Jenkins tutorial: Get started with Jenkins continuous delivery

Jenkins is one of the earliest and still one of the most-used continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD) servers. It has lots of competition these days, but still has a robust community and a wide range of plugins (1,400 when I last checked). Even if you wind up using a different automation server, it is worth understanding how to use Jenkins: The underlying concepts of CICD don’t change much from one implementation to another, even though the vendors do tend to make up their own terminology.

In this article I’ll draw on the official Jenkins tutorials, in particular the one that shows you how to use the new-ish Blue Ocean GUI, but add my own explanations and illustrations for steps and code that may be obscure. My goal is to get you to the point where you can create build, test, and delivery pipelines for your own projects.

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API-driven development with OpenAPI and Swagger, Part 2

The first half of this article introduced the big picture of APIs–such as how they fit into application development, cloud and microservices architectures, and the role of API specs like OpenAPI. You were introduced to OpenAPI and we developed a simple example application built from an API definition.

In this article we’ll continue developing our API definitions and application code with OpenAPI and Swagger, and we’ll throw Swing Web MVC and Angular 2 into the mix. By the end of the article, we’ll have used Swagger tools to both generate OpenAPI from a Spring MVC app, and generate an Angular frontend from an OpenAPI specification. You will be familiar with the core Swagger tools, and you’ll know how to use them to build your own API-driven web apps.

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What’s next for the Groovy language: The 2018 roadmap

Groovy, the veteran language for the Java virtual machine, has several enhancements on its roadmap, such as to support Java 9 modularity and Java 8 lambda capabilities. Although closely linked to Java, Groovy offers additional capabilities such as the ability to write compile-time transformations and macros.

The Apache Software Foundation plans the following Groovy upgrades in the next year:

  • Versions 2.5, due in early 2018 for Java 7 and later.
  • Version 2.6 and 3.0, both set to arrive in about a year, and both currently available in alpha releases. Version 2.6 is aimed at Java 7 users, and Version 3.0 at Java 8 and 9 users; their capabitiies will be similar.

Planned Groovy 3.0 features

When Groovy 3.0 is released, you can expect the following additions and enhancements:

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Open source innovation is now all about vendor on-ramps

In the enterprise world, open source has long been a bit tentative. Starting in the early 2000s, various vendors started contributing bits and pieces of code, careful not to give away anything too valuable, all while hoping for positive marketing effect. It was, as Stephen Walli wrote in 2007, a matter of gifting complementary technology to secure potential customers’ interest in the core of your business.

It mostly didn’t work.

Today, open source has become a primary driver of innovation, but we’re still too tentative in our contributions. Much of the most impressive innovation is being hatched at the public cloud vendors, specifically Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud (“AMG,” as Bernard Golden calls them), with TensorFlow, Kubernetes, and more being contributed to the wider open source community.

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What are microservices? Lightweight software development explained

You’re sitting on hundreds of thousands of lines of legacy C++. Oh, who are we trying to kid? It’s millions of lines of Vectran, a short-lived Fortran variant created by IBM in the 1970s. But, hey, if it ain’t broke, right? Except it is broken. Any time someone tries to add a feature, the thing breaks. Even trying to fix bugs creates more bugs. But if you just don’t touch it, it keeps on working.

The problem is that innovation demands agility and velocity. All the cool companies that never had to worry about Y2K are outpacing your clunky old legacy software. Investors are demanding the next big thing. Customers are jumping ship in droves.

The answer is to kill your application monoliths, and not create any more new ones. The way to do that is by using microservices architecture, a technique that breaks large applications into lightweight apps that can be scaled horizontally.

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EE4J: Eclipse’s replacement for Java EE unveiled

The Eclipse Foundation, the new keeper of enterprise Java, has moved forward with nine project proposals for Eclipse Enterprise for Java (EE4J), which the organization describes as the first step toward the migration of Java EE (Enterprise Edition) to the open source tools organization.

The proposals, published for community review, cover aspects of Java ranging from JSON and REST to messaging. They emerge in response to Oracle’s decision in August to turn over enterprise Java to an open source tools foundation, which resulted in Eclipse taking over the project. This followed a tumultuous year for enterprise Java, with Oracle deciding on a plan to upgrade Java EE after being criticized for neglect, only to shed stewardship of Java EE this year.  

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How to improve your scrum master skills

If you’ve been a scrum master for some time, you have learned some of the practices that make teams successful:

  • You know how to help teams commit and deliver results at the end of sprints.
  • You handle blocks so that they aren’t impediments to the team completing more difficult user stories.
  • You know how to run the fundamental meetings including commitment, standups, demos, and retrospectives.

You also have developed some strategies to work with product owners:

  • You help them groom their backlogs and prioritize the user stories that drive business value.
  • You provide feedback on user stories to ensure they follow best practices on format and provide a clear definition on who the customer is, what value the story provides them, why it’s important, and what constraints must be met in the implementation.
  • You update product owners the sprint status and articulate any risks or blocks the team escalates.

But what are the next set of scrum master skills that you should master? This article details what you should learn and do to become an elite scrum master.

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Blockchain shows open source’s fatal flaw—and a way forward

“26,000 new blockchain projects last year!” screamed the headline. “But only 8 percent remain active!” The implication is that blockchain’s future is at risk, given the high mortality rate among its offspring. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, we need many more blockchain projects to fail to clear out some of the noise, leaving room for “Linux of blockchain”-type projects to remain.

And yet there is cause for concern, though not in blockchain specifically. Instead, the greater concern should be for open source, which has never been more popular with software users even as the developer population feeding it has remained flat. Unless we can find ways to encourage more contributions, open source efforts like blockchain threaten to crumble under the weight of user expectations unmet by developer productivity.

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What’s new in TensorFlow machine learning

TensorFlow, Google’s contribution to the world of machine learning and data science, is a general framework for quickly developing neural networks. Despite being relatively new, TensorFlow has already found wide adoption as a common platform for such work, thanks to its powerful abstractions and ease of use.

TensorFlow 1.4 API additions

TensorFlow Keras API

The biggest changes in TensorFlow 1.4 involve two key additions to the core TensorFlow API. The tf.keras API allows users to employ the Keras API, a neural network library that predates TensorFlow but is quickly being displaced by it. The tf.keras API allows software using Keras to be transitioned to TensorFlow, either by using the Keras interface permanently, or as a prelude to the software being reworked to use TensorFlow natively.

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