Fergus In London

The musings of a man with a keyboard and an internet connection.

You should probably learn how Git works.

2018-07-17 8 min read Fergus
Imagine a carpenter who couldn’t use a chisel, or a plumber who didn’t understand piping. A pretty ludicrous thought, right? After all, those are key parts of the job. In a rather familiar story though, Software Development breaks the norms.. Strap yourselves in, this could be a long one. One of the most vital tools in a Developer’s toolkit is source control, and in much (most?) of the industry this means Git. Continue reading

Road to Recovery: A healthy body is a healthy mind.

2018-06-04 4 min read Fergus
I’ve recently shared my own battles with mental illness, and I also set the scene of a transformative journey that was just beginning. As a progression, I’d like to share some of the techniques and tools I’ve been utilising as I traverse that journey. Today I’d like to share with you some of the physical changes I’ve made. It’s common knowledge that a healthy body enables a healthy mind, and the effect that exercise has on mental health is well documented. Continue reading

Docker multi-stage builds are awesome.

2018-05-23 3 min read Fergus
I have a new found love of Docker; despite my early frustrations with CoreOS (as it was) in 2015, I have come to love the simplicity and encapsulation that containers provide. Run a single command and whoosh - you now have a completely functional unit that runs whichever package you require, and it’s nice and isolated too: awesome! In contrast though, I have no love for build processes: you’re always one step away from dependency hell, small environmental issues can prove to be show-stoppers, and you end up polluting your development or build environment with various tools and libraries. Continue reading

Mental Health Awareness Week: A chance to share.

2018-05-15 7 min read Fergus
I recently logged in to Twitter for the first time in 10 weeks, and in a weird twist of fate I saw “#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek” trending; this has prompted me to finally post something that’s been sitting in my drafts for a couple of weeks. If this helps just one person realise that help is available, and that things can improve, then it will have been worth it. Beware though, this may be a long one, and it’s also a bit of a tough one. Continue reading

Utilising the Docker Engine API

2018-04-29 3 min read Fergus
Docker has cemented itself as a mainstream technology, not only for the development and deployment of web services, but also the isolation of Linux applications that need to be ran in a controlled or sandboxed environment. Whilst the docker CLI is brilliant, it can be difficult to expose this to custom utilities, or to present it’s output in a user friendly way - such as the way that Docker Swarm Visualizer does. Continue reading

Add some style to your code

2018-04-25 3 min read Fergus
If there’s one thing developers are renowned for, it’s arguing over the style of their code. The drama inspired by topics such as “tabs or spaces” or “should brackets go on their own line?” is second only to that timless classic of a question - “vim or emacs?”. Beyond the message board arguments and the workplace debates, there exists a very real issue though: write in a poor style and it becomes difficult to read and understand, whilst writing in an inconsistent style simply looks lazy and rushed. Continue reading

Having a spring clean, and "washing" my Github account

2018-04-18 5 min read Fergus
I’ve been “active” on Github for about 5 years; and whilst that doesn’t mean I’ve been commiting code daily, nor have I been using their more social features, it does mean I’ve built up quite the collection of.. well, pretty awkward and embarassing code. Over the past couple of months I’ve tried to streamline a lot of my online presence: I have this blog for technical topics, whilst I have musings. Continue reading

Finding Balance in the Quest for Privacy

2018-04-16 3 min read Fergus
Privacy is incredibly important to me. It’s what stops bad guys from being able to commit identity fraud. It’s what stops dictatorships from eliminating dissent, and allows whistleblowers to stand against corruption. It’s the concept that allows people to live a life free of persecution for their religions, their sexualities, or even their literary preferences. Alas, there’s a murkier side to privacy; the side that allows the bad guys to do their thing, the one that covers up horrific abuses, and cloaks abhorrent plots to disrupt, kill and maim. Continue reading

Stop with the one function Javascript "libraries", please.

2018-04-12 4 min read Fergus
I get it: you need some CV-filler. The job market is competitive, and getting your name out there is important, but can you not do it by publishing 5 line npm modules, please? You’re actively harming the Javascript ecosystem. Enter the Reddit discussion “When a modulus call is published as a NodeJS package with millions of downloads a day”, and the story of one particular character who has published a number of one-function NPM modules. Continue reading

When "Design Patterns" become "Anti-patterns"

2018-04-07 4 min read Fergus
As a software engineer, learning about design patterns was a kind of “Eureka” moment. It was the moment where I finally began to look at architectural issues, and how to structure a piece of software. I began to think of software as more of a mechanical system, one where different entities and objects could be thought of as cogs, each interacting with eachother to perform a larger task - i. Continue reading
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