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Software Weekly - 12/16/2019

Remote work, testing guide, PostgreSQL low levels, ordered indexes vs hashmaps, JSON parser, hacking cameras & more


Last week’s most popular episode: Remote Work with Philip Thomas. Philip discusses remote work and his experience building Moonlight. Philip is the co-founder and CEO of Moonlight Work, a marketplace for software engineers who work on contract projects full-time or part-time. He is also the co-author of the Remote Work Encyclopedia, which is a collection of strategies and tactics for knowledge workers and companies that are looking to adapt successfully to the changes that remote work is bringing to the world.

Old favorite: Training the Machines with Russell Smith. RainforestQA is a platform for QA testing that turns manual testing into automated testing. Russell explains how RainforestQA works: the engineering infrastructure, the process of recruiting workers from mechanical turk, and the machine learning system for taking manual tasks and automating them.

UX Design for Embedded Analytics. You don't have to be a UI/UX designer to create impressive dashboards for your application. Discover 6 basic principles that can transform your embedded analytics UX. Get the ebook!

Interesting Picks in Software Engineering and Architecture

Why databases use ordered indexes but programming uses hash tables. "In databases, the default is almost always an ordered index, typically a B-Tree. Why is the "default" choice different between programs and databases, when at the end of the day they both do the same thing: accessing data for our code?"

Building a search engine from scratch. Explore the challenges of building a search engine that can scale up to Google (60 billion documents indexed) and a different approach by Cliqz to building a search index based on URL queries only. Innovative and challenging!

PostgreSQL at low level: stay curious! Learn about random interesting things about how Postgres works. My favorite part was learning about BPF for profiling/tracing, which is applicable to many applications.

Threads can infect each other with their low priority. Learn with an example of how CPU scheduling can affect how your threads are running. Really interesting and easy to read. "Conclusion: If possible, avoid headaches by just not fiddling around with thread priorities."

Take control off your slow producers with read-behind cache. Caching can make everything faster, in this cache, it's a read behind cache suitable for high-frequency reads with low-frequency changes.

JSON Parser with JavaScript. "Write a function that takes in a string of valid JSON and converts it to an object (or whatever your chosen language uses, dicts, maps, etc)." 

Software Testing Guide. Martin Fowler documents and organizes his approach for testing. "At the core of my philosophy to testing is that we want to write self-testing code, meaning we have a suite of automated tests that be easily run against the code base."

Open-Sourcing Metaflow, a Human-Centric Framework for Data Science. Metaflow is a deceptively simple Python library where data scientists can structure their workflow as a Directed Acyclic Graph. 

All the Serverless announcements at re:Invent 2019. The most exciting is Provisioned Concurrency for Lambda which means no more cold starts ever! This should open the door to many more serverless applications. 

Takeaways from AWS re:Invent 2019’s Amazon DynamoDB Deep Dive: Advanced Design Patterns (DAT403). Did you know that DynamoDB's performance gets better with scale? So many interesting lessons about modeling data for NoSQL databases.

Continuous integration and deployment with Bazel. Dropbox is using Bazel to simplify the build process and reduce the number of resources and costs to build and release software. 

How Scylla Scaled to One Billion Rows a Second. This article explores the test setup to be able to validate how Scylla can get up to one billion rows read per second.
With over 9 million apps created on Heroku, over 2 million managed data services, and serving over 26 million requests per day, Heroku has earned the trust of developers--and it is as easy to start today as it always has been. Try Heroku for free today. Visit

What's New in Tech

The “Great Cannon” has been deployed again. The Great Cannon is a distributed denial of service tool (“DDoS”) that operates by injecting malicious JavaScript into pages served from behind the Great Firewall. The Great Cannon is currently attempting to take the website LIHKG offline. LIHKG has been used to organize protests in Hong Kong. 

Inside the Podcast that Hacks Ring Camera Owners Live on Air. The NulledCast is a podcast livestreamed to Discord. It's a show in which hackers take over people's Ring and Nest smart home cameras and use their speakers to talk to and harass their unsuspecting owners. 

Jack Dorsey Wants to Help You Create Your Own Twitter. The CEO tweeted that he's hiring a team to develop open source standards for decentralized social networks. His hope: It will spawn better ways to combat hate and harassment. But can technology really solve these problems?

VictorOps is a collaborative incident response tool. VictorOps brings your monitoring data and your collaboration tools into one place--so that you can fix issues more quickly, and reduce the pain of on-call. Go to, and get a free t-shirt when you try out VictorOps. VictorOps integrates with all of your services: Slack, Splunk, Cloudwatch, Datadog, New Relic, and more.


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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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