All posts by Elana Krasner

What do you do when your monthly meetup attendance — usually around 20-30 people — all of a sudden jumps up to 100? Well, first you order a few more pizzas and a lot more beers. Then, you recruit a bunch of employees for some manual labor, start pushing desks out of the way, scramble for chairs, and hopefully end up with something like this:

That was the scene at Kenzan’s office in Rhode Island last week, and despite some last minute logistical hurdles, we couldn’t have been happier to see lots of new and familiar faces at our meetup. It’s a testament to the growing tech community in Providence, and we’re excited to be a part of it. As it continues to grow, Kenzan will also continue to be a resource for those looking to learn new skills and get hands-on with emerging technologies. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of what we learned during last week’s presentation.

Thursday night’s topic was on serverless architecture, and was presented by Marie Schmidt, a Kenzan developer based out of our Denver office.

Serverless is a popular topic right now, and for good reason. Serverless technology makes it easy to spin up a web API or event based computing tasks, with minimal server interaction and low cost. It allows developers to focus on writing code, while handing server management and provisioning to 3rd parties. At Kenzan, we have found serverless functions and APIs to be a growing part of our modern architecture and we wanted to share these findings with the community.

During our serverless hack night, we discussed the pros and cons of serverless functions, and what we’ve found to be their best applications. We then looked at the architecture of a serverless API built with AWS and demo’d a simple example: creating an API with two serverless methods called by an API gateway. We believe attendees learned some key applications of serverless technology, and a basic implementation knowledge using AWS services. View the presentation slides here and follow along with the demo on your own!

See below some resources we’ve found useful when diving in to serverless.

Building an Alexa Skill https://www.pluralsight.com/guides/node-js/amazon-alexa-skill-tutorial

AWS Developer Introduction to AWS Lambda (paid resource) https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/aws-developer-introduction-aws-lambda

Using the Serverless Framework with Node.js on AWS (paid resource) https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/aws-nodejs-serverless-framework-using

Lambda Deep Dive (Paid resource) https://linuxacademy.com/amazon-web-services/training/course/name/lambda-deep-dive

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Kenzan hosts monthly tech meetups, and for the very first time, we’re opening up the floor to presentations from the community for our December 7th meetup.  We’re looking for technical presentations in one of these categories: Progressive Webs Apps, Machine Learning, Native App Development and DevOps. If you’ve got an idea that doesn’t fit into those areas, we want to see that too.

Submit your idea by November 20th!

The front-end development landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years. The release of the latest EMCAScript specification in 2015 brought a new sense of maturity to JavaScript. It also introduced two key features: modules and classes. This has led to a proliferation of tools, libraries, and frameworks that have accelerated the development of front-end applications. But with so many great choices, how do you decide what’s best for your application and team?

In Kenzan’s latest series for Linux.com, we set out to answer that question. We examine in depth how a stack focusing on Yarn for package management, webpack for application bundling, and TypeScript for writing application source code can give developers and organizations the building blocks to write more maintainable and better optimized applications.

For the next few weeks, Linux.com will be rolling out the five-part series on their blog. The first part, posted today, gives you a short history lesson on JavaScript and delves into the core philosophies of front-end development. Throughout the rest of the series, you’ll learn more about the main components of our modern day front-end development stack. We’ll finish up with a case study of a working hello-world application that shows all the elements of the stack in action. By the end, we hope you’ll be able to take what you’ve learned and apply it to your own infrastructure.

Part 1: A Modern Front End Development Stack 
Part 2: Untangling Package Management in JavaScript Applications
Part 3: Faster Tied Together: Bundling Your App with webpack
Part 4: TypeScript: Our Type of JavaScript
Part 5: All Stacked Up: A Case Study

As with everything at Kenzan, this project wouldn’t have come to fruition without our incredibly talented team:

Co-writers and development

  • Marie Schmidt
    Front-End Developer
    Untangling Package Management in JavaScript Applications
  • Chris Pruyne
    Front-End Developer
    TypeScript: Our Type of JavaScript
  • Chris Joslyn
    Technical Architect
    Faster Tied Together: Bundling Your App with webpack

Development 

  • Paul Barry
  • Carlos Hernandez

Tech Writers

  • Ryan Daugherty
  • Mark Anthony

Leadership

  • Owen Buckley
  • Nick Wester
Read the first part of our series on Linux.com: Set Up a CI/CD Pipeline with Kubernetes.

What’s an eight letter word that starts with K and is the name of a powerful container orchestration tool?

If you just shouted out Kubernetes (or if you were curious about the answer), then you’re ready to tackle the Kenzan Kr8sswordz Puzzle.

The Kr8sswords Puzzle is a crossword puzzle app that runs in pods on Kubernetes. It takes advantage of a full CI/CD pipeline in Jenkins that also runs in a pod, automating the entire build-and-deploy process. And it includes a bunch of other cool components that we don’t want to spoil for you because it’s much more fun to boot up the app yourself and see the different pieces in action. (Okay, here’s a hint: React frontend, Etcd caching, and MongoDB persistence.)

Kenzan designed the app as a four part blog series that is launching on Linux.com today. Part 1 kicks things off by walking you through setting up a local Kubernetes development environment. Each weekly blog post will add components to show the Kr8sswordz Puzzle in action, how to spin up many pod instances for a load test, and how you can easily incorporate Kubernetes into a CI/CD pipeline.

The Kr8sswords Puzzle app was a lot of fun to pull together. We hope you have just as much fun  building it out as the blog series goes on.

Kenzan is a family, and we would like to give a shout out to the many folks that made the app and blog series possible:

Developers
Chad Moon, Platform Engineer
Sean Korten, Platform Lead Engineer
Evan Yeager, Technical Architect
Geiser Menoia, Back End Developer
Justin Tomlinson, Director of Engineering
Marie Schmidt, Front End Developer
Scott Pullano, Director of Engineering
Rona Kilmer, Director of Engineering

Tech Writers
Ryan Daugherty
Mark Anthony

Testers
Oscar Santamaria
Matthew Gardner
Ben Sawyer
PJ Pannoni
Robin Morrison
Matt Poirier

Leadership
Elana Krasner
Nick Wester
Craig Martin

Download our guide to continuous delivery with Spinnaker and Kubernetes.


The path to digital transformation is one that many companies, regardless of industry, are taking in order to bring products and services to market faster. As part of this transformation from traditional enterprise to modern software company, the role of IT is now a core part of business strategy with the responsibility of delivering software to users faster, safer and more efficiently.

Over the past few years, technology has evolved to enable this kind of delivery. The practice of continuous delivery has emerged as a way to enhance the ability of technical teams to deploy software to the end user faster, safer and more efficiently. Kenzan has paired two tools, Netflix’s Spinnaker as the preferred continuous delivery framework and Google’s Kubernetes as the preferred container management platform, in order to provide a continuous delivery solution that can support any enterprise that is pursuing digital transformation. 

Download our guide to continuous delivery

JavaScript still reigns as king for many developers. In Stack Overflow’s recent survey of 64,000 developers across the globe, JavaScript came out on top for the fifth year in a row as the most common programming language.

But with so many tools, libraries and frameworks in the Javascript ecosystem, how does a developer make sense of it all?

Kenzan’s director of engineering, Owen Buckley, shared his insight into the world of JavaScript during one of Kenzan’s latest tech meetups in Providence, Rhode Island. Owen cover’s some important aspects including language & specification, libraries & frameworks, and development & tooling.

If you didn’t get a chance to hear it live, check out the recording below:

Visit our meetup page to RSVP for Kenzan’s next meetup! 

Just a few weeks ago, ahead of their Spring One Conference, Pivotal launched the Partner Ready Program, designed to help businesses accelerate their digital transformation into the cloud. Kenzan is proud to have been named as an Advanced Partner in support of the Pivotal Cloud Foundry. As partners, some of our developers were given access to a deep well of knowledge around the cloud foundry as they work to understand all its capabilities.

Nicholas Eden-Walker, a Technical Architect based in our Rhode Island office was part of Pivotal’s partner immersion training where he learned what you can do with the enterprise-grade cloud foundry.

Lucky for us, he shared a little bit of what he learned in one of Kenzan’s weekly lunch & learns. We’re paying it forward by sharing his presentation below:

 

As we enter a new era in the Internet of Things, millions of devices are sending out streams of data. Analyzing this data can be a huge undertaking, but by combining AWS services, one can create a scalable dashboard. 

We hosted another Lunch and Learn a few weeks ago, where Nicholas Sledgianowski and Charles Palczak gave an overview and demo, which you can find below. 

In order to create innovative, scalable and intelligent solutions for our clients, Kenzan believes that continued development is crucial. Learning from fellow Kenzanites is just way that our employees gain new skills, so each week we host a lunch and learn, for employees across all four of our offices to join in. 

Stay tuned for more videos from our Lunch & Learns.