2021 Week 15

Normality creeps closer: I can book slots at the gym, and I’m overly excited about (finally) getting my hair cut tomorrow, having a week off work, and getting to see my parents for the first time in a long time. If the weather could make up its mind, that’d be great: today we had sun, cloud, snow, rain, a bit of hail, and then sun again…

Seeing everything melt down into “sad mode” on Friday was odd: I remember working at the BBC where there was a feature flag you could flick that’d trigger all the websites into sombre colour schemes. Not a flag you wanted to switch on by accident.

There’s probably a separate post in this, but I’ve come across tooling in pretty much every software engineering job I’ve had where I think “That’s cool, I want this everywhere”. At SoundCloud it was having Prometheus metrics everywhere. At the BBC, it was getting push-button deployments rather than having to fill in Jira tickets for deploys a week in advance (I wrote a Ruby script to automate it 😱).

Maybe I’m a more “mature” (in the time sense) engineer now, but Monzo seems to have doubled the rate of me discovering these. They’re not all tools we invented ourselves, but we put them to good use: Semgrep catches common gotchas in your code, our svcgen script will spin you up a brand new service quickly, and this week I played around with a tool that’ll automatically refactor your service to a new style (nothing major) we’re adopting.

The best tools are the ones that are small and composable: Aran wrote a great script that finds all the endpoints belonging to your team that didn’t get any traffic in the last week. Making all that information available programmatically is a massive help: having a service for all the things gives you even more opportunity to stitch the data together in useful ways.

We watched Saving Private Ryan last night, an excellent (if horrifying) film, and a surprising loads of cameos: we even spotted Ted Danson.

Ciao 🍻