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Take your daily dose of (only) relevant news, useful tips and tricks and valuable how to's on using the latest web technologies shaping the digital landscape. We're here to do all the necessary information sifting for you, so you don't have to, to provide you with content that will help you anticipate the emerging trends about to influence the web.

Bringing Gutenberg to Drupal: A Modern Admin UI, a Better Editing Experience in Drupal 8
It's a robust, flexible and admin feature-packed CMS, there's no point in denying it. And yet: Drupal (still) lacks a modern UI that would make building rich web content —  such as landing pages — a breeze. But there is hope: the Gutenberg editor has been ported over, promising a better editing experience in Drupal 8. The team behind this daring project? Frontkom, a Norwegian digital services agency that:   refused to just sit and wait (for a year or two) for the in-progress initiative of modernizing Drupal's admin UI to grow into a core solution decided to capitalize on their experience in working with the Gutenberg page builder  … and on this content editor's open source nature, too … to bring it over to Drupal 8   Now, if you're determined to improve the editorial UX on your Drupal site, to “spoil” your editors with a modern, intuitive and flexible admin UI, keep on reading...   1. The Drupal Gutenberg Project: Aiming for a Modern Admin UI in Drupal 8 And by “modern” I do mean the opposite of the Panels & Paragraphs & Layout combo solutions currently available for editing text in Drupal. Solutions that only manage to make the entire workflow... discouragingly complex. Especially if it's rich web content that editors need to create via the Drupal admin UI. And this is precisely the context where the Drupal Gutenberg project was born: Drupal desperately needed/needs a modern, JavaScript-based admin UI. With WordPress 5 users already enjoying this fancy content editor and the Frontkom team's having gained experience in using it, the idea of porting it to Drupal started to form: "Why wouldn't we make it possible for Drupal users, too, to benefit from this content editor?"  And here are some of the original Gutenberg project's features that lead them into thinking that, once ported, the editor would significantly improve the editing experience in Drupal 8:   it's (highly) decoupled it's open-source it's React.js-based  it provides a simplified, smooth and cool functionality-packed admin UI it's Medium and Squarespace's inspired it turns the creation of complex landing pages into a breeze   Page editing in Drupal 8 wasn't going to be the same again! Their initiative turned into a Drupal 8 module —  Gutenberg Editor —  currently still an experimental one.  Curious enough? The first step to satisfy your curiosity is to take a look at their live demo: an interactive glimpse into the Gutenberg text editor implemented in Drupal 8.   2. The New Gutenberg for Drupal: Top Features Improving the Editing Experience in Drupal 8   2.1. All the Page Elements Are... Content Blocks That's right, the team behind this project capitalized on the “everything is a block” Drupal 8 concept when adapting the Gutenberg UI to Drupal. The result? Both the Drupal core blocks and 20+ Gutenberg blocks are available in the resulting admin UI. Basically, a Drupal 8 editor can insert into the web page that he/she's creating any of the core Drupal blocks and of the Gutenberg blocks of choice. Speaking of which, let me point out just a few:   Heading Image gallery Auto embedded social posts Buttons Custom Drupal blocks Layout blocks   Needless to add that you're free to enrich this list with your own custom blocks, too.   2.2. Easy Switch from Visual to Code Editor That's right, the Gutenberg UI enables you/your editors to quickly switch to code editor —  opening up a neat markup —  and to apply any needed tweaks on the output.   2.3. Positioning Content Is Straightforwardly Intuitive Editors get to select precisely where they want to position different types of content on a page. And the very same results that they generate while in the Gutenberg admin UI get instantly reflected on the live web page, as well. And there's more! More great admin features improving editing experience in Drupal. For instance: Full control over font sizes and colors; tweaking them becomes a breeze with the new editor.   2.4. There's a Blocks Search Box And not only that:   using this search box you can track down precisely those content blocks that you need to add to your page but you can access them inline, as well, using “/”.   2.5. Full Control of the Layout Another great thing about the content blocks available in the Gutenberg UI is that: they can have child blocks, too! This way, it'll get unexpectedly easy for your editors to split their used blocks into columns on a grid.   2.6. Auto Embedded Social Posts/Videos And all it takes is pasting their URL.   The Story of a Real Challenge: Making Gutenberg CMS-Agnostic Open source, but not fully CMS-agnostic...  The team behind the Drupal Gutenberg project had to come up with a suitable solution for this challenge. And they did come up with a multi-step solution to make the fancy text editor work in Drupal 8, as well:   first, they created a fork and removed the WordPress specific features they used the Gutenberg editor as a dependency  next, they set up a standalone NPM package then they built the Gutenberg Editor module   In short: a fork of the initial Gutenberg project is still maintained while being used as a dependency of the new Drupal 8 module. Therefore, each time Gutenberg gets an update, the corresponding Drupal module, too, gets a new release. Now, digging deeper into the project's architectural design, we discover 2 elements that the team had to re-write for Drupal:   the URL defining the editor routes (edit page route, new page route, preview page route) the API-request, now configured to “talk to” Drupal (instead of the WordPress API)   How does the new module work?   as a text editor, which can be easily enabled for each content type all it takes is a long text field for it to work: it replaces the node edit UI for that specific content type   Note: the Frontkom team also “promises” us to re-use many of the Drupal-specific stylings for the editor's UI elements in order to add a familiar Drupal feeling to it.   What Next? What's The Project Roadmap Ok, so what we know for sure now, regarding this ambitious initiative turned into a Drupal module is that:   the Drupal Gutenberg module is downloadable, yet still experimental (for developer use only) the team's still working on the project, implementing new features and functionalities aimed at making it feel more... Drupal native the final version will be presented to the eager/intrigued/curious/skeptical Drupal users and developers in the coming months   The END! Can't hide that I'm more than curious what you think about this contrib solution for improving the editing experience in Drupal 8:   Are you looking forward to using it, hoping that this editor would make up for the inconvenience of working with Drupal's current admin UI? Are you skeptical about the perspective of being tied up to a WordPress page builder?   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Aug 17'2018
OPTASY Is a Gold-Level Sponsor of Drupal North Regional Summit 2018: Moving Drupal Forward!
Save the date(s): 10-12 August! And join us for a 3-day conference on building with Drupal, driving this open-source technology forward and strengthening & growing the community behind it: Drupal North Regional Summit 2018.  You'll find us in our booth at the Toronto Reference Library's exhibit hall, to be more specific, since this year OPTASY's a proud gold sponsor of the fourth edition of this event:  The biggest annual summit in Canada focused on promoting Drupal.    Why Would You Attend Drupal North Regional Summit 2018? That's right: why would you pack your bags and get en route for Toronto's Reference Library when summer is at its peak and everyone's looking for a place in the sun? For a bunch of strong reasons, actually:   first of all, if you're already living in Canada, why would you want to miss the biggest annual event in North America promoting Drupal? no less than 300+ individuals and organizations will be attending it if you're a Drupal developer, this is a once-in-a-year opportunity to grow and to... outgrow yourself; the event's schedule is “overcrowded” with sessions covering a variety of Drupal-related topics, with “can't miss” keynote sessions and networking opportunities … grow your profile by sharing your knowledge and expertise all while enriching it as you learn from other Drupalists attending the event as a Drupal-powered organization, Drupal North Regional Summit 2018 is a great chance to recruit new talent (and this is the event's key “mandate”: to showcase Canadian Drupal talent), to make connections with other Drupal-fueled businesses...   Whether you're:   in the government, nonprofit, education, business field a freelancing Drupal enthusiast looking to keep his/her knowledge up to date … don't miss the largest summit in Canada promoting Drupal!   It'll be a win-win-win type of situation:   you (the Drupal developer) get to keep your knowledge up to date you (the organization) get to dig through a pool of Drupal talent and also to network with other key decision-makers from some of the most notorious companies in Canada running their businesses on Drupal and it's a winning situation for Drupal itself: all the individuals and companies attending the summit will help to extend its reach to more people and more businesses    OPTASY Proudly Supports Drupal and the Drupal North Regional Summit 2018 Why? What's in it for us? Why are we so proud to be one of the gold sponsors of this Drupal summit in Canada? Because we like to practice what we preach: To give back to the (Drupal) community, what the community gave to us for free. And along these +15 years years since we've been developing in Drupal there's been plenty of work done by all those developers contributing to Drupal and moving this open-source technology forward that we leveraged in our own projects. It's only but common sense to give something back now and to contribute ourselves, too. And sponsoring Drupal events is one way that we can do that. But there are other reasons, too, why we decided to support the Drupal North Regional Summit 2018 as a gold sponsor. All of them deriving from the above-presented reasoning:   the 3-day conference makes the perfect “lab” where brilliant solutions to well-known issues in Drupal get identified and shared with the community, new Drupal modules get put into the spotlight, new ways of innovating this technology get presented in other words: investing in this Drupal summit we invest in us, as a team and as a company, and implicitly in our own clients, as well ... all the knowledge and “steamy-fresh information” that we get from this conference will then be put to use when working on our clients' future projects it's also a great place to network with existing and potentially new Drupal-using companies and an opportunity for us to “expose” the key advantages that set OPTASY apart as a Drupal agency: +15 years hands-on experience, proven Drupal expertise, pure passion for what we do, a strong work ethic and stellar communication skills confirmed by our clients   So, are you curious about Drupal's main strengths as a technology of the future? Interested to discover what precisely helps it stand out? Are you looking for a Drupal partner with both the proven experience and the proper “weakness” for innovation to turn your ideas into digital reality? Stop by our booth then, in August, and let's talk Drupal, growth opportunities and everything in between! ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jul 02'2018
Node.js 10 Is Out: Here Are 10 New Features and Improvements Worth Getting Really Excited About
Have no fear... Node.js 10 is here (since April 24, actually)! And, as expected, this version is planned to grow into the platform's official Long Term Support version (in October 2018); to be supported for 3 years after that date. So? What's in it for you, the back-end web developer? Are there any new features and improvements worth getting really excited about? Which are they and how precisely will they improve the overall developer experience.  Now before we take a deep dive into the “steamy fresh load” of new features, I feel like pointing out that:   it's mostly incremental improvements, applied throughout the entire codebase of the platform, that Node.js 10 ships with … performance, reliability and stability-centered improvements, bubbling up to the back-end developer's experience   But let's name these improvements that ship with the new version of Node.js. Let's talk specific incremental changes, shall we? 10 of the “really worth getting excited about” ones:   1. Error-Handling Improvements And error messages/error-handling improvements do make the majority of semver-major commits (approx. 300) that Node.js ships with. It's a “pledge” made since Node.js 8.0.0 to assign static error codes to all Error objects: “Error messages should be useful, more consistent and predictable”, this has been the “pledge” driving all the sustained efforts geared at improving error-handling. Note: error codes have been included in Node.js 10, making constant error-checking conveniently easier!   2. Enhanced JavaScript Language Capabilities There's an entire list of Node.js 10 language improvements (you can find them all here) worth exploring and... exploiting, I'll outline the highlights only:   you now get to use line and paragraph separator symbols (U+2028 and U+2029) in string literals, that match JSON V8 “introduces”: String.prototype.trimEnd(), String.prototype.trim(), String.prototype.trimStart() prototype.toString() returns the exact “pieces” of the source code text (comments and whitespace here included!) the catch clause of the try statements no longer calls for a parameter   3. The Node.js fs (file system) Has Been Significantly Overhauled And here are the most “dramatic” improvements made during this overhaul:   the type checking and error handling have been improved the code got restructured, for easier maintainability a new experimental fs/promises API got implemented, featuring first-class Promise-based API    Speaking of this new API, its “role” is that of generating a warning at runtime, the very first time that it gets used. Hopefully, things will turn out “bugs-free” so that it can grow from experimental to stable.   4. Node.js 10 Ships with Full Support for N-API  N-API — the ABI stable (Node.js) API for native modules — has leveled up to a stable version in Node.js 10. What does this mean?   it provides a stable module API, one that is not influenced by the changes in Node.js's V8 JavaScript engine the API layer makes upgrading a whole lot easier, streamlining production deployments and... easing module maintainers' lives … and it goes without saying that this bubbles up to native modules' maintenance costs, as well   In short: say goodbye to module breakage!   5. The Assert Module: Explore Some Crucial Improvements  All efforts targetting the assert module have been aimed at easing the internal implementation and improving the developer experience. But let me point out some of these improvements that eventually fleshed out and landed in Node.js 10:   a new “diff” view got implemented, for whenever assertion errors get generated overall the output becomes more descriptive, more... “verbose” (and implicitly more useful) better object comparisons promises support  detailed error messages   6.  Node.js 10 Ships With V8 6.6: Expect a Major Performance Boost Get ready to “exploit” V8 6.6's range of performance improvements to their full potential! Along with its new set of JavaScript language features! From them all, I can't but mention:   the async functions the async generators the promise execution   7. Cryptographic Support  Node.js 10 is the first version of the platform to include OpenSSL 1.x! And this can only translate into: Enhanced protection for your priceless data! Now, if I am to outline just 2 of the OpenSSL features to look forward tapping into, I should definitely mention:   the Polu1305 authenticator the ChaCha 20 cipher   8. The Trace Events Mechanism: Monitoring Your Code's Performance Just Got Easier That's right! Keeping a close eye on how your code's performing and being able to quickly diagnose any emerging issues is easier than ever with Node.js 10! Basically, what these trace events do is enabling that all the diagnostic information output gets collected to a file accessible to the Chrome browsers DevTools utility. No need to use a command-line flag anymore to trigger this whole trace events mechanism underlying Node.js. And since we're here, let me point out to you 2 trace events-related improvements worth getting (really) excited about:   the node.perf.usertiming category got added — its role is that of capturing, in the trace events timelines, all the Performance API user timer marks and measures.  the JavaScript API got implemented, as well; enabling/disabling trace events dynamically is now possible in Node.js:   const trace_events = require('trace_events') const tracing = trace_events.createTracing({ categories: ['node.async_hooks', 'v8'] }) tracing.enable() // do stuff tracing.disable() 9. HTTP and HTTP/2 Improvements  Another thing to get excited about, when it comes to Node.js 10's release, is given by all the incremental improvements made to HTTP and HTTP/2. Let me detail a bit:   when it comes to HTTP, the changes applied range from improved Streams API compatibility to stricter standards support, to improve header and error handling now when it comes to HTTP/2, significant progress has been made for getting it the closest to “stable mode” as possible before Node.js 10 reaches its Long Terms Support cycle. And I'm talking here about improvements made to the way trailing headers requests and responses get implemented and about overall improvements of the internal implementation and the public API   10. Node.js Ships With The Experimental Node-ChakraCore And how does this impact the developer experience? Your experience?   using the JavaScript engine to its full potential tapping into the Time Travel debugging   … gets a whole lot easier for you. You're practically enabled to detect errors way before they even get to “infest” your code. The END! This is how our list of 10 Node.js 10 features worth getting (really) excited about looks like! Do explore them and start your preparations for moving over to this new version of Node.js before October!   ... Read more
RADU SIMILEANU / May 02'2018
OPTASY: One of the Top Developers in New York, According to Clutch
Oops!...We did it again! We've got awarded 4 spots in Clutch's latest research highlighting the top-performing development companies in New York. It's in 4 of the industries included there that OPTASY's got recognized as one of the top developers in New York: Drupal development, PHP development, e-commerce, Shopify and web development. Moreover — as if just being listed there, among all those leading development firms in New York, hadn't been enough — we got ranked #2 as Drupal developers, respectively #3 as PHP developers. And, ranked top 15 in three other industries, as well!    Now with the risk of showing lack of modesty, we have to admit that we had been starting to feel quite “at home” on Clutch's matrices. Those highlighting the leading web development companies in Canada, in various industries. But to be recognized as one of the top developers in New York is simply an... overwhelming surprise! And it's almost an organic process if we come to think of it: it's our clients' encouraging feedback that made us open an office in New York, too (besides the one in Oakville, Canada). And it's their feedback, again, that reassures us now that we've made the best decision. We help our clients grow — powering their own ideas with our expertise and experience —  and, in return, they fuel our own growth plans. As natural as that. And this is precisely why we're particularly honored not just to be recognized as one of the top developers in New York, but to get ranked as a leader by Clutch itself.To get listed as a leader on any of their researches is already an honor for us. This because the Clutch team doesn't apply “just” the conventional evaluative metrics when analyzing the “candidates”. Metrics such as industry experience or market presence.  And it's not just data-driven content that they support their selections and hierarchies on, either. Instead, they actually interview both past and current clients of the given companies in order to identify both their strengths and weaknesses. In other words: First it was our clients that named us one of the top leaders in New York, then the Clutch team came to pinpoint their recognition.  See why we're overly honored whenever we get listed on Clutch? Why we can't thank our clients enough for sparing some of their time to answer Clutch's questions; to put their experience with our team and their opinion on our work into words?  Having our passion for what we do reflected in our clients' feedback is such a confidence-booster for us! And receiving, once again, a Clutch recognition can only confirm to us that: our client-centered approach and commitment to excellence make the best long-term strategy. And that we should stick to it. A big “Thank you!” to all our clients for their recognition and a big “Thank you!” to the CLUTCH team for the dedicated efforts put into each one of their famous researches. ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Mar 07'2018
On Reflection: OPTASY’s Journey to Canada Development Leaders
Continuing coverage of our latest recognition on Clutch’s annual report of leading firms in the United Kingdom and Canada, we wanted to dive deeper into what enabled us to achieve this success. While we are proud to showcase our leadership among web, ecommerce, Drupal, Shopify, and Magento developers in Canada, it is important to reflect on the past projects and relationships that drove us to these heights. Having evaluated our team across various development sectors, Clutch has taken the time to conduct interviews with many of our clients, framing an accurate picture of what it’s like to work with us; their conversations cover an array of questions regarding the challenges, solutions, and results of our time working together. Dedicating much of our success to our clients, we wanted to look back, not only to share some of the things they’ve had to say about our work, but to share how we’ve become a Canada development leader as well: “They really know their stuff in Drupal, more so than any other development shop I’ve worked with…their team was essentially available at any time to answer our questions, solve an emergency, or fix a mistake that we made,” referenced the Director of Design & Development for a digital agency. They went on to describe the measurable impact one of our team’s suggestions had on their project’s success: “After he made the switch, the site’s response time decreased by 53%. Immediately, the site started working faster. The dependencies that the site relied on went from over 200 to under 125. Overall, his recommendation made a huge impact on our business to the point that at the end of 2014, we grew by 400%. By the end of 2015, we were doing about 12 million pages with the website he developed.” Additionally, the Technology Coordinator for a school division, remarked on our project management expertise: “From day 1, the communication has been the hallmark and has been phenomenal. There have been no issues whatsoever with project delivery as a whole. They are far quicker than other services we have been involved in.”  Another client, the Technical Product Manager of a sports company, spoke on our dedication to the project and beating expectations: “Considering what we asked of them, and knowing they didn’t receive our mockups and wireframes until 3 weeks out, it was crazy that we managed to launch. They stepped up in terms of commitment.” To learn more about our clients’ experiences and how we’ve distinguished ourselves as a Canada development leader, follow our Clutch profile here.  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Feb 08'2018
OPTASY Is Twice a Leader on Clutch: Top Web & Top eCommerce Development Agency
We did it again! OPTASY's got featured on Clutch's latest research on the leading Drupal developers in Canada. And there's more to it! Being included in this research is already a confidence-boosting honor in itself. Yet... we can't hide that we feel like jumping for joy (literally) right now since we've also got recognized as “leaders” in web development. Not just for one, but for 2 industries:   Canada: Top Web Developers (ranked 7th) Top Canada eCommerce Developers (ranked 6th)   This is — with the risk of making it sound a bit like an inflated speech —  the most rewarding recognition of our work that we could get! Considering that Clutch's researchers and implicitly its tops, too, are conducted and based not just on the analyzed companies':   expertise in certain industries presence on the market  ability to deliver high-quality results to clients   … but on their past and current clients' feedback (although we're more fond of the word “partners”). That's why we're “overly” honored by this recognition! For this cannot but certify that yes: we did succeed to live up to our partners' expectations. And so all the efforts that we've put in:   attracting only one particular type of people into our team: those who're far from “just” knowledgeable in their fields, but... curious and overly passionate about their work  constantly striving to provide irreproachable customer service always tailoring our approaches — to the web development process itself — to each project's needs and to each partner's particular requirements … have paid off.   And have made our clients turn into our... advocates! Their recognition of our work is a huge push forward for us, both as a Canadian web development and as an e-commerce development agency!  Moreover, seeing our five-star “neighbors” on those 2 Clutch tops has simply overwhelmed us (another big word, yet we cannot help it)... Drupal development teams that we've been looking up to, that inspire us and challenge us to grow. And we're right next to them, among all these leaders, on Clutch!  Now since we don't want to turn this post into a boringly long, slightly narcissistic type of award-winning speech, we feel like ending it now with an honest: “Thank you!”. To all our partnering companies and organizations, who took the time to go on Clutch and to write down a feedback for their overall experience with us. And, of course, to the Clutch team itself for the time and efforts they've invested in this research. ... Read more
Serge Karpyuk / Jan 29'2018
CES 2018 Is Here! What Next-Generation Gadgets and Tech Steal the Spotlight?
The world's tiniest laptop, the rollable TV, the world's largest wall TV... all the disruptive “superlatives” in the tech industry are being currently showcased at CES 2018 — Consumer Electronics Show —  in Las Vegas (Jan 9-12). And if you haven't managed to attend the huge tech show and you're in the consumer technologies sector or just an innovative gadgets & technologies passionate, stay assured: we'll be keeping you in the loop!  Here are the: event's highlights “steamy fresh” info on precisely those gadgets stealing the spotlight as we speak news on the most-talked-about innovative consumer technologies at the show   CES 2018: There's Something for Everyone's Taste That's right, take this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as a “theme park” overwhelming its visitors with its load of attractions. Its “visitors” being all those with a keen eye for sleek, next-generation gadgets and a guilty addiction for breakthrough innovations in the tech industry: There is a high tech “ride” for everyone's taste From wireless headphones to 8k OLED TVs, from electric cars to monster-sized TVs, robots for commercial use, wearables, high-tech hi-fi, to fingerprint scanning-incorporated mobile phones... And the list can definitely go on: there sure is something to turn anyone's high tech fantasies into reality at CES 2018! Everyone had been expecting (since it's a 50 years old tech show after all) both the Las Vegas Convention Center's show floor and the Halls of the Venetian to be “piled up” with... jaw-dropping tech innovations! With tech manufacturing giants — Samsung, LG, Sony, Acer, Panasonic and Big G itself — as "stars" of the show, this gathering can't turn out to be but... overwhelming, for any show attendee.   Gadgets and Tech Stealing the Show, The Largest Consumer Tech Show I bet you'd die to take a sneak peek inside. And even if it's going to be just an imaginary tour of the exhibits, your time is limited, isn't it? So you want to know which are those gadgets and consumer technologies “basking in a rockstar fame”. Well, get ready for they're about to step into the spotlight, here below. It's a selection of the consumer electronics products gathering the largest crowds these days in Vegas, at CES 2018: The headphones equipped with translation capabilities   Samsung's monster-sized Wall TV: its 165 inches are getting loads of attention at the tech show, not to mention that the giant consumer tech brand has also unveiled its battle plan of conquering OLED this year   Acer's Swift 7, the world's tiniest laptop (so far): it comes with out-of-the-box 4G LTE connectivity to boot   LG's latest robots designed to assist customers at hotels and shopping centres LG's 65-inch OLED rollable Ultra HD TV prototype: the future of technology has the shape of a highly convenient TV that you can easily... roll up, just like a newspaper Blyton's electric car: which has easily managed to stand out from the crowd of SCI-fi-like TVs, mobile phones, and other next-generation gadgets; CES 2018 is sure to make a fantastic “stage” for the Chinese startup to show off its innovative potential to the world Intel's CPU's with AMD Vega graphics Asus's MC mini-like Chromebox 3: since “small” is definitely the new big, Asus, too, unveiled its own small-sized product, equipped with built-in support for Gigabit LAN and dual-band 802.11 ac WI-FI (meaning, of course, that it will stream 4k videos... superbly) End of... tour! Of course, the lights on the global stage of innovation — CES 2018 — are still on. And they'll be on till Friday, the 12th of January. New “superstars” in terms of gadgets will be rising, so take my selection here as a rough guide only! ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jan 10'2018
Serverless Computing Takes Off in 2018: How It Will Impact The Way Software Is Built
To go or not to go serverless... This is one of 2018's most asked questions in the IT industry. And it's true that serverless computing has grown from a niche solution, with a somewhat misleading name, into a tech trend guaranteed by all the industry experts. Yet, you're still a bit hesitant when it comes to replacing your heavy, yet familiar infrastructure with a serverless framework, right? You feel like “dipping a toe into the water” first. And who could blame you? It's a more than legitimately prudent approach considering the implications of such a switch.  You shouldn't make a move, not until you have some unbeatable arguments at hand. Until you gain a deep understanding of all the benefits that derive from adopting a cloud-native approach. Well, this is precisely what this blog post is all about: pointing out all the strongest benefits that you will reap from taking the infrastructure management weight off your shoulders and going... serverless.   But First: What Is Serverless Architecture More Exactly? First of all, let's get one thing straight: “serverless computing” doesn't mean, by all means, that there isn't a server, out there somewhere, doing its data workload processing work! It's just that the user (yes, you!):   is no longer burdened with all the server (or fleet of servers) management and monitoring ongoing tasks doesn't know (or care) where in the world his server is located   You'd be practically running your code right in the cloud, taking out of the picture the need of provisioning servers on your enterprise's end.  "But how does the data processing work on cloud?" A valid question indeed. Basically, you're enabled to set up your individual API endpoints which will fire code and perform certain actions once triggered. As simple as that. And if I am to exemplify, probably the best-known example would be the serverless computing AWS: Amazon's AWS Lambda. It has already managed to “seduce” plenty of IT managers in the industry and its popularity is sure to... explode in 2018. Why? Because it's a serverless computing architecture which:   scales automatically, granting enterprises the flexibility they need and helping them cut down costs it executes code only when/if certain events occur, when specific endpoints get triggered   And it's not a serverless framework without “rivals”. Competition is about to get fierce when other frameworks such as Webtask, Microsoft Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions, IBM OpenWhisk and Iron.io will start to... take off.   It's Horizontally Scalable: Relax and Let It Handle Massive Waves of Traffic for You In other words: you get to worry less about balancing the heavy load, about the waves of traffic that your site/app might face once certain of your endpoints get exposed. And about rushing in to put together the properly robust infrastructure. The underlying system will handle it for you!   You're Free to Set Up Each Endpoint in the Language of Your Choice Or simply put: your API endpoints will be language-agnostic! You (or your lucky team of developers) get to write each endpoint in a different language runtime. So, you're free to use the one that you're most familiar with or the one that best fits our work scenario.  And this is already a major pro for adopting a serverless computing approach in 2018!   You Only Pay for What You Use: A Strong Benefit of Serverless Computing Here's another “irresistible” benefit that you can reap from going serverless: you only pay for what you use! So, there's no need (not anymore) to pile up on T2 small instances and auto-scaling groups... just in case. The “case” here being: “if I ever hit a surge of traffic”. When you're using a serverless architecture all this comes without a price tag on!   Worry Less About Managing The Underlying Infrastructure: It's Being Taken Cared Of! Your serverless cloud provider will be managing the entire fleet of servers for you. And this “management” includes applying security patches as soon as they get released, as well! So, take all these monitoring and security-related concerns off your back and... focus more on turning great ideas into great digital products! And this is — all these resources of time and effort that you'll get to invest elsewhere — the main advantage that you'll leverage from switching to serverless computing!   Turn That Great Idea of Yours Into The Next Big Thing Quicker Than Ever!  Just think about it: going from having a great idea to actually turning it into the next big... app (let's say) will take you a whole less time (and effort). Serverless computing will smooth the path for you and shorten the process, meaning that:   you'll be having your idea production ready a lot quicker you'll gain more confidence to try on newer technologies, as well   Summing Up... Plus a Forecast for 2018 “Serverless IT will move from the niche corners of the cloud estate into the spotlight as it addresses the three key areas that keep IT admins up at night: speed, cost and risk.” (Jason McDonald, President U.S., Contino) Yet (for there is a “yet”), serverless computing isn't a “one size fits all” type of solution. It won't scale to all app architectures and needs (like the need to closely monitor and to control how things get configured). Nevertheless, if we:   go beyond its somehow misleading name see its strong benefits consider it only for those use cases that it's best fitted for   ... serverless architecture is here to stay and change the way we build software from the ground up! ... Read more
RADU SIMILEANU / Jan 04'2018
WebAssembly Support: Now Rolling Out in Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Edge, Too
“By our powers combined...” Let's imagine the representatives from all major web browsers saying this line when they joined forces, in 2015, for creating a whole new format for compilation to the web. When the WebAssembly support “revolution” began. And there's no one in the digital landscape who can honestly admit that they saw this coming! That after only 2 years all four major web browsers, Firefox, Chrome — the first 2 to enable support for WebAssembly by default — Safari and Edge — that joined the WASM “gang” the past few weeks — would officially run WASM code on the web. How did it all begin? How did we get this far and (most of all): what can we dare to expect from a WebAssembly-influenced future of web?   An Unexpectedly Promising Start Let's start with the “I have a dream...” type of beginning! Work on WebAssembly started in 2015. Its team of engineers' dream (a dream nourished by all other web browsers) was to create a technology/set up a standard (or “format” if you prefer) for rendering application logic as optimized bytecode. … for compiling JavaScript code into WASM format which injects web apps, even the most complex, “bulky” ones, with high performance and increased security. With near-native speed! By the end of 2016 the team of visionaries — the W3C Community Group — had already added the last “strokes of brush” to the new WebAssembly standard's core features. And only 7 months later, Google, Mozilla and Microsoft were already offering enabled WebAssembly support in their browser previews.  A major boost and a positive shake-up for the development team behind it, which no later than March 2017 was already concluding work on the new standard. And a consensus of all major browser vendors on the initial version of WebAssmely version was reached. Then, it simply followed its roadmap and started to stir waves in the digital arena:   “Will WebAssembly mark the end of traditional JavaScript-based apps and the new era of native-app-alike... alternatives?” “Is WebAssembly The “Death” of JavaScript?”   From then on, in the months to come, WebAssembly support started to be shipped along with the newest versions of all the 4 major web browsers.   The WebAssembly Standard: Benefits That You Can Reap And the valid question that you might be asking yourself right now must be:   “And how do I benefit from this new standard? From the WebAssembly support now enabled, by default, in ALL 4 major browsers?”   Here's how:   it will turbocharge your bulky, complex app/modern website with near-native performance (with no need for a plugin); it's proven that the low-level bytecode format that it uses compiles JavaScript code into lighter code: a sustainable use of bandwidth on mobile devices & improved page loading times    it “frees” your development team from “JavaScript's tyranny”, so to say; using WebAssembly as a code compiler they're now “tempted” with a collection of languages to write their code it, wider than ever before... code which they can compile straight to wasm, without the need to transpile it to JavaScript beforehand   the ideally compact WASM format acts as a “turbocharger” which transmits files at high speed over the wire and (most importantly) gets them loaded as JavaScript modules!!!   not only that WASM “was designed from the ground up to be fast” (Jay Phelps, Netflix senior software engineer, said), but also to guarantee you a higher level of protection: the WASM format code is much safer since it executes within the web browser's own security sandbox   bytecode, thanks to its conveniently structured data format, is easier for web browsers to read and parse   What WebAssembly Support in All Browers Means for Developers? As for your development team, as already mentioned, using the WebAssembly code compiler opens the gates to a whole new world of options: C, C+, Rust... With more statically typed language support to come! Moreover, broad Webassembly support at the web browsers' level can only mean that they're free to experiment. Since the great majority of end users now have WASM support automatically enabled in their web browsers of choice.   your team of developers gets to perform their “coding experiments” in a programming language of their choice compile their code to a bytecode format … which then the web browser can execute within a virtual machine!   Safari and Edge: The Last 2 Browsers to Join the “WASM” Gang With Firefox and Chrome as the “early adopters” of the Webassembly standard, it was about time that Apple and Microsoft shipped WebAssembly support in their Safari 11.0, respectively EdgeHTML 16 browser versions, too.  And it's finally a wrap! It's been a few weeks already since all 4 major web browsers are officially capable to run WASM-formated code.   What Next? WebAssembly In the Foreseeable Feature  In other words: what does using the WebAssembly code compiler at its full potential mean?  It's designed to make it possible for any kind of app (the largest ones, with a high demand of CPU, being the main target) to run on the web reaching the same performance as if it would if it was running locally, on the end user's PC. As if it was a native app.   What do you think? Will WebAssembly mark the “birth” of a new kind of native-like apps running on the web instead?  … and developers' “liberation” from the preconception of a “universal language”?   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Nov 21'2017