Docker Swarm

in Operations

Docker Swarm is one of those interesting new technologies which has succeeded in shaking up people's preconceptions around what it means to run a scaleable cluster. In an environment where everyone seems to be building a cluster orchestrator, including some big names like Google's Kubernetes, HashiCorp's Nomad and Mesosphere's Marathon; Swarm has managed to burst through as one of the most attractive orchestration frameworks out there.

As a result of all this hype, it can be difficult to make a decision around whether Swarm is the right tool to use. As someone who has had extensive experience with running Swarm, Kubernetes, DC/OS (Marathon) and Rancher in production environments, I'll try to give you an unbiased view on the reasons you'd choose Swarm and some of the gotchas to be aware of.

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Until now, all of my work on websites has been done in HTML. Write HTML for this page, write HTML for that project and so on. HTML is one of those languages which anyone who considers themselves good with computers should know, but it also leaves a lot to be desired. In the latest version of our website, I decided to move to Markdown as our primary markup language for documents. Markdown is one of those languages which continues to grow more popular, especially on very tech-centric sites like StackOverflow and GitHub and yet if you talk to most people who are merely "good" with computers, they have never heard of it. Somewhat strange given that Markdown is designed to be an easier to use, easier to read, shorthand version of HTML for writing documents; but I guess that's just the way of things.

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Code Highlighting is one of those things which doesn't seem like a big deal, until you see what a difference it can make. The issue is that source code is inherently difficult to read due to the vast number of keywords and punctuation used by compilers to understand what we are trying to tell them to do. In an effort to combat this difficulty, we rely on two different tools.

The first, formatting, is probably the most important; it is the process of making code easier to read through added whitespace, often this whitespace makes no difference for a compiler but by adding newlines and tabs, humans are able to read it considerably more easily.

The second, highlighting, is the automated (or manual, if you're a masochist) process of colouring different parts of the source code to make it easier for humans to read. This involves colouring specific keywords in certain colours, maybe colouring variable names another etc.

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Static websites are synonomous with the dawn of the internet, before database servers became mainstream, before the advent of the CMS and long before the dawn of the web application. Over the years we've seen the advent of web development frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Express.js and MVC to name but a few. These frameworks include support for advanced templating engines, database backed page generation and custom routing, but is it really necessary to use such a framework when a static website might address all the same problems at a fraction of the cost.

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First off, I'm not a graphic designer by profession and haven't received any kind of training in the field - so don't take this as a tutorial on how to create your company's logo because in all likelihood I haven't got the faintest clue what I'm talking about. I am, however, a huge fan of learning to do new things; and in my case that generally involves mashing together a bunch of Google searches until I find some information that gets me on the way.

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Benjamin Pannell

Currently working to keep one of the world's biggest entertainment franchises available.


Site Reliability Engineer


Dublin, Ireland