What I did for Last Week’s Hackathon
by Matthew Fisher

Matthew Fisher, April 19, 2013

Elastic SearchLast week was a pretty exciting week at ActiveState HQ. Following the release of Stackato 2.10, Komodo 8.0.1, and having a conference-free week, we decided that it was time for another Hackathon!

For the Hackathon, we were free to work on anything we wanted that related to our current product strategy, or the general ActiveState work environment. In other words, it was priority free time for us to address our pet peeves or long desired fixes with a product, whether it be Stackato, Komodo, or some other project that directly relates to ActiveState.

This was my first Hackathon, and I was really excited to see what others had come up with. There were a lot of really neat applications, whether they were displaying live-time statistics of router2g in a web app, automagic linking to our internal github repositories within Bugzilla, displaying data exposed by the Stackato REST API, or something as simple as a Stackato Bingo app for customers to play with in their meetings!

Phil Whelan came up with kato-daemon, a tool that turned our Ruby command-line tool, kato, into a daemonized service that can service requests over HTTP using Goliath, Fiber variables and redirecting STDOUT via asynchronous EventMachine queues. STDOUT was streamed to the browser using chunked transfer-encoding for real-time streaming of output in technicolor. it also supports multiple concurrently streamed requests. Look out for more details in a future blog post.

Jan Dubois worked on the Bugzilla template updates to automagically link internal git repos and checkins. Everyone that uses our internal Bugzilla daily has really enjoyed this project. Jeff Hobbs, our CTO, really enjoys this new feature. “I’ve used it countless times already. Not only does it improve productivity through efficiency, but it leverages existing practice to reference all commits related to bugs (and vice versa),“ Jeff says. "Also, it uses support tools running on our internal Stackato production cluster.”

I came up with the idea of adding ElasticSearch as a service to Stackato. Initially, I was thinking along the lines of adding a new NoSQL database, such as Cassandra or Riak, but my mind changed as soon as I heard about Elasticsearch. It’s now available as a plugin for Stackato. You can push it to Stackato, and play around with it as you like. The indices are also saved using the FileSystem service, so they won’t be removed when you restart or delete the plugin (as long as you don’t delete the service). Given time constraints, I was not able to add it as a core service to Stackato, but the code still exists and can be retrieved.

Overall, my first Hackathon was great. I had tons of fun working at it and seeing what everyone has to offer here at ActiveState. I can’t wait for our next Hackathon, and I can’t wait to see what everyone will be working on for next time!

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Matthew Fisher is ActiveState’s Junior Product Manager. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, BC, Matthew is a software developer in his spare time, preferring Python as his weapon of choice. In December 2012, he graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology with a Diploma in Computer Systems Technology. He has previously built telephony systems for customers using Asterisk PBX and Django, and has completed co-op placements doing IT/Sys Admin work with Core Information Technology and AeroInfo Systems, where he received an AeroInfo Award of Excellence. He joined ActiveState in February 2013.