Herein, some great technical writings from the past week or two.

Crafting your editor lightsaber

Vim: revisited, on how to approach Vim and build your very own config from first principles. My personal take on editor/shell configurations is that its way better to have someone else maintain them. Find something like Janus or oh-my-zsh, tweak the things it includes to work for you, and get back to doing what you do. That said, I’m increasingly tempted to craft my own config, if only to promote the fullness and shine of my neck beard.

Uptime all the systems

Making the Netflix API More Resilient lays out the system of circuit breakers, dashboards, and automatons Netflix uses to proactively maintain API reliability in the face of external failures. Great ideas anyone maintaining a service that needs to stay online.

List All of the Riak Keys, on the trickiness of SELECT * FROM all_the_things-style queries in Riak, or any distributed database, really. The short story is that these kinds of queries are impractical and not something you can do in production. The longer story is that there are ways to work around it with clever use of indexes and data structures. Make sure you check out the Riak Handbook from the same author.

A little bit of Clojure

Introducing Knockbox introduces a Clojure library for dealing with conflict resolution in data stored in distributed databases like Riak. If you’re working with any database that leaves you wondering what to do when two clients get in a race condition, these are the droids you’re looking for. I would have paid pretty good money to have known about this a few months ago.

Clojure’s Mini-languages is a great teaser on Clojure if, like me, you’ve tinkered with it before but are coming back to it. This is particularly useful if you’ve seen some Lisp or Scheme before, but are slightly confused by what’s going on with all the non-paren characters that appear in your typical Clojure program. Having taken a recent dive into the JVM ecosystem, I have to say there’s a lot to like in Clojure. If your brain understands static types but thinks better in dynamic types (mine does), give this a look.

I occasionally post links with shorter comments, if you’d like a slightly more-frequent dose of what you just read.