Connecting the dots

Tiago Duarte
Jan 22 · 6 min read

World decentralization

The industrial revolution, a huge milestone for Humanity, while solving the production problems at the time has led to the creation of massive enterprises and factories that concentrate most of the World’s production. This leads to a different set of problems like the creation of bottlenecks, single points of failure and to the destruction of diversity.
Think about 20/30 years ago, if you visited any other country or even a different city, people would be dressed differently. Nowadays you can fly to the other side of the world and people will use the exact same pair of sneakers you are wearing at this moment!
We are now seeing attempts to solve some of these problems. Let’s take the example of electricity. We have been dependent on the supply of electricity by big power plants that could easily fail (e.g. due to natural disasters) leaving huge areas without electricity. Now with solutions like Tesla’s Solar Roof, everyone can produce their own electricity and feed the excess to the network increasing the redundancy of the whole system.
Another example that is still in its infancy is the recent attempt to change the financial system. We are tied to a centralized system where a handful of institutions dictate the rules, but recently the community is clearly trying to create alternatives, like bitcoin, to circumvent this problem.

Massive Internet adoption

The Internet has seen an unparalleled adoption since it started to be commercially used in the ’90s. This massive adoption led to the quick exhaustion of the circa 4.3 billion (IPv4) addresses.
Think 15/20 years ago, how many devices did you had connected to the Internet? Probably only your computer right? Fast forward to today and a family of 4 easily has around 10 devices connected: a phone for each, computers, tablets and all the new shiny IoT devices that control the alarm, the water, room temperature and so on.
To mitigate the address exhaustion problem a new protocol (IPv6) started to be developed in 1998 and officially became a standard in 2017, this new protocol supports approximately 4.2×¹⁰³⁷ or 42 undecillion IPv6 addresses, quite a lot!
We are moving towards a server architecture that needs to handle a massive amount of devices that are constantly sending data in near real-time (e.g. temperature sensor).

Hardware and Software evolution

Computers have evolved a lot since they were first built. They went from huge machines taking the full space of a room, only capable of doing simple calculations to being able to fit nicely onto our pockets while being connected to the whole world.
In recent years, because memory has become way cheaper than before and because computers had to become more and more portable, we have seen a change that affects not only how hardware is built but also how software is developed.
Due to the fact that processor units couldn’t increase their clock frequency any higher, computers evolved from machines that execute one instruction or action at any given time, to a structure similar to multi-computer, that could execute code in parallel (multi-core).

Reactive interfaces and HTTP2

Unfortunately, users are more and more on a rush in their daily life and they demand tools and apps to respond the same way: they should be fast, with reduced load times, fewer taps to achieve their objective and so on. Problem is you can only optimize so much.


Coletiv’s technology decisions

When we started Coletiv we had a white canvas in front of us which was quite daunting but it allowed us to start fresh & clean and to bet on technologies we think are here for the long run. That was when we started to listen to all the previous dots and started connecting them: decentralization, more and more devices connected at the same time, multi-core processors, HTTP/2 & reactive interfaces.

Thank you for reading!

This post covered many different and apparently not connected areas that guided us to our current technology and design state. In a few years when we look again at this article (if we even look at it again!) either we will be proud about what we wrote here and shout in every possible social media platform that we did the right decisions or we will shamefully delete the article and pivot our approach.

References

Coletiv

Thoughts, dreams and rants about technology and work life from the Coletiv team

Thanks to Andre Silva, António Valente, Tiago Duarte, Pedro Costa, Nuno Marinho, David Magalhães, and Pedro Brandão.

Tiago Duarte

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Coletiv

Coletiv

Thoughts, dreams and rants about technology and work life from the Coletiv team