Design/UX, Events

The best of Generate Conference – 2018

November 12, 2018

November 12, 2018 by Carmel Hassan

Last month, the Ebury team attended Generate, a conference dedicated to designers who are looking to improve the user experience (UX) of their websites. We’ll be talking through what we learned, how we’ll be applying our new knowledge to our UX, but most importantly, what you can take away to apply yourself.

The opening talk was presented by Sarah Parmenter who spoke about the importance of digital marketing strategies that can be easily applied by anyone. Parmenter shared key rules that can be applied today to help decide the best media tool to distribute your company’s message: First, think about your Product, then the client Experience, and then the Story. Only then, you can choose the right media outlet.

Our tip for you: If you decide to do a video, make sure you include subtitles, as 85% of all videos are played without sound.

Do you struggle to get your videos noticed? Try Hashtagify to find the best hashtags to get your content noticed.

The closing talk was presented by Sara Soueidan, a front-end UI developer who talked through how cascading style sheets (CSS) and scalable vector graphics (SVG) can be used for better usability and accessibility. One takeaway we gathered from this was to make sure that you integrate these inclusive design practices as part of your natural design and development process.

While CodePen’s senior software engineer Cassidy Williams impressed attendees by coding an image chosen at random found on Dribbble, designer and developer, Ricardo Cabello, demoed Three.js library to demonstrate how you can create WebVR interfaces with the library available on that platform.

UX consultant Trine Falbe talked through the importance of ethics when designing, highlighting the importance of how the data generated by users is looked after. In an age where data is the new oil, this is to consider for data-driven teams.  

Probably one of the most interesting talks of the day was presented by Andrew Godfrey, Senior Design Specialist at Invision, on Design Systems fails. Godfrey exposed some of the goals a successful design system has, such as:

  • Improved consistency
  • Efficient time on task
  • Efficiency reuse
  • Inclusive design (accessibility)
  • Reduction of defects
  • Improved UX
  • Strong design community

Godfrey also highlighted common failures that need to — and can easily — be avoided, such as:

  • Low adoption by internal staff
  • Low understanding by internal staff
  • Mismanaged content
  • Scale system difficulty
  • Lack of support
  • Missing the bigger picture (not just in UI components)
    • Lack of style guides
    • Unclear visual components
    • Unclear standards
    • Accessibility
    • Animation
    • Information architecture

Godfrey advocates considering Design Systems as a core project inside the business, which means adopting processes such as:

  • A plan, strategy, and process
  • A roadmap and priorities
  • Scaling up when validating
  • Incorporating ways of measuring and sharing success
  • Creating prototypes that can be validated
  • Assigning a ‘person of expertise’, that knows the system well
  • Effectively calculating design debt

 

For us at Ebury, Design Systems are one of the key tools to create and maintain a good user experience across all of our services. This is the key principle behind Ebury Chameleon and the reason why we’ll continue investing and improving our processes to ensure high-quality products and services.

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Events

Jenkins World: Fighting the Jenkinstein

November 9, 2018

November 9, 2018 by Luis Piedra Márquez

Jenkins World is a two-day conference held specifically for IT executives, DevOps practitioners, Jenkins users and partners.

This year, I attended the conference in Nice, France.  Jenkins World has traditionally always been held in San Francisco, but this year it expanded across to Europe with the additional conference admitting more than 800 attendants. Due to the success of the first European conference, another has been scheduled for next year—taking place in Lisbon.

The event was sponsored and driven by CloudBees, the company behind Jenkins (in fact, the creator of Jenkins, Kohsuke Kawaguchi, is CTO of CloudBees. A few big names attended, such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Docker and VMWare. There was also a great presence of the Jenkins OSS community.

While Jenkins has been around for more than ten years, its roots can be traced back almost 15 years, so it was created in a completely different landscape compared with today’s technology and industry practices—for example, there were neither cloud nor Agile methodologies back then. In 2014, the then-called workflow plugin (later renamed to Pipeline) was introduced. It was a disruptive change, as there was no direct compatibility between old-style pipelines (that were, and still are available) and new pipelines. I remember being very critical at the time, since it was quite bugged and a somewhat incomplete function, (even in 2016 when Jenkins 2.0 was announced) so I wouldn’t have recommended migrating to Jenkins pipelines at that point. However, I was proven wrong and it evolved well. By mid-2017 it was production ready, so we started a successful migration at Ebury later that year.

Note that we are talking about three years of evolution to have a usable pipeline, which is a considerable amount of time. In fact, during this time other pipeline solutions, like CircleCI and Bitbucket Pipelines managed to be built from scratch and launched. However, this last year has been a year of wonder for Jenkins, with lots of amazing initiatives crystallizing for pipeline and beyond. All of this was presented at the Jenkins World conference in a quite well structured way:

Pipeline

With Declarative Pipeline Syntax and multibranch and organization jobs, Jenkins made a step forward in the last couple of years. Pipeline as Code continues being the backbone of the project, and that’s good news.

Configuration as Code

Although Pipeline as Code helped us a lot with job configuration, and the different cloud plugins also helps configuring slaves/nodes… when it comes to configure the Jenkins instances that instrument all that, it’s still really painful, and this tool comes to fill that gap.

We’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time, and thanks to Praqma and Ewelina Wilkosz, it’s finally here. It’s important to note that while this has not come from Cloudbees or Jenkins core, it has now been embraced as part of Jenkins core. It just looks awesome. We’re really excited to start configuring our instances this way.

 Jenkins Evergreen

This project is about Jenkins out-of-the-box experience. Think of it as a Linux distribution, a complete set of plugins thoroughly tested together for functionality and security, bundled with a Jenkins LTS version.
Of course, it will reduce flexibility in some scenarios, but quoting Michaël Pailloncy, we used to install the latest Jenkins versions instead of LTS when we were young… but we don’t do it anymore, and the same may apply for the huge collection of plugins we use day-to-day.

Cloud Native Jenkins

Along with configuration, another long lasting pain in Jenkins’ administrations has always been infrastructure for the master instance, particularly when it comes to storage. It also weighed the possibility of true high availability (HA) for Jenkins master. This is by far the less polished of the superpowers, exemplified by the fact that it is a Special Interest Group and not a Project.

Jenkins X

Continuous integration and deployment for Kubernetes in an “opinionated” way. This means it’s only for Kubernetes, and it enforces a certain way of working. Quite far from the extraordinary flexibility that has characterised Jenkins. As Koshuke explained, it acts like a train with a fixed destination (i.e Kubernetes) and fixed rails… but it’s a really comfortable and fast train.

Kubernetes has been a topic of discussion in almost every talk, as it’s now seen almost as a standard for microservices architectures.

Image: https://jenkins.io/

An other interesting topic at the conference was the “Jenkinstein”. Over the time, when Jenkins instances start to grow in usage in organisations, they sometimes tend to grow in uncontrollable ways, essentially becoming monsters that need more and more dedicated work maintaining them.

These ‘superpowers’ will help developers and Jenkins administrators to fight these “Jenkinsteins” monsters. At Ebury, we’ve taken advantage of everything included in Jenkins 2.0—over the last year we’ve managed to remove all the mess in jobs creation, linking and configuration. However, we still need some puppeting when it comes to the operations side, and we will for sure also take advantage of Configuration as Code and Jenkins Evergreen projects.

Enjoy Jenkins and automation, and remember two quotes I have learnt over the last two days:

  • If you automate a mess, you get an automated mess
  • “Never send a human to do a machine’s job”
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Events, LABS

EUROPYTHON 2018 Asyncio learnings

October 23, 2018

October 23, 2018 by hectoralvarez

EDINBURGH
Thanks to Ebury’s learning program, Héctor Álvarez and Jesús Gutiérrez were selected to attend EuroPython in Edinburgh.

EuroPython is a yearly conference in Europe that focuses on Python programming language and its ecosystem . This year’s sessions were held at the Edinburgh International Conference Center; an amazing building in the core of the city, just a stone’s throw away from the historical city of Edinburgh.

More than 1200 programmers and python lovers from 51 countries attended the event. With over 150 sessions in 7 tracks we were prepared to take away as much new information as possible.

From the outset, it was clear that the hottest topic in EuroPython was asynchronous programming. First integrated into 3.6 Python, and in various iterations since, it is still entirely possible to use Python without needing or even knowing about the asynchronous paradigm. However, if you are interested in the nuts and bolts of the tech involved, read on.

For the beginners out there, your central processing unit (CPU) follows a synchronous programming model, which means that things happen one by one. For example, when you create a function that performs a long-running action, it returns only when the action is finalised and it can return the result. Even when different programs that are run by your Operating System (OS), which is programmed synchronously, the OS manages them asynchronously. This is why multitask Operating Systems have been used for a long time.

The pitfall of asynchronous programming is that it’s difficult to know which of the coroutines has the execution time, and which coroutine spawned which; the event loop obviously knows but the programmer doesn’t.

The recently launched Python3.7 tries to solve that problem with inheritance of tags.

Under the asynchronous topic:

Asyncio in python 3.7 and 3.8 (Yury Selivanov)

Asyncio in production (Hrafn Eiriksson)

Asyncio in practice: We did it wrong (Lynn Root)

Here, I’ll briefly explain how the asynchronous programming works since Python 3.5.

As mentioned before, classic program code is executed in a single event line.In asynchronous programming, however, code is executed in a single loop. That loop is part of the code that orchestrates what’s executed when, inside the loop, there are a group of tasks—coroutines. Coroutines are defined with the reserved word async.

When a coroutine has been executed, it reports to the loop when it’s waiting for an external resource using the reserved word await.

When the loop detects that a coroutine is awaiting, it gives the execution time to the next coroutine, the loop then stores the memory state and where it’s waiting. When the external resource finally gives the response it fires a callback so knows that the coroutine is ready to keep working.

That’s  the theory, but now it’s time to look at the code:

 

import asyncio
import logging


logging.basicConfig(format='%(asctime)s %(message)s', datefmt='[%H:%M:%S]')
log = logging.getLogger()
log.setLevel(logging.INFO)


# define a coroutine
async def sleeper(name, delay):
    """This coroutine will wait for 2 seconds and then keep working."""
    log.info(f"{name}: START (wait for {delay}s)")
    await asyncio.sleep(delay)
    log.info(f"{name}: END (wait for {delay}s)")
    return name

if __name__ == '__main__':
    # create the loop
    loop = asyncio.get_event_loop()

    coroutine1 = sleeper('first coroutine', 2)
    coroutine2 = sleeper('second coroutine', 5)
    task1 = loop.create_task(coroutine1)
    task2 = loop.create_task(coroutine2)

    log.info("main: START run_until_complete")
    loop.run_until_complete(asyncio.wait([task1, task2]))
    log.info("main: END   run_until_complete")


Here at  Ebury, we don’t currently use asynchronous programming because Django (our framework) is not asynchronous. However, there are parts of the code that are slow (like sending an email that will delay for a second), and so in those cases we use a workaround—task executor named celery. If you want to know more about celery, follow this link: https://labs.ebury.rocks/?s=celery

Miscellaneous

Domain Driven Design, Robert SmallShire

Domain Driven Design is an approach to software development that emphasises high-fidelity modelling of the problem domain, which uses a software implementation of the domain model as a foundation for system design.

PEP 557 (data classes) versus the world (Guillaume Gelin)

Data classes are a very controversial feature, yet here it’s explained why they’re useful for us.

Getting started with mypy and type checking (Jukka Lehtosalo)

Mypy , is defined as: a static type checker for Python that aims to combine the benefits of dynamic (or “duck”) typing and static typing.

Static typing can help you find bugs faster with less testing and debugging. In large and complex projects, this can be a major time-saver.

Python decorators: Gift or poison? (Anastasiia Tymoshchuk)

A taxonomy of decorators: A-E (Andy Fundinger)

Python 2 is dead! Drag your old code into the modern age (Becky Smit)

What’s new in Python 3.7 (Stephane Wirtel)

Pythonic code vs. Performance (Łukasz Kąkol)

 

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Javier Vázquez
Salesforce Developer

Events

Ebury Salesforce at the DreamOlé 2018 Event

August 30, 2018

August 30, 2018 by Javier Vázquez

On the 27th of April this year, the Ebury Salesforce team attended DreamOlé; the biggest Salesforce event in Spain, with collaborators and speakers from around the world gathering to share their knowledge, skills and experience with the audience.

The important presentations from our perspective were…

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Development, Events

Takeaways from the 2018 ExpoQA in Madrid

July 23, 2018

July 23, 2018 by Daniel Gordillo

For the fourth consecutive year, Ebury attended the ExpoQA conference during 4-6 June in Madrid. Events such as these are paramount in order to stay updated with the latest news in technology, tools, methodologies and all the nerdy stuff we love.

We would like to highlight the following  presentations:

  • Focus on product quality instead of testing by Dana Aonofriesei. She offered a look into how we need to pay attention to quality in production monitoring. We loved her alert system where the alerts have the status “Pending”, “Researching” and “Solved” to help manage the alerts and give better visibility. In addition, we really liked how her system automatically assigns bugs by “keywords”.
  • Yes, we can. Integrating test automation in a manual context by Andreas Faes. Based on his experience, he talked about implementing test automation processes in his company, up to the point of how developers are using code created by QA (dev in test) to test his developer code, similar to TDD but with tests driven by QA. This is something that we will be looking to apply in our own teams.

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Development, Events

DjangoCon Europe 2018

June 26, 2018

June 26, 2018 by Miguel Ángel Moreno

DjangoCon Europe 2018, the European conference for the Django framework, was held this year in Heidelberg, Germany, from May 23rd – 27th. Professionals from around the world gathered together to enjoy a collaborative environment with talks given on a variety of topics, from philosophical issues, to technical details.

Ebury adopted Django a few years ago now as part of its core technology stack and this conference is always great to look at future opportunities.

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Miguel Torres
Lead Front-end Developer

Design/UX, Development

Introducing huha.js: Analysing User Experience with Javascript

June 22, 2018

June 22, 2018 by Miguel Torres

We love building great products, but a product would be completely useless if it is not properly designed for the people who are meant to use it. This lack of efficiency impacts the user experience (UX) of the solution. But, how can we achieve a good UX when developing a product? Is there a way that we can measure user performance objectively?

By trying to answer these questions, we realised there aren’t any cheap and easy-to-use tools ready for any member of our team. So, since we have some experience in things like building software, we decided to develop our own tool.

We are glad to introduce huha.js, a Javascript framework that is intended to measure the usability and user experience in an automated way, considering the limitations of the model and best practices.

In this post, we would like to share how it was built, in order to get fast and detailed feedback on user experience and be able to provide support to a highly iterative agile development practice.

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Development

Queue tasks in Celery after database commit – Introducing django-transaction-hooks

April 18, 2018

April 18, 2018 by antoniopaez

At Ebury, we use Django and have followed an ongoing upgrade path from 1.3 to 1.5 to 1.7. During that time we have had an issue that was messing with us. You might be familiar with it.

We use celery for  executing asynchronous tasks and Django is our framework with PostgreSQL database.

The issue occurs when an asynchronous task makes use of an object that has been just updated, or  created. There is a dependency with the database, the object might not have the updated status when the asynchronous task starts, or not even exists yet.

We are now able to utilise the  library django-transaction-hooks, which works with Django 1.6 through 1.8, and has been merged into Django 1.9+.

What is important with this library is that adds the event “on_commit” to manage timing with database transactions. So, we  can use this for scheduling when to queue tasks for celery workers. The main advantage comes when we want to queue using an object created into an atomic transaction. Consider the following example:

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Events

PyConEs 2017 overall

October 31, 2017

October 31, 2017 by Jesús Gutiérrez

In September 2017 Ebury went to PyCon Spain 2017 which took place in Cáceres (Extremadura), at the beautiful location of San Francisco’s Cultural Complex.

Read on for insights on refactoring, unicode, serverless, testing factories, diversity in the work place and open source!

In this article we would like to give pull out some key talks at the conference and the different roles that we had there:

  1. As sponsors: We love Python so we are PyConEs sponsors as part of our commitment. Its great to meet others passionate about getting the best out of python and of course, because we are hiring.
  2. As participants: We want to learn, listen to interesting speakers and share ideas and experiences (we are not a Developersaurus Rex Company).

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