dotCloud April Hackday

Keeping It Fresh

There’s nothing worse for productivity than a project that drags on forever. Here at dotCloud, we normally break things up by working in two-week sprints, but for one day each month we dial up the pace even further.

Here’s how our Hack Days work: we show up early (yes, 9am is early for some of us!) and each team member pitches a project. For the next eight hours we fend off temptation (there’s music! food! beer! It is glorious.) as we race to finish by our 5pm demo deadline.

Dotcloud-hackday-keeps-it-fresh

Sound like fun? Luckily for you we’re hiring! Also, each month we invite a select few guests to join us. Tweet us at @dot_cloud with your next hack day idea, and we’ll let you know next time we have an opening!

Here are some of the projects we came up with this month:

Prototype of remote context manager for ZeroRPC (FX Bourlet)

One of the problems not solved by RESTful web services is when there needs to be state maintained across multiple request-response cycles for things like user sessions or transactions. FX has tried out a solution to this problem with our super-popular ZeroRPC.

His concept is to allow a client to open a context on a ZeroRPC server which can be used for multiple stateful operations. The system uses ZeroRPC’s native heart-beat system under the covers to make sure both client and server can take action if the logical link between them goes down. Our first real use-case is for a transactional system on top of ZeroRPC, but I’m sure you folks can come up with lots of other creative uses.

New dotCloud Help Page (Ken Cochrane)

Getting help from dotCloud is like picking ice cream at Baskin Robins: so many delicious flavours! But which to choose? I’m usually a sucker for mint chocolate chip, but sometimes even I find the options overwhelming.

Ken created a new help page for dotCloud.com that aggregates all of our support options in one place to help you figure out which is best when. You can use this early version to get direct support, check platform status and access our StackOverflow pages.

There are a few more changes that aren’t quite ready yet, but should be out the door soon, so stay tuned for more updates!

Heap.io (Yusuf Simonson)

Heap.io is a project that allows for real-time, bi-directional communication between server-side processes and web apps using new concepts inspired by generative communication. By providing dynamic message routing between many autonomous processes along with authentication and authorization, heap.io will provide a flexible platform for creating complex real-world webapps.

Watch for it to be open-sourced soon!

Neo4j on dotCloud (Christophe Boudet)

Neo4j is one of the most popular NoSQL graph databases. Thanks to Christophe, Neo4j 1.7 is supported in alpha on dotCloud. Go get ‘yer graph on!

ZDP: Browser Data Sync with ZeroRPC (Solomon Hykes)

ZDP is an extension to ZeroRPC for real-time data synchronization. The server uses ZeroRPC both to push data in real-time, and to expose arbitrary data manipulation methods to the client. This allows complex server-side validation, possibly coupled with authorization and authentication, making it possible to build real applications on ZDP, even when the client is not trusted.

Let us know what you think!