8 Dec 2017

Technoloy Radar Review - November 2017

I’ve been following the ThoughtWorks Technology Radar for a number of years. I find it a useful way of tracking new technologies that may be of interest, and thought that sharing my notes on the latest volume of Technology Radar (November 2017) could be helpful.

Note, I take no notice of the various quadrant positions (Trial, Assess, Hold, Adopt) accorded by ThoughtWorks for the different technologies. I’m more interested in finding tools that may be of use, and noting the overall technology trends they are seeing.

Also, having worked for a consultancy company in the past, I’m aware that ThoughtWorks (like every other IT consultancy company) has an interest in pushing the latest shiny technology fad as a solution. Even if it doesn’t work, they’ll probably get called in to fix it (and hence win more consultancy business). As such, you’ll find this an extremely opinionated look at the ideas presented in the Technology Radar. .

Highlighted Themes

  1. Open Source on the Rise in China – God forbid that the world’s most populist country, with the second largest GDP, have anything of value to offer us in the Western world.
  2. Kubernetes, the Choice for Container Orchestrator – ThoughtWorks continues to push more technologies based on the micro-services fad, and guides developers as to the latest buzzword they should add to their CV.
  3. Cloud as the New Normal – ThoughtWorks at last manages to say something useful, by commenting on the rise of cloud native applications.
  4. Trust in Blockchain More Evenly Distributed – Interesting to see the words ‘Trust’ and ‘Blockchain’ in the same sentence without the necessary ’Dont!’.

Techniques

  • Chaos Engineering – builds on the Chaos Monkey testing tool from Netflix. An interesting concept, but as this only applies for operations at scale, outside of the top 10 technology companies, this is only good for adding meaningless buzzwords to your CV.
  • Serverless Architecture – Finally, on page 9, the Technology Radar mentions something that developers can use in their daily work, and will have a longer term impact than fads like the blockchain or containers.
  • Polycloud – Picking and choosing the appropriate cloud based service rather than sticking with the one cloud provider. ThoughtWorks calls this a business strategy, an interesting rebranding of what used to be called common sense.
  • The three Rs of security - Using infrastructure automation to protect against compromised systems

Tools

  • CircleCI - A continuous integration engine offered as SaaS and on premise. Apparently, integration with Slack is a feature, and not a way of generating more visual noise to distract developers.
  • Jupyter - An analytic notebook built on Python
  • Lighthouse - A tool written by Google to assess web applications for adherence to Progressive Web App standards. As if Google wasn't doing enough to ruin the web for corporate greed.
  • Rendertron - Wraps an instance of headless Chrome in a Docker container for use as a standalone HTTP server. Bots that don't render JavaScript can be routed to this server to do the rendering for them. Google expands the use of its dystopian spyware browser:

Platforms

  • .NET Core - Promoted from Assess in March 2017 to Trial in this edition, due to release of .NET Standard 2.0, and improved tooling and migration paths.
  • KeyCloak - An open source identity and access management solution that makes it easy to secure applications or microservices with little to no code.
  • WeChat - A huge social networking platform in China (more than 70% of Chinese people use it), where it is heavily used for business. Now that the United States has gone to the dogs, ThoughtWorks eyes the Chinese market.
  • Azure Service Fabric - A distributed systems platform built for microservices and containers. It’s comparable to container orchestrators such as Kubernetes, but also works with plain old services.
  • Netlify - Allows you to code a static website and check it into GitHub, and Netlify will then deploy it to the live site.
  • Windows Containers - Microsoft gets Container envy

Languages and Frameworks

  • ECharts - A lightweight charting library  based on the Canvas API, optimized for performance and mobile usage. An open source project from Baidu.

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