Posts from May 2016

Jenkins plugins allow you to extend the Jenkins build system to do almost anything. Jenkins in Italian? . Replace Jenkins with Chuck Norris? You bet. Almost every feature used in building code on Jenkins is a plugin – in fact, even things like LDAP logins can be handled through the Jenkins plugin system. However, Jenkin’s near-limitless customization is also its drawback: with so much possibility, there is also an inherent complexity.

Jenkins plugins work by creating or extending an extension point, which hooks into a specific part of the build process. The catch: these extension points can differ significantly in what they do and how they work. In this post I specifically talk about implementing a Notifier plugin, as it showcases how you can use multiple extension points in a singular plugin while not being significantly more complex than the HelloWorldBuilder plugin described in the official Jenkins plugin tutorial.

Jenkins Plugins Read More …

At Hootsuite, RxJava and RxAndroid are some of the core libraries we use when building apps for Android. They provide us with a powerful API for writing beautiful and functional asynchronous code. However, the asynchronicity that these libraries provide can also make it more difficult to write unit tests. Many common ways of testing asynchronous code like thread sleeps or using a CountDownLatch are inconsistent and messy, especially when applied to RxJava. In order to avoid these problems, we must look deeper into the RxJava API.

There are two main components to test independently in an asynchronous system: the process submission and the process execution. In RxJava this means that we must test both creation of Observables and the execution of Subscribers. Fortunately, RxJava (and RxAndroid) come with several tools to make this easier.

rxjava and junit Read More …

Terraform is a tool developed by HashiCorp that allows you to build your infrastructure using code. At Hootsuite, we are using Terraform to build new infrastructure in an auditable and maintainable way.

Terraform makes spinning up infrastructure less painful and making changes less scary. By describing infrastructure as code, spinning a new server turns into submitting a pull request and rolling back to a previous state of infrastructure becomes as easy as reverting a commit. Terraform is not limited to AWS, it can provision a whole suite of AWS products and can integrate with a growing list of providers including Digital Ocean, OpenStack and more.

Using Terraform as a systems developer is a good start for remodelling your infrastructure as code. However, to really scale you need to be able to have multiple people work on your terraform stacks. This problem is solved by Terraform’s remote state. Remote state allows you to store the state file for a stack in some third party storage provider so it can be shared across developers. This is in contrast to what you would have if you did not use remote state, that is, each developer with their own statefile. As you could imagine, this would get really messy as people start to clobber each other’s changes.

Terraform provides users with a couple of options when it comes to remote state backends including: S3, Consul and HTTP. S3 is a particularly interesting backend to use since you can version the contents of buckets. Conceivably, then you could also version control states of your infrastructure. Read More …

Up until recently, loading images on Hootsuite’s Android app had been done via Volley, an asynchronous networking library. We now use a library purpose-built for image loading and caching called Glide. Given the recent change, it seemed worthwhile to examine first, what pain points Glide addresses and then do a walkthrough of how it’s used.

Why the change? 


Volley is an HTTP library and that handles the main pain points surrounding loading images – namely, networking and caching – but is not made solely for that purpose. The problem? Loading a remote image into an ImageView can get verbose. Glide can do the job in one line and is a nice wrapper for an HTTP client. Glide uses HttpUrlConnection as its default network stack, but can be set to use Volley or OkHttp. Two other key benefits of Glide are, smoother loading when scrolling through a view that contains images (see the example below); and perhaps more importantly, animated GIF support. Viewing and posting media to social networks is central to Hootsuite so using a library that makes loading images a better experience for users and easier for programmers makes a lot of sense. Read More …