VictorOps is a recent addition to our support stack. The best part about VictorOps is how they use a timeline to collaborate amongst team members. VictorOps is an elegant way to keep our team in the loop about outages. It also integrates well with Slack. This setup enables us to quickly react to any problems that make it into production, work together and resolve them faster. #Collaboration #MonitoringAggregation #Monitoring #GroupChatNotifications
We used CircleCI in conjunction with GitHub to achieve an integrated version control system continuous integration setup. CircleCI automatically runs our builds in a clean Docker container or virtual machine on every commit allowing us to stay on stop of any regressions as they arise. Additionally the notification system keeps our team up to date when issues do arise so we can get them fixed quickly. It even integrates with Slack to further reduce the friction in staying up to date with the status of our builds. With the automated deployment system once a build passes we can have it automatically deployed to our production environment so we can make sure our users always have the latest and greatest features.
At FundsCorner, we are on a mission to enable fast accessible credit to India’s Kirana Stores. We are an early stage startup with an ultra small Engineering team. All the tech decisions we have made until now are based on our core philosophy: "Build usable products fast".
Based on the above fundamentals, we chose Python as our base language for all our APIs and micro-services. It is ultra easy to start with, yet provides great libraries even for the most complex of use cases. Our entire backend stack runs on Python and we cannot be more happy with it! If you are looking to deploy your API as server-less, Python provides one of the least cold start times.
We build our APIs with Flask. For backend database, our natural choice was MongoDB. It frees up our time from complex database specifications - we instead use our time in doing sensible data modelling & once we finalize the data model, we integrate it into Flask using Swagger UI. Mongo supports complex queries to cull out difficult data through aggregation framework & we have even built an internal framework called "Poetry", for aggregation queries.
Our web apps are built on Vue.js , Vuetify and vuex. Initially we debated a lot around choosing Vue.js or React , but finally settled with Vue.js, mainly because of the ease of use, fast development cycles & awesome set of libraries and utilities backing Vue.
You simply cannot go wrong with Vue.js . Great documentation, the library is ultra compact & is blazing fast. Choosing Vue.js was one of the critical decisions made, which enabled us to launch our web app in under a month (which otherwise would have taken 3 months easily). For those folks who are looking for big names, Adobe, and Alibaba and Gitlab are using Vue.
By choosing Vuetify, we saved thousands of person hours in designing the CSS files. Vuetify contains all key material components for designing a smooth User experience & it just works! It's an awesome framework. All of us at FundsCorner are now lifelong fanboys of Vue.js and Vuetify.
On the infrastructure side, all our API services and backend services are deployed as server less micro-services through Zappa. Zappa makes your life super easy by packaging everything that is required to deploy your code as AWS Lambda. We are now addicted to the single - click deploys / updates through Zappa. Try it out & you will convert!
Also, if you are using Zappa, you can greatly simplify your CI / CD pipelines. Do try it! It's just awesome! and... you will be astonished by the savings you have made on AWS bills at end of the month.
Our CI / CD pipelines are built using GitLab CI. The documentation is very good & it enables you to go from from concept to production in minimal time frame.
We use Sentry for all crash reporting and resolution. Pro tip, they do have handlers for AWS Lambda , which made our integration super easy.
All our micro-services including APIs are event-driven. Our background micro-services are message oriented & we use Amazon SQS as our message pipe. We have our own in-house workflow manager to orchestrate across micro - services.
We host our static websites on Netlify. One of the cool things about Netlify is the automated CI / CD on git push. You just do a git push to deploy! Again, it is super simple to use and it just works. We were dogmatic about going server less even on static web sites & you can go server less on Netlify in a few minutes. It's just a few clicks away.
We use Google Compute Engine, especially Google Vision for our AI experiments.
For Ops automation, we use Slack. Slack provides a super-rich API (through Slack App) through which you can weave magical automation on boring ops tasks.
Often enough I have to explain my way of going about setting up a CI/CD pipeline with multiple deployment platforms. Since I am a bit tired of yapping the same every single time, I've decided to write it up and share with the world this way, and send people to read it instead ;). I will explain it on "live-example" of how the Rome got built, basing that current methodology exists only of readme.md and wishes of good luck (as it usually is ;)).
It always starts with an app, whatever it may be and reading the readmes available while Vagrant and VirtualBox is installing and updating. Following that is the first hurdle to go over - convert all the instruction/scripts into Ansible playbook(s), and only stopping when doing a clear
vagrant up or
vagrant reload we will have a fully working environment. As our Vagrant environment is now functional, it's time to break it! This is the moment to look for how things can be done better (too rigid/too lose versioning? Sloppy environment setup?) and replace them with the right way to do stuff, one that won't bite us in the backside. This is the point, and the best opportunity, to upcycle the existing way of doing dev environment to produce a proper, production-grade product.
I should probably digress here for a moment and explain why. I firmly believe that the way you deploy production is the same way you should deploy develop, shy of few debugging-friendly setting. This way you avoid the discrepancy between how production work vs how development works, which almost always causes major pains in the back of the neck, and with use of proper tools should mean no more work for the developers. That's why we start with Vagrant as developer boxes should be as easy as
vagrant up, but the meat of our product lies in Ansible which will do meat of the work and can be applied to almost anything: AWS, bare metal, docker, LXC, in open net, behind vpn - you name it.
We must also give proper consideration to monitoring and logging hoovering at this point. My generic answer here is to grab Elasticsearch, Kibana, and Logstash. While for different use cases there may be better solutions, this one is well battle-tested, performs reasonably and is very easy to scale both vertically (within some limits) and horizontally. Logstash rules are easy to write and are well supported in maintenance through Ansible, which as I've mentioned earlier, are at the very core of things, and creating triggers/reports and alerts based on Elastic and Kibana is generally a breeze, including some quite complex aggregations.
If we are happy with the state of the Ansible it's time to move on and put all those roles and playbooks to work. Namely, we need something to manage our CI/CD pipelines. For me, the choice is obvious: TeamCity. It's modern, robust and unlike most of the light-weight alternatives, it's transparent. What I mean by that is that it doesn't tell you how to do things, doesn't limit your ways to deploy, or test, or package for that matter. Instead, it provides a developer-friendly and rich playground for your pipelines. You can do most the same with Jenkins, but it has a quite dated look and feel to it, while also missing some key functionality that must be brought in via plugins (like quality REST API which comes built-in with TeamCity). It also comes with all the common-handy plugins like Slack or Apache Maven integration.
The exact flow between CI and CD varies too greatly from one application to another to describe, so I will outline a few rules that guide me in it: 1. Make build steps as small as possible. This way when something breaks, we know exactly where, without needing to dig and root around. 2. All security credentials besides development environment must be sources from individual Vault instances. Keys to those containers should exist only on the CI/CD box and accessible by a few people (the less the better). This is pretty self-explanatory, as anything besides dev may contain sensitive data and, at times, be public-facing. Because of that appropriate security must be present. TeamCity shines in this department with excellent secrets-management. 3. Every part of the build chain shall consume and produce artifacts. If it creates nothing, it likely shouldn't be its own build. This way if any issue shows up with any environment or version, all developer has to do it is grab appropriate artifacts to reproduce the issue locally. 4. Deployment builds should be directly tied to specific Git branches/tags. This enables much easier tracking of what caused an issue, including automated identifying and tagging the author (nothing like automated regression testing!).
Speaking of deployments, I generally try to keep it simple but also with a close eye on the wallet. Because of that, I am more than happy with AWS or another cloud provider, but also constantly peeking at the loads and do we get the value of what we are paying for. Often enough the pattern of use is not constantly erratic, but rather has a firm baseline which could be migrated away from the cloud and into bare metal boxes. That is another part where this approach strongly triumphs over the common Docker and CircleCI setup, where you are very much tied in to use cloud providers and getting out is expensive. Here to embrace bare-metal hosting all you need is a help of some container-based self-hosting software, my personal preference is with Proxmox and LXC. Following that all you must write are ansible scripts to manage hardware of Proxmox, similar way as you do for Amazon EC2 (ansible supports both greatly) and you are good to go. One does not exclude another, quite the opposite, as they can live in great synergy and cut your costs dramatically (the heavier your base load, the bigger the savings) while providing production-grade resiliency.
For Etom, a side project. We wanted to test an idea for a future and bigger project.
What Etom does is searching places. Right now, it leverages the Google Maps API. For that, we found a React component that makes this integration easy because using Google Maps API is not possible via normal API requests.
You kind of need a map to work as a proxy between the software and Google Maps API.
We hate configuration(coming from Rails world) so also decided to use Create React App because setting up a React app, with all the toys, it's a hard job.
Thanks to all the people behind Create React App it's easier to start any React application.
We also chose a module called Reactstrap which is Bootstrap UI in React components.
An important thing in this side project(and in the bigger project plan) is to measure visitor through out the app. For that we researched and found that Keen was a good choice(very good free tier limits) and also it is very simple to setup and real simple to send data to
Slack and Trello are our defaults tools to comunicate ideas and discuss topics, so, no brainer using them as well for this project.
Using Screenhero via Slack was getting to be pretty horrible. Video and sound quality was often times pretty bad and worst of all the service just wasn't reliable. We all had high hopes when the acquisition went through but ultimately, the product just didn't live up to expectations. We ended up trying Zoom after I had heard about it from some friends at other companies. We noticed the video/sound quality was better, and more importantly it was super reliable. The Slack integration was awesome (just type /zoom and it starts a call)
You can schedule recurring calls which is helpful. There's a G Suite (Google Calendar) integration which lets you add a Zoom call (w/dial in info + link to web/mobile) with the click of a button.
Meeting recordings (video and audio) are really nice, you get recordings stored in the cloud on the higher tier plans. One of our engineers, Jerome, actually built a cool little Slack integration using the Slack API and Zoom API so that every time a recording is processed, a link gets posted to the "event-recordings" channel. The iOS app is great too!
As a small startup we are very conscious about picking up the tools we use to run the project. After suffering with a mess of using at the same time Trello , Slack , Telegram and what not, we arrived at a small set of tools that cover all our current needs. For product management, file sharing, team communication etc we chose Basecamp and couldn't be more happy about it. For Customer Support and Sales Intercom works amazingly well. We are using MailChimp for email marketing since over 4 years and it still covers all our needs. Then on payment side combination of Stripe and Octobat helps us to process all the payments and generate compliant invoices. On techie side we use Rollbar and GitLab (for both code and CI). For corporate email we picked G Suite. That all costs us in total around 300$ a month, which is quite okay.
I chose Sqreen because it provides an out-of-the-box Security as a Service solution to protect my customer data. I get full visibility over my application security in real-time and I reduce my risk against the most common threats. My customers are happy and I don't need to spend any engineering resources or time on this. We're only alerted when our attention is required and the data that is provided helps engineering teams easily remediate vulnerabilities. The platform grows with us and will allow us to have all the right tools in place when our first security engineer joins the company. Advanced security protections against business logic threats can then be implemented.
Installation was super easy on my Node.js and Ruby apps. But Sqreen also supports Python , Java , PHP and soon Go .
It integrates well with the tools I'm using every day Slack , PagerDuty and more.
We use CircleCI for #ContinuousIntegration. Workflows are configured via a simple yaml file and run inside isolated Docker containers. CircleCI runs ESLint, Brakeman, and RuboCop to enforce code quality and security best practices. It integrates with GitHub and Slack to notify us of build progress and pass/failure statuses.