Ship Serverless Functions to your Docker Swarm with OpenFaaS

Open Functions as a Service or OpenFaaS (lead by Alex Ellis) is a really neat way of implementing serverless functions with Docker. You can build out functions in any programming language and then deploy them to your existing Docker Swarm. In this post we'll look at an experimental CLI for making that even easier Below is a quick example of how easy this is to do. How it works This diagram gives an overview of how the OpenFaaS function package, the Docker image, and the faas-cli deploy command fit together. To deploy a function onto an OpenFaaS stack, you firstly must write the function itself. This is really easy and you can do it in any language which runs inside continue...

My programming story... so far

Early days When I was 12, I was given a Raspberry Pi. For the first couple of days, it was really fun. After I had browsed the web for a while and played a bit of Minecraft, it sat in it's box for a few months. I really had no idea what to do with it. That was until I discovered that I could build a website with it. Wow, that was cool. I installed Apache and spent some time finding out where I needed to put the code. I started off getting to grips with HTML in nano (using inline styling, of course) until I realised I could write CSS in separate files and load them in. That was continue...

Dockering with cardboard

Although the PiGlow visualisation of CPU usage was pretty, we reckoned we could go a couple of steps further and integrate a much more complete tangible solution - a hardware-driven load monitor dashboard. Made of cardboard. This was to be driven by two high torque servos (Ben had them lying around) which would rotate according to whichever performance indicator we chose. Servos are not, of course, very good pointers so with a trusty craft knife to the fore we re-purposed some Pi packaging into a cardboard user interface. On the code side, we particularly wanted to monitor the load across the entire cluster so we ended up writing our own Python HTTP API with Flask and copied client scripts over continue...

RStudio Server

My father, Ben Anderson plays with numbers. As his Twitter bio says "big data, small data, open data, any data". He works with R a lot and has been persuading me to take a look at it. I've held off until now because I'm all for analysing data in real time (primarily using delightful JS libraries such as Chart.js and D3.js). As far as I understood it, R is geared towards static data analysis and because of that, is able to utilise the hardware it runs on to optimise computations. Dad has an SSD in his Mac which reduces the time to load data substantially, but he also makes use of the R package data.table. This library continue...

Announcing a brand new app - Healthy!

Note: Healthy was launched about 5 months ago but I've only just got around to writing this post. On Nov 3, 2015, SubjectRefresh spent a day in London at the annual Open Data Institute Summit, where we gave two presentations on our Young Rewired State Festival of Code 2015 Refresh app. We were also challenged to create an application using open data that gets people to eat healthier. We came up with Healthy, a calculator that tells you "the time to burn" of a particular food. It's built on top of Node.js and uses Socket.io to communicate with the browser in real time. This means no page refreshing, no Ajax calls and no latency. We use an API continue...

Refresh - a revision tool with a difference!

During the YRS Festival of Code 2015, "SubjectRefresh" and I created a revision app called Refresh. It's built using Node.js and works by scraping the exam board website (currently only CIE) for the PDF for the syllabus the user has requested. The PDF is then converted to HTML using a PDF to HTML converter and is then shunted through Node's Cheerio library. We then find out where the relevant information in the HTML is and send that off to TextRazor. We then use the information about the text that TextRazor gives us to construct questions to ask the user. These are in gap fill format because keywords are removed. The reason we did this is because the answers are continue...

Real time PHP applications

I admit it, I've started writing all of my new projects in Node.js. Why? Because most of them are lightweight and I want them to be real time. PHP can be a real pain when it comes to doing anything remotely real time. First off, it's designed to execute as quickly as possible and send a response to the client, which is of course good. However, what is bad about that is that it doesn't stay alive - it does its stuff and then dies. Node.js on the other hand runs in a single process, which stays running all the time. This is perfect for real time applications because you can fire off an event to Node.js continue...

The Pi-Powered Hamster Hunter Part 4: Reflections

Reflections At the end of our project our initial objectives had now been added to and matured through the development process. Objectives at the start The objective of this project was to build an all terrain vehicle which could be used for various applications and controlled from anywhere in the world. We wanted it to be operational in all circumstances, which meant being able to operate in low light/pitch dark conditions and being able to traverse all terrain. It was essential for the user to be able to see from the ReCoRVVA’s point of view in real time. We also wanted the ReCoRVVA to be able to sense when it was about to crash and automatically stop to continue...

The Pi-Powered Hamster Hunter Part 3: Putting it all together

Assembling the components The first prototypes we put together used an Arduino, and it was with these first prototypes that we had many problems with the motors. The first thing we tried was to run each motor from one of the Arduino’s digital pins. They were 5v motors, and the digital pins on the Arduino supplied 5v each, so we assumed the motors would run. We wrote then uploaded a simple drive script to the Arduino. However, the motors didn’t turn. We debugged the code and found no errors, we checked the pins were supplying voltage and yet the motors still didn’t turn. Eventually, we realised that there was a limit on the amount of current able continue...

The Pi-Powered Hamster Hunter Part 2: Tech development

Technical development Hardware Core controller This was to be the brains of the ReCoRVVA. Its task was to control all the peripherals on the ReCoRVVA, to manage all communications with the client and, by extension, the user. It needed to be capable of handling multiple tasks at once and be able to use multiple electrical inputs/outputs to control the physical aspects of the ReCoRVVA. It also needed to be customisable, so that we could quickly and easily change things, e.g. software or, if we had a accident, interchangeable controllers. It needed to be able to support the data inflows/outflows shown in figures 4 and 5. Arduino The first option we explored was to use an Arduino (a continue...