Coding Blocks

We step away from our microservices deployments to meet around the water cooler and discuss the things on our minds, while Joe is playing Frogger IRL, Allen “Eeyores” his way to victory, and Michael has some words about his keyvoard, er, kryboard, leybaord, ugh, k-e-y-b-o-a-r-d!

The full show notes for this episode are available at


  • Datadog – Sign up today for a free 14 day trial and get a free Datadog t-shirt after creating your first dashboard.
  • Clubhouse – Project management has never been easier. Check out how Clubhouse (soon to be Shortcut) is project management without all the management.

Survey Says

Do you find that you're more productive ...

Take the survey at:


  • The threats worked and we got new reviews! Thank you to everyone that left a review:
    • iTunes: ArcadeyGamey, Mc’Philly C. Steak, joby_h
    • Audible: Jake Tucker
  • Atlanta Code Camp is right around the corner on October 9th. Stop by the CB booth and say hi! (

Water Cooler Gossip > Office Memos

  • Are you interested in competitive programming?
  • Michael gives a short term use review of his Moonlander.
  • Spring makes Java better.

Resources We Like

Tip of the Week

  • Learn C the Hard Way: Practical Exercises on the Computational Subjects You Keep Avoiding (Like C) by Zed Shaw (Amazon)
  • With Windows Terminal installed:
    • In File Explorer, right click on or in a folder and select Open in Windows Terminal.
    • Right click on the Windows Terminal icon to start a non-default shell.
  • SonarLint is a free and open source IDE extension that identifies and helps you fix quality and security issues as you code. (
  • Use docker buildx to create custom builders. Just be sure to call docker buildx stop when you’re done with it. (Docker docs: docker buildxdocker buildx stop)
Direct download: coding-blocks-episode-166.mp3
Category:Software Development -- posted at: 9:39pm EDT

We decide to dig into the details of what makes a microservice and do we really understand them as Joe tells us why we really want microservices, Allen incorrectly answers the survey, and Michael breaks down in real time.

The full show notes for this episode are available at Stop by, check it out, and join the conversation.


  • Datadog – Sign up today for a free 14 day trial and get a free Datadog t-shirt after creating your first dashboard.

Survey Says

For your next laptop, are you leaning ...

Take the survey at:


  • Want to know why we’re so hot on Skaffold? Check out this video from Joe: Getting Started with Skaffold (YouTube)
  • Atlanta Code Camp is coming up October 9th, come hang out at the CB booth!

Want to know what’s up with Skaffold?

We Thought We Knew About Microservices

What are Microservices?

  • A collection of services that are…
    • Highly maintainable and testable
    • Loosely coupled (otherwise you just have a distributed monolith!)
    • Independently deployable
    • Organized around business capabilities (super important, Microservices are just as much about people organization as they are about code)
    • Owned by a small team
    • A couple from Jim Humelsine (Design Patterns Evangelist)
      • Stateless
      • Independently scalable (both in terms of tech, but also personnel)
      • Note: we didn’t say anything about size but Sam Newman’s definition is: “Microservices are small, autonomous services that work together.”
  • Semantic Diffusion (vague term getting vaguer)
  • Enables frequent and reliable delivery of complex applications
  • Allows you to evolve your tech stack (reminiscent of the strangler pattern)
  • They are NOT a silver bullet – Many downsides

A Pattern Language

  • A collection of patterns for apply microservice patterns
  • Example Microservice Implementation:
  • 3 micro-services in the example:
    • Inventory service
    • Account service
    • Shipping service
  • Each services talks to a separate backend database – i.e., inventory service talks to inventory DB, etc.
  • Fronting those micro-services are a couple of API’s – a mobile gateway API and an API that serves a website
    When an order is placed, a request is made to the mobile API to place the order, the mobile API has to make individual calls to each one of the individual micro-services to get / update information regarding the order
  • This setup is in contrast to a monolithic setup where you’d just have a single API that talks to all the backends and coordinates everything itself
The macro problem with microservices (Stack Overflow)

Pros of the Microservice Architecture

  • Each service is small so it’s easier to understand and change
  • Easier / faster to test as they’re smaller and less complex
  • Better deployability – able to deploy each service independently of the others
  • Easier to organize development effort around smaller, autonomous teams
  • Because the code bases are smaller, the IDEs are actually better to work in
  • Improved fault isolation – example they gave is a memory leak won’t impact ALL parts of the system like in a monolithic design
  • Applications start and run faster when they are smaller
  • Allows you to be more flexible with tech stacks – you can change out small pieces rather than entire systems if necessary

Cons of the Microservice Approach

  • Additional complexity of a distributed system
    • Distributed debugging is hard! Requires additional tooling
    • Additional cost (overhead of services, network traffic)
    • Multi-system transactions are really hard
  • Implementing inter-service communication and handling of failures
  • Implementing multi-service requests is more complex
    • Not only more complex, but you may be interfacing with multiple developer teams as well
  • Testing interactions between services is more complex
  • IDEs don’t really make distributed application development easier – more geared towards monolithic apps
  • Deployments are more complex – managing multiple services, dependencies, etc.
  • Increased infrastructure requirements – CPU, memory, etc.
  • Distributed debugging is hard! Requires additional tooling

How to Know When to Choose the Microservice Architecture

This is actually a hard problem.

  • Choosing this path can slow down development
  • However, if you need to scale in the future, splitting apart / decomposing a monolith may be very difficult

Decomposing an Application into Microservices

  • Do so by business capability
    • Example for e-commerce: Product catalog management, Inventory management, Order management, Delivery management
  • How do you know the right way to break down the business capabilities?
    • Organizational structure – customer service department, billing, shipping, etc
    • Domain model – these usually map well from domain objects to business functions
  • Which leads to decomposing by domain driven design
  • Decompose by “verb” – ship order, place order, etc
  • Decompose by “noun” – Account service, Order service, Billing service, etc
  • Follow the Single Responsibility Principal – similar to software design

Questions About Microservices

  • Are Microservices a conspiracy?
  • Isn’t this just SOA over again?
  • How can you tell if you should have Microservices?
  • Who uses Microservices?
    • Netlifx
    • Uber
    • Amazon
    • Lots of other big companies
  • Who has abandoned Microservices?
    • Lots of small companies…seeing a pattern here?

Resources We Like

Tip of the Week

  • NeoVim is a fork of Vim 7 that aims to address some technical debt in vim in hopes of speeding up maintenance, plugin creation, and new features. It supports RPC now too, so you can write vim plugins in any language you want. It also has better support for background jobs and async tasks. Apparently the success of nvim has also led to some of the more popular features being brought into vim as well. Thanks Claus/@komoten! (
  • Portable Apple Watch charger lets you charge your watch wirelessly from an outlet, or a usb. Super convenient! (Amazon)
  • Free book from Linode explaining how to secure your Docker containers. Thanks Jamie! (Linode)
  • There is a plugin for Chrome that gives you the dev home page you deserve, delivering you dev news by default. Thanks @angryzoot! (Chrome Web Store)
  • SonarQube is an open-source tool that you can run on your code to pull metrics on it’s quality. And it’s available for you to run in docker Thanks Derek Chasse! (
Direct download: coding-blocks-episode-165.mp3
Category:Software Development -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT

We dive into JetBrains’ findings after they recently released their State of the Developer Ecosystem for 2021 while Michael has the open down pat, Joe wants the old open back, and Allen stopped using the command line.

The full show notes for this episode are available at Stop by, check it out, and join the conversation.


  • Datadog – Sign up today for a free 14 day trial and get a free Datadog t-shirt after creating your first dashboard.

Survey Says

What's your IDE of choice?


Check out Allen’s Quick Tips!

Why JetBrains?

JetBrains has given us free licenses to give out for years now. Sometimes people ask us what it is that we like about their products, especially when VS Code is such a great (and 100% free) experience…so we’ll tell ya!

  • JetBrains produces (among other things) a host of products that are all based on the same IDEA platform, but are custom tailored for certain kinds of development. CLion for C, Rider for C#, IntelliJ for JVM, WebStorm for front-end, etc. These IDEs support plugins but they come stocked with out-of-the-box functionality that you would have to add via plugins in a generalized Editor or IDE
    • This also helps keep consistency amongst developers…everybody using the same tools for git, databases, formatting, etc
  • Integrated experience vs General Purpose Tool w/ Plugins, Individual plugins allow for a lot of innovation and evolution, but they aren’t designed to work together in the same way that you get from an integrated experience.
  • JetBrains has assembled a great community
    • Supporting user groups, podcasts, and conferences for years with things like personal licenses
    • Great learning materials for multiple languages (see the JetBrains Academy)
    • Community (free) versions of popular products (Android Studio, IntelliJ, WebStorm, PyCharm)
  • Advanced features that have taken many years of investment and iteration (Resharper/Refactoring tools)
  • TL;DR JetBrains has been making great products for 20 years, and they are still excelling because those products are really good!

Survey Results

  • Survey was comprised of 31,743 developers from 183 countries. JetBrains attempted to get a wide swath of diverse responses and they weighted the results in an attempt to get a realistic view of the world. Read more about the methodology
  • What would you normally expect from JetBrain’s audience? (Compare to surveys from StackOverflow or Github or State of JS)
    • JetBrains are mainly known for non-cheap, heavy duty tools so you might expect to see more senior or full time employees than StackOverlow, but that’s not the case…it skews younger
    • Professional / Enterprise (63% full-time, 70.9% on latest Stack Overflow)
    • JetBrains 3-5 vs StackOverflow 5-9 years of experience
    • Education level is similar
    • 71% of respondents develop for web backend!

Key Takeaways

  • JavaScript is the most popular language
  • Python is more popular than Java overall, but Java is more popular as a main language
  • Top 5 languages devs are planning to adopt:
    • Go
    • Kotlin
    • TypeScript
    • Python
    • Rust
  • Top 5 Languages devs learning in 2021:
    • JS
    • Python
    • TS
    • Java
    • Go
  • Languages that fell:
    • Ruby
    • Objective C
    • Scala
  • Top 5 Fastest Growing:
    • Python
    • TypeScript
    • SQL
    • Go
    • Kotlin
  • 71% of respondents develop for web backend
  • Primary programming languages, so much JS!
  • Developer OS:
    • 61% Windows
    • 47% linux
    • 44% macOS

Lifestyle and Fun

  • What sources of information… Podcasts 31%! Glad to see this up there, of course
  • 74% of the respondents use online ad-blocking tools
  • Accounts: Github 84% Reddit…47%?
  • Workplace and Events – pre covid comparisons
  • Video Games are #1 hobby, last year was programming


  • Used in last 12 Months, Primary…so much MySQL
  • Really cool to see relative popularity by programming language


  • How familiar are you with Docker?
  • DevOps engineers are 2x more likely to be architects, 30% more likely to be leads
  • Kubernetes: went from 16% to 29% to 40% to…40%. Is Kubernetes growth stalling?
  • 90% of devs who use k8s have SSD, have above average RAM
  • 53% of hosting is in the cloud? Still moving up, but there’s also a lot of growth with Hybrad
  • AWS has a big lead in cloud services…GCP 2nd!? Let’s speculate how that happened, that’s not what we see in financial reports
  • During development, where do you run and debug your code? (Come to Joe’s skaffold talk!)


  • 35% of respondents develop microservices!!!!! Can this be right?
  • Mostly senior devs are doing microservices
  • GraphQL at 14%, coming up a little bit from last year


  • How much RAM? (Want more RAM? Be DevOps, Architect, Data Analyst, leads)
  • 79% of devs have SSD? Excellent!
  • How old is your computer? Survey says….2 years? That’s really great.


  • 75% say tests play an integral role, 44% involved. Not bad…but 44% not involved, huh?
  • 67% Unit tests, yay!

Resources We Like

Tip of the Week

  • The CoRecursive podcast has fantastic interviews with some really interesting people ( Thanks @msuriar. Some highlights:
  • Free audiobook/album from the Software Daily host: Move Fast: How Facebook Builds Software (
  • Apple has great features and documentation on the different ways to take screenshots in macOS (
  • Data, Data, Data: Let the data guide your decisions. Not feelings.
  • HTTPie is a utility built in Python that makes it really issue to issue web requests. CURL is great…but it’s not very user friendly. Give HTTPie a shot! (
Direct download: coding-blocks-episode-164.mp3
Category:Software Development -- posted at: 9:33pm EDT