Every year, usually around Christmas, I’ll take a break from regular work to focus on something new. While it’s usually possible to learn on the job or in evenings and weekends, it’s great to take a week or two away to do a deep dive in something different.
This page lists my recent Christmas projects.
2022: Pychoons: An ID3 tag index
Pychoons scrapes the ID3 metadata tags from a music library and indexes them to ElasticSearch. ElasticSearch’s powerful dashboards can be used to gain insight into your music collection. I was hoping I could chart the best vintage years for albums. Unfortunately the main insight is that more than half of my MP3s don’t have useful metadata.
2021: Zookidash: A dashboard for Zookeeper
I was interested in management and monitoring of Zookeeper. I created Zookidash: A dashboard for Zookeeper. Zookidash uses Zookeeper’s 4 letter words or the newer AdminServer HTTP services to find all servers in an ensemble and report on their health.
2020: …and rest
2020 was a difficult year for all. No Christmas project this year.
2019: Primer: A Spring Cloud Data Flow app on Kubernetes
Primer is a Spring Cloud Data Flow application for deployment to Kubernetes. The process of generating numbers, checking for primes and displaying the result fits nicely with the SCDF source, processor and sink concepts.
The result was deployed to Google Kubernetes Engine and is available to view at primer.dontpanicblog.co.uk.
2018: Dog n Bone: A browser phone for Twilio
I was also interested in deploying to a cloud provider. AWS seemed the obvious choice but I was won over by the simplicity of Google App Engine for Node applications.
2017: VoiceXML, JVoiceXML and VoiceXMLRiot
I’m currently doing a lot of development of voice applications using VoiceXML and wanted to learn a little more about its capabilities and ecosystem. VoiceXML applications are typically powered by expensive enterprise telephony systems so development and testing can be difficult. JVoiceXML is a powerful and flexible open-source VoiceXML browser but it has a steep learning curve and is difficult to set up and configure.
During the Christmas break in 2017, I started work on VoiceXMLRiot – a VoiceXML application testing framework. It builds on top of JVoiceXML and indeed is an alternative to its own test framework, VoiceXMLUnit. VoiceXMLRiot hides much of the complexity of JVoiceXML and is accessed through a simplified API.
2016: Angular 2
During a career break in 2015 I decided to look at Docker which was terribly new and exciting at the time. I was glad to discover that the hype was well deserved and astonished at its power and simplicity. This led to a four-part series of articles on Docker basics and later to a redesign of the Spanners demo app. The new 4.x iteration of Spanners demonstrates microservice concepts. It would have been next to impossible to build, test and distribute without Docker and Spring Boot.