Programming and stuff

I took my first holiday in 4 years, and you’ll never guess what happened next…

still didn’t have a tan.

Okay, so, although that may not be too far from the truth, it’s not what this blog entry is about. It’s also not about clickbait titles, surprisingly.

To give you some background, my most recent “proper” holiday was a week in Olu Deniz, Turkey in 2013. Since then I’ve of course used my annual leave from work each year but it’s always either been for menial tasks such as moving house/car maintenance or just “taking a week to chill”. I always thought that taking any form of time off work is good enough to feel refreshed, and to be completely honest I did come back from those breaks feeling a little bit fresher, but this holiday was completely different.

So my last day at work was a Wednesday and I flew out to Malaga Airport from Birmingham International Airport at 6am on the Thursday – yes, this meant getting up at 2am, making my way to the airport and having the obligatory Wetherspoons breakfast (and 4 cups of coffee – or was it 5?). The flight out went as well as I could have hoped –  minus the pilot forgetting where his brakes were until the last second – and the transfer/check-in was perfectly pleasant just as you’d expect from Thomson (now TUI).

We stayed in Hotel Polynesia in Costa del Sol, which is a lovely (and huge!) hotel and the staff were fantastic. The food was as-expected in All Inclusive, perfectly palatable and some of the dishes I actually really enjoyed (guys, you still need to send me that recipe for the amazing pepper sauce a few of the dishes were submerged in). I mean, I can’t complain about the food too much, I came back around a stone heavier so it can’t have been that bad! The facilities were great, the pool was great, the drinks were great. It was all.. well.. great!

The weather was a bit hit and miss, as you’d expect for mid-to-late October, but we got a few days of absolutely baking (yet still tolerable) sunshine, a few overcast days and a couple of dreary, rainy days. The weather didn’t matter though, I was completely disconnected from the outside world, my emails were disabled, my Twitter went untouched, and I was having the time of my life.

I flew back to the UK on the following Thursday – thankfully this flight was at 10:50am so no stupidly early mornings – and the flight went just as well as the outbound flight and we landed safe and sound. After 20-or-so-minutes we got through Border Control, collected our bags and jumped on a bus back to my parents house where I’d left my car for security reasons. I felt good, I was refreshed, I was ready to take on the challenges that life has been throwing me.

The real surprise, though, came on the Saturday daytime. I couldn’t stop thinking about work, about all the exciting stuff I was going to work on when I got back to the office, about all the things I had to catch up with, so I did something crazy… I went into work on a Saturday evening. I caught up with everything I needed to catch up on, I wrote code, I did everything I used to love doing which had gotten a little, well, boring.

This week has been exactly the same. Between house-hunting and all the personal stuff I have to deal with currently, I’ve been destroying every challenge within my sights and I’ve loved every second of it. Even stupid things like replying to clients I’ve actually enjoyed. I’m me again, and I’m ready to take on anything this world can throw at me.

But, in the meantime, time to book for next year. Cyprus, maybe?

I deployed Docker into PRODUCTION?!

Yep, it took me over five (yes FIVE) working days and a couple of evenings to get it to a point where deployments are automated, but I got there, and even though I lost so many valuable hours of my life, my love affair with Docker continues.

My introduction to Docker was a strange one really, I’d heard about it everywhere (as has anyone in the tech community) and had used it very very briefly through Docker Compose in a project I’ve tinkered with, but I’d never really looked into it because, well, it scared the living daylights out of me. We’d taken on a project at work that was beautifully suited to Docker – it had to be distributed and deployed into a vast amount (maybe hundreds!) of different environments, so Docker was the way forward.

I started out by purchasing Chris Fidao’s absolutely brilliant Shipping Docker course (which I would very highly recommend to anyone), which took my understanding of Docker to a whole new level. I finally knew the difference between Docker, Docker Compose and Docker Machine and although my brain hurt a little bit, this was definitely the start of a love affair. I’d gotten it working in Development a good few months ago by following the first few modules of the Shipping Docker course and all was well – until it became time to get a staging environment and some continuous integration set up… 😫

So I dealt with this the same way I’d dealt with every hurdle up to this point – I opened up Shipping Docker, found an episode that did something similar to what I wanted to do, copied and pasted the code and then altered and played with it until everything slotted together nicely. This took a lot of trial and error, lots of “I want to go back to git pull && sudo service nginx reload” but I got there in the end, and I’ll tell you what, being able to click Build in Jenkins, have it run all of my unit tests, compile my assets, build a new production-ready Docker image, push it up to AWS ECR (in place of Docker Hub, as we’re already using AWS) and pull it down on a staging server was one of the highlights of my career so far.

It took me a long time, uses a couple of (probably wonky) bash to do some of the dirty work, but I am immensely proud of it and Docker is now a core part of my tooling…


…wait, what do you mean by “Kubernetes”?!


Hello, world!

…and welcome to the all-new, shiny, bug-free (probably – I haven’t learnt how to unit test WordPress yet) StrictlyTyped blog!

The purpose of this blog is to share my stories, ideas, complaints and learnings both within and outside of tech.

To give you a brief introduction to who I am, my name’s Josh and I’m a 20-something Software Developer who’s totally and utterly in love with Laravel (okay except maybe Facades, but we’ll leave that delicate topic to another day). I currently find myself writing the majority of my day-to-day code at a small, yet fantastic (not biased at all), agency in the West Midlands called Kalexiko. You should totally hit them up if you need any website magic – again, I’m not at all biased. 👀

In the short term you can find me (or tell me how service location is a perfectly fine paradigm) on Twitter @joshbrw, where I share any 140-character* ramblings I may have. You can also drop me your favourite animated gifs (or gifs) over email at [email protected]. My aim for now is to keep StrictlyTyped up to date as often as possible, and we’ll see where the future takes us!

* or 280 character…?