Elixir in the Trenches

By on in Development, Elixir

At Carbon Five, we’ve been getting excited about Elixir and Phoenix – with its promise of the productivity of Ruby and Rails without the performance penalty. We’ve used it for a few of our internal projects with great success, but we’re always wary of any new technology’s hype cycle. We wanted a bit more experience working with Elixir on a real project.

We recently had the opportunity to do so. The project was an iOS application that made heavy use of the device’s location services; users can share where they are and what they’re doing. We needed a backend for an API, and to keep all connected clients up-to-date. From the start, Phoenix and its channels seemed like a great fit. Today, we’d like to share some of what we learned.

Continue reading …


Services and Serverless – Carbon Five LA Talk Night August 17th

By on in Announcements, Development, Docker, Events, Los Angeles, Microservices, Ops

The micro-services push is on with developers writing simpler applications that interact with each other. But how do you deploy these services? Manage versions and discoverability? Learn two approaches from our August 17th Talk Night speakers as they cover using Docker or going completely server-less with Amazon Web Services’ Lambda!

First we’ll have Samuel Chow, Head of Mobile at Farmers Insurance, give an “Intro to Docker”:

Docker has become one of the hottest technologies in the industry. But what is Docker? Why do developers love it and why might you want to use it? We will cover how it works and introduce the Docker terminology and toolset.

Then Grindr’s Principal Applications Engineer Tom Bray walks us through “Going Serverless with AWS Lambda”:

Microservices got you down? Come learn how to implement Serverless architectures with AWS Lambda and API Gateway from someone who has done it in the real world. Get a glimpse of life beyond the operational overhead that Microservices require and discover the benefits of Serverless. Decrease time to market, reduce operational cost, and let AWS Lambda handle scaling for you automatically while you only pay for the compute you use.

Our doors will open at 6pm with pizza, drinks (including non-alcoholic options), and of course wi-fi provided. The talks will kick-off at 7pm, with Q&A interspersed throughout.

So sign up on Meetup and get ready to get some macro-knowledge on building micro-services!


DIY Pokemon Go: Our Experience Building an Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt

By on in C5 Labs, Development, Everything Else

 

Thanks to PokemonGO, the streets are filled with people racing around cities, stopping to interact with virtual characters they could see through their phone camera. The experience is familiar to us at Carbon Five; 6 months ago we were doing the same thing on the streets of San Francisco playing our own augmented reality game. A game our tiny, three person team conceived, built and delivered in under a month, in and around our regular client workload!

This was no simple feat. In addition to the tight timeline, most of our day to day work focuses on mobile and web applications. Working in 3D was something only some of us have tried, with little practical experience.

So how did we do it?

Continue reading …


C5 Labs: Daily Ascent

By on in C5 Labs, Design, Development

There is plenty of research to show that taking stairs is one of the best ways to work out without taking time out to exercise. Taking the elevator wastes electricity, and the stairs are a great opportunity to improve overall health. With this in mind, we wanted to encourage people to start thinking about using the stairs over elevators.

Though there are lots of great social health tracking apps out there, we wanted to try using wellness as an excuse to build community around a physical location (the Edney building staircase).

Continue reading …


Special Processes in OTP

By on in Development, Elixir

On a recent Elixir project, I needed to test some asynchronous behaviour. Doing so led me to learn about the basics of special processes in OTP.

Our project was using Phoenix Channels and had a need to keep track of all connected socket processes. We could have used the upcoming Phoenix presence feature, but we didn’t quite need all of its features. We settled on using a simple GenServer process that would monitor each connected socket.

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The 10 Practices of Healthy Engineering Teams – Part 2

By on in Culture, Development, Process, Startups

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced a high-performing engineering team at SuperStartupCorp that had automated repetitive tasks, codified its engineering practices, and adopted a learning mindset, resulting in happy engineers and happy stakeholders. Read on to learn more traits and practices that make this team so successful, and how they keep their bus factor high. (If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can head on over to Part 3).

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Carbon Five & Heroku

By on in Development, golang, Java

 

Check out the latest Heroku case study, featuring Carbon Five.

The article explains how we build 35+ Apps a year and use Heroku for 90% of our software projects for wide range of clients. Courtney, Erik, and David share their thoughts on the platform’s support for rapid deployment, language flexibility, and ease of use.

Find out more here.

 


Dr. Smarty or How I learned to stop worrying and love the bot?

By on in Culture, Development, Everything Else

 

Twice a year, all of the Carbon Five offices congregate for our company-wide Summit. One of the funnest parts of these all company trips is the Codeo, which we have been running for the last few years and they have become an integral part of our DNA.

For those that don’t know, our Codeo (short for “Code Rodeo”) is a 2-day internal hackathon. The goal of the Codeo is to have fun creating a product with people you haven’t had a chance to work with in a while (or maybe ever).

The teams are made up of mixture of office locations and cross-functional groups so that everyone has a different role to play (developers, designers, product manager, and operations). The focus of this Codeo was “Slackbots” with the overall goal to create something that helps out our co-workers and/or Carbon Five as a whole. The only rule was to use an existing internal Slack channel as inspiration for the project.

Here is a snapshot of each team’s Slackbot, as told by the team. Continue reading …


Elixir and Phoenix: The Future of Web APIs and Apps?

By on in Development, Elixir

Buzz has been building up around Elixir (and Phoenix) in the development community over the last year. We’re pretty excited about them too and want to share the reasons why they’ve piqued our interest and what we’ve learned so far.

We decided to kick the tires by rewriting one of our in-house web applications using Elixir and Phoenix so that we could answer the questions that are most front of mind:

  • How productive is the stack?
  • Are there any emergent benefits?
  • Are there any significant gotchas?
  • What are the performance characteristics?
  • What’s the community like?

Continue reading …