REDtalks.live #49 – Imperative vs Declarative APIs /w Kin Lane

My good pal, Kin Lane, is back on the show for his third appearance to discuss the much debated topic of Imperative vs Declarative APIs.

Key discussion points on this topic:

  • One is not necessarily better than the other.
  • One persons declarative is another persons imperative, so think about the ‘system’ of orchestration, and not just the device/software you’re automating.
  • Think first about the ‘API contract’ (episode #46, also with Kin Lane)
  • Scott Peter’s and the API ’emoji poop’

Enough words from me, watch now!

Thanks for listening!

 

REDtalks.live #47 – POSTMAN API client w/ creator & CEO, Abhinav Asthana

Very excited about today’s episode where I’m joined by Abhinav Ashtana, the creator and CEO of world renowned API client, POSTMAN.

 

In this episode, hear Abhinav explain how POSTMAN started – how a personal frustration with API interactions presented an opportunity to create something cool. Learn about the journey POSTMAN took and the use cases that shaped its form today. Lastly, hear about the latest POSTMAN training capabilities shipping in version 7.0 (totally free) to better enable adoption by learning directly within the product as you use it.

Take a peek at this capability in the POSTMAN blog here.

Thanks for listening!

 

REDtalks.live #46 – ‘API Contracts’ w/ Kin Lane

API Contracts, or ‘API Parenting’ as I like to call it, is a critical part of API creation and delivery. So, if you’re thinking if implementing an API, or maybe you already have and things aren’t going so well, then this is the episode for you!

For API consumers, the API Contract sets expectations. It lets you know whether functionality may change at short notice, or not. It informs you of rate-limiting policies, and of the providers uptime/availability commitments. As an API consumer, you should demand API contracts of your providers to inspire confidence in your API consumption choices.

For API creators/providers, your consumers get all of the above – confidence in your API. If you love your customers/consumers, you’ll provide them an API contract, and honor it.

To learn more about API contracts, from the API evangelist (apievangelist.com), Kin Lane, himself, watch this episode!

Thanks for listening!

REDtalks.live #43 – “API First Strategy” w/ Kin Lane

Welcome to episode #43 where I’m joined by super-famous API evangelist, Kin Lane – yes, the Kin Lane behind apievangelist.com

Watch this episode to learn about Kin’s background and how he’s helped many organizations of different sizes realize the benefits of an “API First” strategy. Or just watch to see if he really does look like this:

Theme’s in this episode:

  • API First strategy
  • API Politics
  • Applying API’s to existing technologies/services

Enough words, watch/listen here:

Thanks for listening!

REDtalks.live #42 – Dev’s gone rogue

There’s lots of talk in the computer networking media about the need to pick up some scripting/coding skills to stay relevant in the modern agile/DevOps world. To better understand this perspective, in episode #42 we take a look at it from the opposite direction… from that of two developers who switched to networking!

Joining me in this episode, Cody (who I refer to as ‘Cory’, not once, but twice… sorry, Cody – if that even is your name…) Green, and Daniel Edgar explain how developers look at networking and how to avoid the common miscommunication problems between the two important but very different worlds.

Thanks for joining me CODY Green and Daniel Edgar!

Thanks for listening!

REDtalks.live #36 – Christian Weber from GitHub on Infrastructure as Code

Delighted to have GitHub’s Christian Weber on the show this week to share his experiences with Infrastructure as Code.

Watch this episode to hear Christian explain some personal experiences, from his days before he worked at GitHub, where Infrastructure/Configuration as Code would have made a big difference. Learn from first-hand experience how certain practices can bring order back to a dire situations.  But if you’re too busy right now, you could just come and hear our talk at the F5 Agility conference in Boston (August 13th – 16th) titled “Super-NetOps: Configuration as Code”


“…by treating everything, like a configuration file, as a template we go back into our previous state without relying on a failure state as a means of recovery…”

Christian Weber, GitHub


 

Enough words from me, Christian’s wisdom awaits you in the video below:

 

Thanks for listening!

REDtalks.live #35 – How to get started

In this episode I’m joined by F5 Consultant, Vinnie Mazza, to hear his experiences with getting started on his programmability and automation journey. Vinnie shares with us how a project outside of work  inspired him to learn new skills that, coincidentally, are directly transferable to the workplace.

In this video you will see how, armed with no more than curiosity and a couple of Raspberry Pie’s, Vinnie revolutionized a local police training facility that was in dire need of improvement. The skills he learned from this project not only helped others but also took him on a journey through scripting languages and frameworks that turned him into the automation-ninja that many customers get to appreciate today.

Remember, listeners! Everyone starts from the beginning. Find a project, doesn’t have to be at work, and see what you can come up with.

Linked referenced in this episode:

Thanks for listening (and sorry for having some mic problems this week… New microphone ordered!)

REDtalks.live #28 – Jason Edelman of NetworkToCode.com

Today we’re joined by Jason Edelman, co-founder of awesome network automation training and services company networktocode.com, and co-author of the recently published O’Reilly book titled, “Network Programmability and Automation“.

As the subtitle states, this book is a reference tool aimed at developing “skills for the next-generation network engineer”. Joined by co-authors, Scott S. Lowe & Matt Oswalt, the book covers many great concepts, including one pushed heavily by the f5.com/super-netops training program (and one of my personal favorites), the importance of abstraction and templating.

Watch the episode here:

Thanks for joining us, Jason!

REDtalks.live #26: WWT on why Super-NetOps is different

Some great content from friends at World Wide Technology (WWT) explaining how the Super-NetOps Training Program differs from traditional infrastructure automation training.


“Its a very interesting and very exciting program”
– Mark Wall


 

In this podcast, live from the WWT Global Sales Conference in Las Vegas, Principle Solutions Architect, Joel King, and Practice Lead for Application Delivery, Mark Wall, explain what the Super-NetOps training program is all about and why its so important.

From the podcast
On the challenges organizations are facing, Mark Wall shares, “What it really boils down to is the infrastructure, the networking infrastructure, traditional IT Operations folks really have a very hard time keeping up with the development side of the organization.”

Wall continuous, “Theres a big gap in how the infrastructure side is able to deliver services that are required by the development organization. So, it almost boils down to ‘I can’t keep up‘, ‘I cant deliver those services fast enough‘ or ‘I don’t really understand how my piece, my networking component, my application delivery component, fits into the public cloud or into this automated process’ and there’s kind of a disconnect in there.”

“That skillset gap is something that all of our customers ask about, and they struggle with. Traditional network engineers don’t have the programming background. They don’t have the understanding of some of the technologies around different data structures.” adds Joel King, “How do I train those engineers to be able to have the skills that they need to do the type of automated deployments that Mark’s talking about. That’s a big key area for many of our customers is, what skills do I need, what training, what education do I need, and thats one of the things that the Super-NetOps program is trying to address. To enable those engineers with new skills to be able to be successful”.

WWT is supporting the Super-NetOps movement by putting together enterprise environments that support multiple technologies, beyond just F5’s BIG-IP, to help customers build end-to-end solutions.

Conclusion
As I stated in my DevOps Enterprise Summit talk last year, “Give me a Swiss Army Knife, and MacGyver I do not become”. So, its great to see Mark and Joel building upon the initial Super-NetOps program and adding huge value to their customers.

Enough from me! Make time to listen to this great podcast here: WWT on Super-NetOps

 

REDtalks.live #24: Becoming Super-NetOps: Day 1

If you’re right at the beginning of your Super-NetOps journey, then this article is for you!

A common question from our NetOps pals is, “How do you get started?” Well, let me take a stab at that in todays article. Before we begin, a few things to keep in mind.

  1. EVERYONE is starting from a different level. Focusing on who’s ahead of you in the learning path will only distract you from your success. This journey is about you. Go at YOUR pace.
  2. Making mistakes is good. Mistakes are evidence that you are learning new things and have the confidence in yourself to evolve. Learn more about a great culture for innovation from John Allspaw, here. <- A good one to share with the team!
  3. Beyond the tools and scripts, pay close attention to how you change your approach to troubleshooting and moving forward with a solution. Often overlooked, learning to automate without adopting and nurturing new practices and culture is almost pointless. Take the time to see how process changes and how you begin to look at challenges differently.

Ok, keeping these points in mind, here’s some new concepts to look into:

1. Understand RESTful interfaces

If this is your first time venturing away from the GUI/CLI, or maybe you just want a refresh, I recommend you watch this great REST API introduction video posted by WebConcepts. In this video you’ll see how you can communicate with popular on-line services including Facebook, Google Maps, and Instagram via their REST APIs:

 

2. Interact with a RESTful Interface

There are many tutorials on the internet that show how to communicate with a RESTful interface from a scripting language, like Python or Javascript. But what if you don’t know the scripting languages they refer to? Sometimes its best to avoid an overload of too many new concepts to learn at once.

For this very reason, I tend to direct people to the awesome, multi-platform REST client, POSTMAN: https://www.getpostman.com/

While their messaging does target ‘API Development teams’, its fantastic for API beginners, too. With POSTMAN installed, I recommend you watch the great tutorial “How to use the POSTAN API Response Viewer”:

 

Once you’ve worked through the basics, I recommend going through the POSTMAN video tutorials to learn some of the time-saving features you’ll come to depend on: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLM-7VG-sgbtCJYpjQfmLCcJZ6Yd74oytQ

3. Troubleshooting JSON

Now that you’ve had some interaction with a RESTful interface, you’ve probably had some experience with how a small error can break things. Fear not, while you’re on your path to becoming JSON-fluent there’s always the great on-line JSON validator, https://jsonlint.com/

Simply ‘paste’ your misbehaving JSON data into the text field and click ‘Validate JSON’. Below its showing me that I missed a comma on the end of the second line:

JSONLint_-_The_JSON_Validator

We’ll look at more data formats, like YAML, in future posts.

4. Conclusion

If you’ve worked through these exercises then congratulations is in order. You have already begun your journey towards becoming a Super-NetOps engineer! If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed with these concepts, there is no shame is working through them again from the beginning. Repetition builds expertise and being comfortable with change is all part of the journey!

Next in the series we’ll look at some more advanced POSTMAN features and then take what you’ve learned in POSTMAN and apply it to scripting languages.