Hack to the Future: A Recap

This page summarizes the projects mentioned and recommended in the original post on dev.to

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  • livebook

    Interactive and collaborative code notebooks for Elixir - built with Phoenix LiveView

    Our resident Elixir SME, Guy Argo, worked with livebook (similar to Jupyter notebooks) to allow dynamic exploration of Lob’s Address Verification API. Or in other words, created animated maps that you could interact with; the example was following a car across town. A future application of this at Lob could include tracing the journey of a mailpiece as it makes its way from printer to mailbox. (Or tracking the Delorean as it travels back in time?)

  • Nomad

    Nomad is an easy-to-use, flexible, and performant workload orchestrator that can deploy a mix of microservice, batch, containerized, and non-containerized applications. Nomad is easy to operate and scale and has native Consul and Vault integrations.

    In a previous hackathon, data analyst Chris Migirdic built an IDE where you present your own time series data/problem, and a layer could be provided over it to make time-series predictions. This iteration was quickly dubbed “BYOSQL,” or Bring Your Own SQL, by participants as he explained one could write any SQL query against Lob’s data warehouse, and you'd be able to fit a time series model over that. The most obvious application for Lob is evaluating mailpiece data. Another improvement over the previous version was performance; much of this was attributed to a shift to deployment in Nomad. Finally, another benefit of the program is to pick up what kinds of queries people are running and get an idea of what prediction problems our developers are trying to solve.

  • Appwrite

    Appwrite - The Open Source Firebase alternative introduces iOS support . Appwrite is an open source backend server that helps you build native iOS applications much faster with realtime APIs for authentication, databases, files storage, cloud functions and much more!

  • spec

    The AsyncAPI specification allows you to create machine-readable definitions of your asynchronous APIs. (by asyncapi)

    Gabriel Gore, Sachin Muralidhara, and Sean McGovern taught us a little more about AsyncAPI , an open-source specification for event-driven architectures (EDA). It defines interfaces for Async APIs, similar to what OpenAPI or Swagger does for RESTful services. You can automate and formalize docs, you can generate code, you can validate schemas for event-driven microservices, and it's compatible with OpenAPI for a lot of use cases. (If you have an existing code base with Open API schemas in it, you may be able to port those over to AsyncAPI; here’s a nifty comparison chart.)

  • Redis

    Redis is an in-memory database that persists on disk. The data model is key-value, but many different kind of values are supported: Strings, Lists, Sets, Sorted Sets, Hashes, Streams, HyperLogLogs, Bitmaps.

    Ken Pflum, an engineer who works with our print partners, has been frustrated by the number of alerts coming in as many of them require manual intervention—and he had a suspicion that wasn’t always necessary. Thus the birth of the Automat, which is in essence, a webhook handler and runbook automator (tools/technology utilized included Datadog and open-source Redis). Upon alert, a webhook gets sent into the service, which can then trigger a designated workflow. For the proof of concept, the example was to automatically send an email to the partner from the alert. A small step, but definitely one in the right direction since that is a manual process right now. (Besides, it could be dangerous to move too fast. “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you're gonna see some serious sh*t.”)

  • hello-express

    A simple Node app built on Express, instantly up and running.

    The Address Verification team at Lob has found themselves answering some of the same questions over and over again in our internal Slack channel, asked by the team at large, and most often the on-call engineers. With arguably one of the best team names—FAQ to the Future—engineering manager Sherman Gore built a Slack bot to solve this problem. Built in Node.js and hosted by Glitch, the bot will answer the question and supply supporting documentation.

NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a more popular project.

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