Taught Two Day Class on AWS, Databases and RESTful APIs

I just taught a two day in-person corporate training class that was a basic introduction to cloud development and databases for software developers. This class used Amazon Web Services (AWS), MySQL, MongoDB, and Java 8 for the core technologies. We built a microservice web application with the Spark microframework for Java that provided a RESTful HTTP API, and then deployed it to Elastic Beanstalk.

There was also a fair amount of Python, which is always a fun language if everyone knows it.

It’s also always fun to update courses and see what has changed over the course of a year. The biggest changes were to the S3 web interface (switch back to the old interface if you want to remember how it was), and to Elastic Beanstalk’s getting started landing page (which has about three or four different states). Other things barely changed, like MySQL Workbench and Spark Java. Of course, if everything stayed the same, teaching wouldn’t be nearly as much fun!

Hackathon iOS Development

ATX Hack for Change: Volunteer Recognition App for Austin Pets Alive!

Austin’s no-kill animal rescue organization, Austin Pets Alive! had the honor of being selected as one of the possible projects for the ATX Hack For Change at St. Edwards University on June 2-4, 2017. My wife Cheri and I ran into one of the organizers at OSCON in early May, and we were able to submit a volunteer recognition app project that APA! needed, but hadn’t developed yet.

Austin Pets Alive! brought a team of hackers (Cheri Linwood, Beth Qiang, Walter Moreira, and myself), along with two dogs (Nimbus and Shorty). Nimbus and Shorty didn’t contribute much in the way of code or ideas, but they did provide puppy power for the hackathon.

As for the technical details – the volunteer recognition app uses Swift for the native mobile app on iOS, and Firebase as the back-end server for everything (Firebase Auth, Storage, Database). Check out the MIT-licensed source code here on my GitHub at This was the result of about 12 hours of coding over the weekend. One of my big goals was to find a visual designer at the hackathon, but they were few and far between, so I did the visual design myself. Luckily, APA! has pretty strong colors, so that makes up for a lot.