Take your seat

A quick note about office desks, seats, people and team spirit.

I’ve spend almost 15 years on software development, saw different companies, different people, different teams and different offices. Maybe hundred of them. Where I used to work, or my friends did. Some offices were small, some large. Cubicles, rooms and open spaces. Noisy and quiet. Cool startups and boring enterprise. Sometimes different offices that belongs to same organization.

At some point I’ve noticed a small difference, a difference in team members as I think is correlates with difference in how theirs work desks are placed. Remember when the same people have moved from one office to another, they started to conduct themselves differently.


Setup Let’s Encrypt SSL on Google Appengine

Let’s Encrypt is a new Certificate Authority: It’s free, automated, and open.

“Let’s Encrypt” is a really great initiative (and a tool) that, I hope, will improve security of the modern web. It have very nice client, that will do all work automatically (unfortunately it’s not yet supported by Google Appengine). It’s supposed to run on target server, where it can validate domain and configure your Apache/Nginx/etc. But in of Appengine we don’t have such server, so have to generate and upload SSL certificate manually. I’ll show you how.


Analyze Appengine logs with Kibana

Google Cloud have a nice Log Service, with some cool features (like Traces, I wrote before), but it lacks real analytics based on this logs. Like Kibana.

Fortunately Google Cloud can export logs to Cloud Storage. What’s cool is that this logs are in JSON format, so we could easily import them into ELK, without any complex Logstash configuration (honestly I cannot say that JSON schema fits well ELK, but still it’s easy to import).

I’ve prepared a basic Docker container with Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana configured for Appengine logs. Run ELK container with:

(you can get sources of this Docker image there).


Trace Reports for Performance Tuning in Appengine

Fixing webapp speed is really hard job, mostly because it’s hard to find a bottleneck. And I want to show some tools that Google Appengine gives you for this job. Actually i’m going to tell about combination of two tools, that works just perfectly together.

First thing is Traces (under Monitoring tab in Cloud Console). It’s kind of a new tool, and I didn’t pay much attention earlier, just played a little. I thought it’s just another view to your logs, from Appengine APIs point of view:

gae traces - details - full

It shows you details about requests, with information about which API calls were made, how much time server spent on them, how much it did cost, etc. Pretty useful information btw.



Daily Meetings & Distributed Teams

For many years I’ve been working in distributed teams, for different companies, for different projects. And there is one important thing, that distinguish one team from another. It’s how team meetings are organized.

I mean “Morning Standup”, “Weekly Standup”, etc.

For traditional (non-distributed) company it’s easy, just get together in the morning. According to schedule or just when everybody are ready to talk.

Fixed schedule is much more important thing for a distributed worker. For distributed team there is no morning, just Skype and different timezones. And also, person on other side usually needs some preparation before call. Turn off music, wear headphones, turn on microphone and camera, etc. Get dressed :)


RESTful using Spring Framework

I don’t need to say that RESTful web services are very popular this days. So, you need it, for sure, but what to choose? I’ve tried different Java frameworks for REST, most times it was Jersey and Spring MVC, and think that for most cases Spring is the best option for building RESTful applications using Java.

If you already have a Spring app, then you don’t need to make complex configuration to start implementing RESTful API with Spring. Just configure view resolver for JSON, and use standard annotations like:


Comparing Google Gmail Apps

gmails That’s happened that I’m using Android and iOS devices at same time. I mean I have Android phone to make calls, and iPod Touch for applications and internet. So, I’m having both of them at my pocket all the time.

As I said, Android is for calls, iPod for apps, but there is an app that I have on Android as well. It’s official client for Gmail. Same app, made by Google itself, for same Google service, just Android version and iOS version.


Hsoy Templates – client- and server side templating

Introducing “Hsoy Templates”, a html templating library for modern web. The main goal was to make a templating library with easy to use syntax, that can be used on both server and client side. It have HAML syntax, and compiles into Java on server side and JavaScript on client side.

Actually it’s a version of Google Closure Templates (.soy templates) with HAML syntax.

Why you need this?

In modern web development it’s very common to update some parts of current page by data received from server, but the problem that it’s annoying to write and support same HTML view two times – for Client and for Server. Just breaks DRY principle.

Hsoy Templates gives you a way to write such templates just once, and use it on client-side, and on backend.


  • one template (a *.hsoy file)
  • HAML syntax (see http://haml.info/)
  • fast
    • compiled into Java (so can be used from Groovy, Scala, Clojure, etc)
    • compiled into Javascript (so can be used from Node.js)
  • based on Google Closure Templates library
  • commercial friendly (Apache 2.0 licence)

Weird story behind Smartsy Corp

After publishing my previous post, about working with Arnaud Saint-Paul and Smartsy Corp, I got a lot of feedback from people who has same problems with Smartsy (and people behind this company). I mean, I found a lot of guys who were working for same company, but never get paid. Some guys tried to go to court, but anyway, didn’t receive any money.

I’ve made some investigations, contacted some of them, we discussed their experience, their problems with getting money, etc. And now I’m trying to put it together, onto one page. I believe, I need some time to gather all details, so this page is going to be updated.


Working with Arnaud Saint-Paul and Smartsy


For the last few years I’m doing consulting for various startups and web companies, mostly for server-side development using Java, Groovy, Grails, etc. Few months ago I’ve contacted Jose Comboni, from San Mateo, CA, who was looking for a consultant for French company called Smartpaper (founded by Arnaud Saint-Paul and Gerard Ayache). The company has been moving to US, with a new name “Smartsy” (or Smartsy Corp). We made a deal, signed an agreement, and started working.

Disclaimer: This article is my personal opinions. No guarantee is given that the information provided in this article is correct, complete, and up-to-date. All the trademarks are the property of their respective holders.


Smartsy – is a corp registered in California, US. Previously called as Smartpaper, and Smartsystem, and was working in France. Smartsy is a mobile app for iOS and Android + web application based on Grails.

Managed by:


It was strange that nobody was really concerned about project, fast results, etc. It takes days to receive answer for urgent questions, and about a month to get all details. It’s common for enterprise, but unusual for startup which is trying to save each cent and get result as fast as possible.

More strange was that some parts of the project were lost. Just an outdated version in “zip” file, no git/svn, no history, nothing. I mean, previous developer just didn’t provide sources for his last work, so we had only compiled binary on test server, and an outdated snapshot of sources. It was my fault that I didn’t pay attention to this facts.