I'm enjoying working with hubot; I have a few different instances running for different groups. One of the things that I use hubot for is to echo activities from the source control repo, the bug tracker, the CI system, the (you get the idea) into the channel for a project. This is achieved via webhooks; a feature offered by many providers to POST information about an event to your endpoint as soon as it happens. Continue reading
I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes an inclusive event. Not gender-inclusive, necessarily (I commonly find myself as the only woman developer at both my local user groups), just approachable, maybe for newcomers but mostly for everyone. What happens at the event itself is really important, whether people greet you, whether the speakers introduce themselves, and so on. That's only half the story though, because often we've excluded people from our events before the event begins. Every conversation I have about this topic comes back to information. Continue reading
I love hubot and use one in a few different places. One thing I do find though is that I often want to edit or evolve those plugins, and it seems somehow unethical to just hardcode my changes into my own repo. Once I figured out how to wire together a forked repo as a submodule, it became much easier to work with hubots with external plugins, so I thought I'd share my recipe for that. Continue reading
I came across a git repo recently that output this message with every operation I did:
Your branch is based on 'origin/master', but the upstream is gone. (use "git branch --unset-upstream" to fixup)
I was delivering a workshop at the time so I kinda snarled at it and carried on with what I was doing, but later I looked up what is happening. This occurs when a branch is tracking a branch that the git repo doesn't have any information about - the branches to be tracked aren't in the local repo metadata.
In my case, it happened because I had created and then cloned an empty repo for training purposes - so
origin/master didn't actually exist yet! I added a quick commit-and-push to my script and hope that I won't be upstaged by this change that came in with git 1.8.5.
Hopefully this post will help someone else to avoid being upstaged or irritated by this as well!
In recent years, the release cycle of PHP has become much shorter. We now have a much more controlled and well-publicised process of releases, and moving between each version is no longer a leap of faith. The newer versions have HUGE performance improvements, great features, and better security, and the software is free to use. Yet we have a very, very long tail of PHP installations on older versions (around 75% on entirely unsupported versions at this point). Many of the companies I talk to think that upgrading will be pointless and painful, but that's not my experience of migrating PHP projects. Here are a few things you might like to think about or be aware of before you make the decisions that "not broken" is good enough for your applications. Continue reading
In trying to get company documentation off google docs and people's laptops and into a more useful format, I have been researching developer-friendly tools for business documentation. Requirements went something like:
- must handle words and documents
- should be available locally, bonus points for revision history
- must publish to the web, and ideally be editable there
- should accept content in markdown
- must have access control (which wiped out my original plan of using a static site generator)
While I worked on this, we were using the wiki feature in GitLab ... which pretty much hit the nail on the head. Further investigation showed that the wiki feature in GitLab (and indeed in GitHub) is a ruby gem called Gollum. Continue reading
It took me far too long to get my first hubot working; when I finally sat down to get it going the process was much easier than I expected! So here's a little guide in the hope that this helps you get started too.
I'm enjoying using hubot to integrate services very easily and both give updates and respond to commands in chat. One of my hubots chats to us in slack rather than in IRC, and there are a couple of gotchas that I wish I'd known about before I started!
- Hubot will not respond to you in PM, you need to join a channel and then
/invite @hubotand your bot will join you in that channel and then respond when you address him/her by name
- When configuring channel names for slack (I use the gitlab plugin which needs a GITLAB_CHANNEL environment variable), do NOT include a
#at the start of it if you use slack - works a treat in IRC, but skip it for slack. I spent quite a while looking for a bug in the slack adapter before I figured this one out so it's written here for me to look up next time!
- Also note that your hubot can only speak in channels that it has joined; I have seen hubot actually crash when asked to speak in a channel that exists but which isn't known to it.
I think this central way of having plugins which can integrate with many messaging platforms on one side, and integrate with many external APIs on the other means we'll be doing much more in chat ops moving forward. Already I'm impressed by how many of the hosted tools I use have webhooks, although there aren't hubot plugins for all of them (yet!).
I'm a big fan of good tools, however struggle to find products that fit me because there are some key constraints:
- I use Linux (specifically Ubuntu 14.10)
- I don't use a pointing device. At all. If I can't use a tool from the keyboard, I can't use it at all (as a side effect, I use keyboard enablers in my browser so if your website has "helper" keyboard shortcuts, I probably can't use that either)
- My other devices (phone, tablet, work phone) are all android