraging GCP's BigQuery to open up data analysis to all the teams at Twitter with a great balance for cost and performance. 

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What's New in Tech

Zoom Zero Day: 4+ Million Webcams & maybe an RCE? Just get them to visit your website! Zoom installed a web server on Macs which could allow anyone access to your camera. Zoom initially refused to fix it and then Apple pushed a silent macOS update to remove the web server secretly installed by Zoom. Apple considered the web server malware and closed it. Zoom published a Security Update and Our Ongoing Efforts fixing the problem. Lesson: Software is vulnerable. We really really need to think about privacy and security from day 1 when building applications. When you are as big as Zoom, invest in security engineers.

Facebook embeds tracking data in images. Honestly not surprised by this. Facebook is especially good at encoding data. They are always thinking of ways to encode information in your existing data. 

Superhuman email client turns off location tracking after 'spying' controversy. Superhuman was using images embedded in the email to track the location of email recipients (without their consent). The original post that surfaced concerns here: Superhuman is Spying on You. Again not too surprising since a lot of marketing platforms do this, but brings up interesting questions about what do consumers expect and tolerate.

Privacy and security are major concerns in today's tech applications and there are still not enough ethical guidelines or laws on what's acceptable and not acceptable or training for software engineers to understand and care for security and privacy. Hope to see those things become highlights in the next 12 months.

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Hi there, I'm Abdallah. I am a software developer myself and love talking news, insights, analysis of software engineering, and bringing you interesting content from across the web.
Your support for the show and the newsletter is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Abdallah Abu-Ghazaleh (@TheGhazStation)
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