Reviewing your PDP can be a somewhat overwhelming process. So many areas of improvement can be highlighted, it can be a real challenge to discover what to focus on. Not only that but you also want to make sure your areas of focus have high impact benefits to the squad, so much to think about!

These 5 steps should help give you the direction needed to turn those PDP opportunities into something actionable, demonstrable and focused on what you care about.

Step 1 — Find the themes

Depending on your PDP, a lot of areas of improvements might be highlighted(or maybe that’s just me). They might…


I’ve relatively recently moved into a Platform Engineering position after working in very developer oriented teams for many years. What’s interesting is that the engineers you work with have much more diverse and interesting backgrounds in terms of their experience, so there’s a real opportunity to grow and learn a lot more, as opposed to a more homogenous set of developers. …


One of the ways to improve your security and avoid passing around env files is to follow the twelve factor app and start populating your secrets from the environment. Another improvement is to pull those secrets from a known secret store, with features like rotation, auditing etc.

Requirements

  • Ansible
  • Have some secrets stored in AWS Secrets Manager
  • Ansible should have access to the latest aws-cli command(secrets manager is a recent addition)
  • Jq if you’re storing json in your secrets

It’s worth testing your AWS calls to just extract the secret you’re interested in to stdout, from the terminal tests some calls…


Lambda is a terrific piece of kit for all the benefits listed on the AWS product page and Serverless is a very useful framework for developing Lambda functions. However, developing serverless applications locally is a total pain if what you’re solving isn’t totally trivial.

When things get complicated and your Lambda functions start to integrate with other AWS services, things really begin to break down. …


So I combined a few solutions I found online to come up with a quick way to set up maintenance mode using nginx. Ideally it shouldn’t happen but in times of emergency in can be good to knock up a quick maintenance page for everyone but your own internal ips.

Nginx Config

So here’s the configuration I use for nginx, it starts with setting the internal ips of your company in the main nginx config file. Then in the actual vhost, you can set it to watch for the existence of a maintenance_on.html …


So Microsoft has been in talks with Github about a potential acquisition. There are several reasons why this is a terrible idea. Github is a pretty solid git repo hosting company, but it has a few core values that are in jeopardy here and I’m not sure Microsoft(or anyone) can acquire an entity like Github without severe repercussions.

Platform agnostic integrations

Github has a ton of super useful integrations that help make the life for developers a lot easier. Tools like appveyor, travis-ci, coverall, readthedocs, codacy are really useful and what’s so great is you free to run them wherever you like. How…


For the last few months, I’ve been working off a varying series of to-do lists to drive my life. I use a mix of the Things app, my bullet journal, and a calendar. Basically, my setup is to have annual Smart Goals, broken down into achievable chunks, then broken down into tasks to knock off todo lists. On the face of it, it’s a way to organise a wiggly world.

And what is a wiggly world? Alan Watts describes it best:

This world is a great wiggly affair. Clouds are wiggly, waters are wiggly, plants are wiggly, mountains are wiggly…


Wild Wild Country – The Soundtrack

For anyone who hasn’t seen Netflix’s Wild Wild Country, I highly recommend you watch it. The story told, along with the wealth of footage they got their hands on makes it an incredible watch.

The soundtrack is also excellent, I’ve put together the soundtrack as a playlist on Apple Music, you can find it here. Enjoy!


I’m happy to see the media dog-piling on Facebook so much lately. None of this ‘news’ seems to actually be conveying much that’s new, more that it’s started taking what was slowly becoming normalised and framed it in a way to highlight the outrage. I don’t particularly like the media’s approach but I can’t feel too sorry about Facebook. We should be outraged with their on-going behaviour.

Four years ago I wrote an article about de-activating Facebook, I have not used Facebook since then and I believe I’ve permanently deleted my account somewhere along the way. I didn’t remove Facebook…


While I was camping along the West Coast of the US, I heard about the Leave No Trace movement and found the idea very much resonated with me. Recently, I’ve found myself looking around day to day and wondering where I could start leaving less of a trace. We can all hate on consumerism, but lets face it, well all need to consume a certain amount to live in the modern world. …

Shane Dowling

Senior Dev at gousto.co.uk. Runner and terrible guitar player.

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