The Value of Synthetic Transactions for testing in a microservices environment

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Much has been made of what has become known as chaos engineering – the umbrella in which techniques such as Netflix’s famed chaos monkey (more here) resides. Collectively a set of techniques where parts of a system will be randomly or semi-randomly be disrupted in a manner reflecting component failure etc. to verify that system resilience holds true. As a strategy which could arguably be applied in a monolith world equally as it is typically used in a microservices context. The difference being the impact on a monolith will be potentially far greater. Regardless of monolith or microservice, this is typically a strategy when running at scale to confirm eveything is robust, and continues to be extremely robust. This kind of testing typically has to actually execute in a production environment as trying to simulate large scale systems is very difficult.

Alongside this, another form of testing/verification implemented in a production environment is the use of synthetic transactions. Whilst chaos engineering has a high profile, synthetic transactions are less so. But, as a strategy it is as equally important. Let me take you through why I say this, and the full potential of synthetic transactions if fully exploited.

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Oracle Podcasts – Beer & Pizza

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We have been fortunate enough to participate an ArchDev podcast about meetups – https://oracledevs.podbean.com/e/pizza-beer-and-dev-expertise-at-your-local-meet-up/

The podcast talks about the differences between the meet-ups and events such as conferences, what we try to get out of a meetup and the effort put into arranging them.

For more info about the meetup I help organise checkout out https://www.meetup.com/Oracle-Developer-Meetup-London/events/249256400/

We’d also like to thankyou Jurgen Kress and his team for all the behind the scenes work that means the London Dev Meetup events can happen and ensure all are suitable feed and watered.

Oracle Code London – Presentation & Periscope Interview

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Whilst in London Wednesday to present Microservices in a Monolith World at the Oracle Code London,  I also participated in an interview streamed via Periscope.  The interview can be seen at https://www.pscp.tv/w/1jMKgqBrwYyJL 

Not only was this interview captured, my entire presentation is available on YouTube …

Implementing Oracle API Platform Cloud Service

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After months of labour, the arrival of new family members for a couple of the authors the Implementing Oracle API Platform Cloud Service book as finally been published. The book has been included into Packt’s Expert series so, earns(?) the privilege of having photos of the authors on the cover.  The book can be purchased directly from Packt (go here) or from book retails such as Amazon (here).

 

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It has been an interesting experience. Whilst working as part of a team of four authors lightened the writing load, a lot more energy went into communication so things were lined up. If you want a challenge, why not read the book and try to work out who wrote which chapters!

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Documenting APIs on the Oracle API Platform

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The last week or two I have been working on a new API Platform utility to add to my existing tools (see here). This tool addresses the question of generating documentation.  Much as been said about API documentation and the quality of it, check out these articles :

If you look at these articles and others, there are some common themes, which are:

  • Document the URI / payload
  • Describe error handling
  • Describe contracts such as how many API calls
  • How the API is authenticated

Apiary covers the first theme to a first class standard,  and you will see Apiary called out for its ability to document APIs in a lot of articles. Well written API Blueprints will cover the bulk of the second bullet. But the other points tend to fall outside of a Blueprint and fit more the API Policies and their use.

Not everyone is so commited or enjoys writing documentation. The other driver for going beyond the use of Apiary is that some organizations feel the need to have a traditional word style document to capture/define an API’s contract in detail. With the API Platform the management portal enables an API to be published into the developer portal with the Apiary definition and a markdown file for further documentation.

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Praise for Microservice Patterns

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richardson-mp-meap-hiI’ve been reading Chris Richardson’s new book Mixroservice Patterns published by Manning (here or here). Whilst I haven’t finished the book yet, I have read enough to feel I can provide worthwhile observation.

The book is supported by Chris’ website microservices.io which provides the patterns and related content in summarised form – great for a memory jogger and quick reference, but doesn’t make a substitute for the book.

When it comes to the book, Chris’ writing is extremly engaging whilst economic with its language – no long passages when a short sentence can convey everything necessary (unlike this one for example 🙂 ). For example, in three short paragraphs is an explination as to why there is a tendancy for IT people to point at particular technologies or techniques as silver bullets. As a result is incredibly informative and points to sources that inform the thinking – such references can be as diverse as Sam Newman’s Building Microservices to the (real) architect Christopher Alexander and Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind).

The book is grounded in honest real world thinking being upfront and clearly pointing to when Microservices aren’t the right answer, to talking about the difficulties that can be expected in working with microservices. This won’t surprise anyone who has heard Chris speaking (here for example).

A recommended read.

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