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Habitat/Biome Census Viewer

I’ve been using Chef’s Habitat™ and the community distribution “Biome” for a while now. I love the systems, and the community. However, the tools surrounding its usage have not been developed much in the way of graphical systems to aid administration. Thats all changing! I’ve worked for a couple of months on a prototype/alpha administrative viewer for the Habitat/Biome. The census viewer comes in 2 parts: The primary web interface The census proxy The proxy is required to bypass CORS restrictions and permit the single page application (web interface) to connect without issues.

Introducing Groundskeeper

I’ve been doing fairly regular and extensive contributions to the Habitat core-plans repository over the last couple of years. Primarily keeping packages up to date, but also contributing new ones, and helping shape the structure and format of our approach to testing all packages, to ensure quality. One of the challenges with diverse management of open source software is keeping up to date with changes as they happen. There are a number of projects and sites around that track open source software and can provide notifications, but none offered up-to-the-second source based version information.

2019 Awesome Community Chef

Wow! This year during ChefConf 2019 I was awarded as an “Awesome Community Chef” by the Chef community! For the past 2 years or so, I’ve been putting in a lot of personal time and effort to contribute back to the Habitat project, by way of the central core-plans repository. From here, I’m able to help maintain, update, fix and strengthen software that is used by countless developers and operators around the world.

Nginx maps and geo

Nginx is a truly powerful, efficient, configurable web server. I’ve been using it for over 12 years. But for the longest time, I’ve been relying on simple configuration and basic rule sets to get by. While that’s no problem, I wanted to share what I have learned recently with map and geo usage in Nginx configuration. I feel the Nginx documentation is loosely sufficient, but could do with some more examples.

journalctl, goaccess and Habitat notes and guidance

You’ve got a modern server, its got systemd, journalctl, and you have Habitat supervisor running a Caddy webserver. What an amazing setup of great technology! Gluing these pieces together is easy, but I’ve found a couple of places where I wish documentation had been better. This post serves as a notice to myself and anyone else that is interested in how to get goaccess working in this new modern ecosystem.

Your first open source contribution

There is no completely correct or incorrect way to contribute to open source. As long as your motivations are in the interest of improving the project, or contributing good resources to the community, I recommend going for it! Contributions come in all shapes and sizes. Even if you’re fixing a small typo in documentation, or refactoring a large section of code, your contribution is valuable and helpful. Keep that in mind.

What happens when you submit a Habitat core-plans pull request?

Habitat’s core-plans is the central repository for packages/plans maintained by a group of volunteers. These plans form the basis of pretty much everything built with Habitat. From low level libraries and tools such as GCC, glibc, openssl to high level applications like Jenkins, Artifactory, and a whole range of others. The full list can be seen in the Github repository. Theres a bunch of things that happens behind the scenes of your pull request on the Habitat core-plans repository.

Easing into Habitat with binaries

I’ve posted a few times on the topic of Habitat. I feel its the most promising solution for software package management, and deployment available today. If I have managed to help sway you, and thus you’re interested in adopting Habitat, you may find yourself faced with a relatively daunting task. Migrating a working, functional system from one underlying layer to another is risky, potentially disruptive, and time consuming. All these reasons are why successful financial and enterprise businesses tend to have a slow rate of change.

Habitat configuration/wrapper plans

This post has been a long time coming. For about 2 years, configuration plans (Also known as wrapper plans) have been a critical part of how I use and deploy Habitat plans/artifacts in the wild. They’re a super easy way to encapsulate some required software and bundle your own configuration. For some reason, finding information about this approach has previously been difficult due to a lack of documentation. Here’s an example of configuration plans for Habitat.

3 levels of monitoring

Monitoring is easy. Monitoring is also very difficult. At what point do you stop adding checks to your service? And where can you start if you have none? My process is simple, but by no means the only way to assess and monitor your systems. Everyone has their own special requirements, environments and experience. This is how I break up service checks for a networked service hosting some application. Its worked well for me, but I’d love to hear how other people approach the same problem.