Greenfield Projects: Seven Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success

By on in Development, Process

A developer’s perspective on building teams that build from scratch

There’s a story I once heard about a traveler and his party who peer out across an abandoned minefield to a site of buried treasure. There is no detour that will take them around it — they can cross together or separately, and they can go straight or around in circles. While they can deliberate over a plan, the sun is setting and they need to make a decision soon. What do they do?

That grassy field could represent opportunity — the path to success, riches, or adventure. Or it could be the opposite. A series of pitfalls disguised as freedom. Does this sound familiar? Does the term greenfield project ring any bells?

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Story Nanoslicing

By on in Development

It’s the start of a new project for our team, and we’re all excited to get development rolling. The Product Owner’s grand vision sounds great, but how do we get from that vision to the day-to-day detailed stories we’ll need to work on? We’re not about to go off into a cave to build in isolation for months, since we know our understanding of the problem will evolve over time. We want to get a Minimally Viable Product live, see what makes customers happy, and adjust the parts that aren’t satisfying or profitable.

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Creating Successful Online Banking Products – Agile Growth Workshop Recap

By on in Development, Events

Banking and financial institutions are rapidly working on digitizing products to stay relevant and better serve customers, but, the truth is, modernizing banking experiences is incredibly difficult. A digital project in the banking world is nothing short of an order of magnitude. The requirements behind developing successful banking products are staggering compared to the average consumer product, but the high ROI of launching a successful banking app makes it all worth the effort.

Carbon Five hosted a panel discussion on Expert Insights for Creating Successful Online Banking Products. During the conversation, panelists shared first-hand experiences working with some of the most well-known banking and FinTech brands, including Capital One, Citi Ventures Studios, Chime, Commerce Bank, FNBO, Plastiq, Square, Wells Fargo and more.

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A Tale of Two GitHubs: A Practical Guide

By on in Development

Let’s say you have two GitHub accounts: one is a work account that you use for professional projects, and the other is for your top secret hacker projects. This can cause problems like trying to push to a repository with an account that doesn’t have access or having the wrong GitHub author in your commits. For people with 2FA enabled, juggling ssh configs can also be hugely annoying. Here’s how I clone, pull, and push to GitHub repos using multiple GitHub accounts on one computer.

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It’s Never Been Better to Get Started with Cypress Web Tests

By on in Development, JavaScript

If your project could at all be described as a web application, your UX pipeline would likely benefit from adopting Cypress. Beating out Selenium on speed as well as breadth of testing tools, Cypress provides automated testing of your website’s critical features in a matter of minutes.

A testing framework built on top of many familiar techs — Mocha, JQuery, Chai — Cypress can be a frustrating product because, though it looks familiar, it behaves in unfamiliar ways. But its powerful tooling means mastering this framework is well worth the effort.

Here are the most important things to know as you dive into Cypress.

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How to Deploy Elixir Releases with Ansible

By on in Development, Elixir, Ops

In my last post, I described how to generate a platform-specific Elixir release. Now, the only thing left to do is to put it on the world wide web.

To follow along with this post, you’ll need a few things:

  1. An IP address for a remote machine (preferably running Linux) you want to deploy your application to.
  2. An RSA keypair, with the public key placed on that remote machine. Read more about how to do this here.
  3. Ansible (on your local machine). Read more about Ansible here.

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Reflections in Go, for Cats

By on in Development, golang

Several months ago, I had a story requiring metaprogramming in golang. I wasn’t very familiar with reflections in Go, and the available docs and write-ups aren’t the best for me, since I’m a learn-by-example kind of person. Having come to Go (ha) as a Rubyist, the lack of generics left a little bit of a hole in my heart, but a stiff upper lip, I pressed on and learned about reflections. Since I had to write my own examples anyway, it made sense to clean this up and turn it into a blog.

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Authorization and Authentication in GraphQL

By on in Development


GraphQL is growing in popularity because it allows applications to request only the data they need using a strongly-typed, self-documenting query structure that enables an API to deliver data that can evolve over time.

Unlike traditional REST APIs, GraphQL exposes a single endpoint to query and mutate data. Upon learning this, one of the first questions that comes up for many developers is: “How do I implement authorization and authentication in GraphQL?”

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Writing ZSH Themes: A Quickref

By on in Development

Customizing your terminal is a fun way to streamline and personalize your digital workspace. People are more productive when using tools they enjoy and tend to value things they made themselves at a premium, but, as with all technical adventures, it can also be a little tedious to track down all the relevant documentation. This tutorial assumes you’re using zsh as your terminal shell. If you’re not sure what shell you’re using, the following will print the default shell path:

$ echo $SHELL

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Cross-Platform Elixir Releases with Docker

By on in Development, Docker

Deployment, despite being an essential task, can be a confusing part of shipping an application. Depending on your stack, there could be a plethora of tools out there or… none at all. Unfortunately, Elixir falls into the latter bucket. Despite having a heart of gold, the language is still obscure, and that makes the process of deployment a tiny bit harder.

Addressing this problem may have been the reason for incorporating releases into version 1.9 of the language. Since the version bump, Elixir Releases have received the official blessing of the core language team. That means that deployment will finally be a piece of cake… right? There’s a caveat. While releases are meant to be self-contained executables, they still call out to native system libraries to do things like open TCP sockets and write to files. That means that the native libraries referenced at compile time need to be exactly the same as the ones on your target machine. Unless you can guarantee that your workstation and cloud are exactly the same, releases can seem like only half the promise of a stress-free deployment.

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