What would you say you do here? A look back at 2017.
Whether it was analyzing data collected from the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua, speaking at GlueCon in Colorado, joining a hackathon on a boat in Berlin Germany, doing video shoots in Vancouver, or developing and launching a product that is the Predix Python SDK — 2017 was a busy year.
I’m turning the page on another calendar year of interesting work, so taking a quick look back at some of the more exciting projects in the past year of Developer Evangelism and looking ahead to the coming year. Happy New Year!
The Predix Developer Forums may not sound like the most exciting area of focus, but it is one of the most important for serving the community. A deep understanding of the problems developers run into with a app, platform or services comes from directly helping somebody to work around any issues or limitations they run into. It’s great feedback on how to improve the products.
I’m happy that my contributions on the forum have been found helpful and answers frequently upvoted and accepted. That is reflected in a Top 5 by Reputation ranking. I haven’t been as active on StackOverflow and Quora, so that is something to focus more attention on in 2018.
Volcano Project Erupts
It was probably quite literally the hottest development project of the year. This collaborative project saw many companies coming together to co-develop a field deployment of industrial sensors in an active volcano, data loaded into Predix services with a sample app, and a beautiful web site developed to tell the story. The Predix Volcano Reference App has the second most stars on Github of any open-source GE project. The Digital Volcano website quickly surpassed 100k impressions and had positive coverage in Popular Mechanics, CNET, and Live Science.
It’ll be hard to top a project experience like this one, but through some individual consulting, mentoring, coaching and support on specific production projects there may be more interesting stories to tell in 2018.
On a Boat in Berlin
Hackathons can be fast-paced in-person events that when the pressure is on teams often need a friendly ear to talk through any urgent problems they run into. The most interesting venue for a hackathon may have been the Minds + Machines Europe Conference Hackathon held in Berlin Germany. The event was literally held in a boat on the river where teams developed solutions to help with Decarbonization.
Python SDK Launch
I don’t have direct day-to-day engineering responsibilities, but there was a very clear need in the Industrial IoT community for help working with Predix Services in Python. In combination with the volcano reference application (Python Flask App on Cloud Foundry), I developed an SDK for Python developers.
- Python client support for multiple services — User Account and Authentication (UAA), Access Control Service (ACS), Predix Asset, Predix Time Series, Blob Store, Weather, and Logging (Logstash)
- User guide, API Reference, and Cookbook with 25+ How-To articles for common problems.
- Open-sourced under a 3-clause BSD license.
This was a large initiative that involved collaboration with groups across the internal organization including Legal, New Product Introduction, Product Management, Documentation, UX, Support, and Engineering. There is still a lot more that can be done on the SDK so this year will see more services, more testing, and more production outcomes and examples.
Conferences are a good way to get out and engage with folks face-to-face.
I had a number of speaking sessions in 2017:
- Open IoT / Embedded Linux in Portland, OR where I spoke on an Attribute Based Access Control Framework for IoT.
- Mobile+Web Developer Confrence in San Francisco,CA where I spoke with Mike Hart on Always On Applications for Industrial IoT with a focus on building offline first mobile and edge applications.
- Evans Data in Palo Alto, CA where I did a lightning talk on the expanding pool of developers including citizen developers.
- GlueCon in Broomfield,CO where I spoke on Edge computing for a steam engine and creating a Digital Twin representation of it.
I was also in attendance in support of a number of other conferences throughout the year — OSCON, Facebook @ Scale, Eclipse IoT Day, Minds + Machines, etc.
Video and Audio
Sometimes short-form video content is more engaging for viewers, so I produced, interviewed, or appeared on a number of youtube videos and podcasts this year:
- Redmonk TV — What is Predix?
- Predix Developer How-To: Use Predix Python SDK
- Predix Platform Architecture
- Predix Developer Guide — Event Hub
- Predix Developer Guide — Predix UI
- Predix Developer Guide — Data Science
- Predix Developer Guide — Performance Monitoring
- Predix Developer Guide — Mobile SDK
- TechGig Webinar — Source Code for an Active Volcano
- Software Engineering Daily Podcast
- Predix Developer Podcast — Episode 10
We produced a bunch of new videos in Vancouver recently when not chasing down bank robbers in Central City, so there is much more video content to watch coming in 2018.
The Industrial Internet of Things for Developers book was published last year and was an interesting opportunity to collaborate behind the scenes and see first hand the entire process of creating a book. It might be something I’ll give a try myself sometime. While we didn’t hold the Predix Transform conference this year, I did review 200+ sessions to make recommendations based on the interesting projects and work other developers are doing. I hope we can find ways to tell more of these stories this upcoming year.
A number of blog posts I published helped to focus attention on important topics and events.
- Minds + Machines 2017 Appathon Developer Live Blog
- An Unknown Error, UAA Authorization Redirect, and Fire Trucks
- Service Bindings, Load Balancing, and System Status
- Deployment Checklist, Predix Technologies, and TensorFlow
- Volcano App — The Story Behind the Python Reference App and SDK
- Aggregations, Docker + Machine, and Organizing Orgs
- Encrypted Configs, CF Routes, and Industrial Protocols
- Containers Everywhere
- Open IoT Summit North America
- Don’t Let Your Microservices Get Put in Timeout
Sadly I can’t share details on everything I enjoyed doing last year as a number of the partnerships, customer engagements, and other projects I’ve been part of can’t be posted here. If you run into me at a developer event sometime though you should ask me about my trip behind the scenes at an airport, visit to a bio lab, etc. and I can share a few anecdotes.