Thursday, May 19, 2016

Revving up Raspberry PI

During the past weekend, I've embarked towards setting up a raspberry pi for my computing needs. While setting up an angular based e-commerce store that utilizes SAP Hybris YAAS (which is finally getting matured), I encountered couple of interesting things that I thought I'd share.

My setup was Raspberry Pi 3 (which has an onboard wifi and bluetooth device) and a LAN cable that would connect with a laptop. As this was close to a bare-bones setup, I encountered a couple of problems initially, related with connectivity and interface.

I started by flashing Raspbian OS and then attempted to connect via SSH. However, by default the DHCP ensured that I was not able to ping due to lack of proper IP address, let alone connect with the device. On my WiFi router, the assigned IP was reflected in the interface.
Upon connecting via SSH, I updated /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf to set the WiFi username and password. After connecting, first setup the static IP over LAN and then setup node.js and required libraries for the demonstration.

Another thing I'd like to add would be the 'raspi-config' command that is a handy utility while using the PI and lets you do various things  - which I had not known initially, and was doing that manually.
raspi-config utility

Instead of simply using the storefront as a server mode, I plan to utilize this as an input device (probably with camera module) and setup it up as an input platform to be used as an IOT device for all that's worth.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Containerization by Docker

Docker is a tool that I am getting my hands dirty with these days and instead of going after an entire process of creating a VirtualBox VM and running some lightweight Linux installation, I can simply use Docker to have a command line that behaves just like its virtualized counterpart and for large variety of tasks, this is helpful in setting up the required environment for the code/application to be demonstrated over a single machine. Instead of going the Hypervisor route of owning/supporting the entire OS or having it in a separate VM, the approach here it to use the best of breed tools without getting adversely constricted by the existing host OS.

Now that we have a windows installer, this is even more within the reach of an average lazy developer. And for what's it is worth, the docker hub has become more user friendly than before, which is kind of an app store containing the different images (the OS along with the environment).

Off to races, then!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Marching towards Microservices

To say that microservices have arrived would be the understatement of the year 2015 when most of the enterprise application creators seem to have realized the importance of keeping individual parts of application separately.
There is nothing new when it comes to microservices and there are tons of literature - ranging it from precise definitions stated by Martin Fowler, to the loosely coupled architectural term.

It is also easy to confuse microservice with SOA as the design seems similar; however, SOA is an integration of different applications, but microservices remain independent to each other - you can simply plug in and out different services while using them across different applications.

The  rise of javascript based frontend for web applications and in general, polyglot programming of applications has further argued the premise of having standalone pieces of applications that can

A) Scale very well

The individual service can scale up easily - as its underlying micro-architecture contains the least surprises and given today's virtualized/cloud environments, such services can be increased in volume as well as tested and rectified if something goes wrong.

B) Standalone

The services are standalone in the sense that each application that uses a microservices can use it with a specific set of data and as applications interact over http, there are no hassles of contract based services over SOAP/REST based services, which were based on service contract and were the norm earlier. So, we do not need an elaborate contract or some specific tool ; just a miniature web application framework would do.

An example of microservices making waves is into the SAP Hybris ecosystem via the YAAS that serves both as a place to host as well as market individual microservices for different e-Commerce implementations. Hosting is important because of the sensitive nature of data of different clients (which can be stored as different tenants) and also to remove the complexity of managing the server load when there are a lot more things to be completed.

Creating standalone applications and utilizing their mashup is no longer a field dominated by selected few, but are quickly becoming the norm in the coming  time and is poised to become the disruptive force of the decade.

Monday, November 2, 2015

On JavaScript generating engines

Javascript has become so pervasive today that there are camps which are trying to fight the syntactical challenges that it posts in order to leverage the benefits of the approach and the platforms using it i.e. making the browser (be it computer or mobile) do the hard work of rendering and html generation.

However, the catch is that there are different 'languages' that effectively generate JavaScript code. in this regard, again the Rails community scores a point as they where the first ones to leverage CoffeeScript for this job. Other technology have came late into play, but there is still room for these different langugages to manuever.
I've already covered coffeescript, which is in vogue with Rails/Django crowd and there are others like Dart for the GO/Java community - although Dart can be used as-is (native compilation for the crome browser) but since not all browsers support Dart, practical implementations have to live with the Dart2Js tool, which ends up being javascript anyways.

Dart VS TypeScript

After learning Dart for a month, I'd sum it up as an ambitious attempt towards improving web applications but it has a learning curve, which in my personal option is unwarranted. I am inclined towards TypeScript as it allows me to code in javascript (or a close to JS syntax) rather than forcing me to learn another language just to get things done.

Given the fact that Angular.js 2.0 is choosing later over former even if that means using a Microsoft based framework instead of in-house one, investing in TypeSafe seems more prudent today.

my 2 cents

Monday, September 14, 2015

True Omni-Commerce with IoT

The changing face of e-commerce means that successfully buying a product is more than just a few clicks away. Today, with the widespread influx of communicative devices and advertisements, the customer is constantly bombarded with advertisements of interest right from the morning tea to the evening commute, everywhere advertisements try to sell different products. However, this might only affect the user decision, which might be in the favor of competitors of the advertiser. So the context of advertisement with respect to the end customer needs to be revised and the user needs to be engaged -  buy the product rather than just influence decision making. SAP Hybris is currently aiming towards creating the online storefront of the future and is tinkering with some of the things that I am discussing- but a lot needs to be done before things are

Internet Of Things

As defined in Wikipedia, "The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or "things" embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity to enable objects to collect and exchange data."
Smart devices/sensors are already increasing exponentially and are poised to make the next big change in everyday life since the rise of internet and by 2020, only the B2B based such devices would be around 5.4 Billion.

Applied IoT

We've all heard about Amazon drones but the ideas do not stop there; by making a user context aware, the e-commerce can jump out of browser to mobile notifications through NFC enabled portals in physical stores. On the other hand, the user based sensors could be used for kiosks and physical display stores, making them intelligent. Another scenario could be the use of RIFD enabled tags on consumables, which can enable gamification based points for repeating customers, leading to repeated orders. These ideas are dime a dozen, but it remains to be seen which technology and business goes all out to adapt them.

True Omni Commerce

Although this sounds good in theory, in real world things like scalability and security take precedence and instead of just improving the context, there is a need to provide actual sales through these additional channels, or in other words, creating a mashup involving existing channels to generate even more avenues. I am currently working as a Hybris developer and am hoping to see some positive influences due to rise of such a technology, which is currently in the playground stage.