I’ve been starting to use docker, more and more recently. As this technology has grown many of my coworkers are getting more, and more interested in docker.
I put together some materials and a youtube video which may help some of you getting started with docker. If you don’t like watching videos, check out the story.md file in the repo. That file has all the content covered. Honestly give me feedback if it helped or not. I might do more tutorials in the future for docker. Docker is such a new technology, and the surface area changes month to month.


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tl;dr click here

When we talk about capturing metrics in applications. One server/service that constantly is in all conversations monitoring, is statsd. Incase you have never heard of it, statsd is a udp/tcp server that you send your in-code metrics to. These metrics get aggregated by statsd, and are forwarded to various backends. Some backends are services like librato or sumologic. Other times you are sending metrics to time series databases such as graphite or god forbid influxdb.

This boils down to in code you can say “log whenever this block of code is hit” or say “measure how long this function takes to execute”. These stories come together to form pretty graphs, and rich alerts. All of this enabled by statsd.
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tl;dr view this gist

So its 2016, and we are still making console apps/cli’s. In fact I would say there has been a surge in popularity of these types of tools. I think we have come to the realization that buttons on forms are not automatable, and that the command line doesn’t have to be scary.

I recently started writing an app in dotnet core, which is the new runtime for dotnet. In the past I have often used command line parser, but as of this writing it does not support core.

I was really lost trying to find an arguments parsing library when I realized the dotnet cli was open sourced.

After much struggle, failing to bingle. I started ripping through the Entity Framework, and dotnet cli’s code hoping to find a gem. Thats when I stumbled across a diamond. You see many dotnet projects use Microsft.Extension.CommandLineUtils to do cli parsing.

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So now that Windows server 2016 is generally avalible for the first time ever windows users can now use containers. Ok, so what exactly are containers? Well more or less they are virtual operating systems that share the same kernel as the host OS. In regular VM’s the hardware is shared between machines, but containers go a step further and share the kernel of the OS. Why does this matter? Well because you are sharing an existing kernel that is already running, your startup times are instantanious. To put this in perspective, this is virtualization at the OS level.

On Linux, containers have been a thing for a long time. This technology is called LXC. Docker itself is a layer ontop of various container platforms embedded in operating systems.

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dotnet CLI is currently in RC2, and while the train is fast approaching RTM, most tools are still catching up. dotnet seems to have a documented cli based install for every platform except the good ol windows. That being said getting a windows based install/build is possible.
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For a while now I have been playing with rails, and rack webapps. If you are not familiar with these, they are webservers created in ruby. One of the features I ran into during my journey into ruby land is Turbolinks. Incase you are not familiar, Turbolinks is basically a simplified pjax, with a lot of flexibility. When you click on a link in a page with turbolinks, the link action is hijacked and the target page is loaded via ajax. The result of the ajax call (which is presumed to be html) will replace the document of the body tag. At the end of the day its a technology to load your server side pages via ajax.
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So recently I have thought about build tools. We have many tools including cake, sake, albacore, and even MSBUILD. Most of these tools work well, infact they work flawlessly. I am a web developer, and I work on a team of web developers. Most of our work is in JavaScript land, with tools like React, backbone, etc. We love ES6, and we want to use things like babel. This ultimately causes us to have 2 build engines. The first being a proprietary version of albacore, and the second being gulp.
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So recently I have had the (some would say unfortuate) time learning wix. Specifically I am trying to better understand windows installers, mostly to install webapps into IIS with MSI’s. This is mostly due to the unfortunate situation where I constantly do work for windows things. I would recommend reading the docs on the wixtoolset website, but if you are still having a trouble understanding how the tools come together, you can read this.

Windows Installer Xml toolset or Wix for short, has been around since the early 2000’s. The toolset is one of the great mechanisms to create MSI’s. A while back I blogged about how to use them to install ssl certs in IIS. Until recently when I fit the tools together in my head, I couldn’t figure out how they work. So here is the tl;dr
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Recently I have been working on an application that basically has a github bot (aka user) fork a repo, commit some files, and submit a PR against someone’s repo. When it came down to actually making a new git commit through the github API, I had quite a hard time. I figured it out with some help from a ruby tutorial, and now I’m going to show you how to do it.

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Tommy Parnell

Current Dev former Sysadmin. Work @ Vistaprint | Loves piped lists


Software Engineer II


Boston Area