NetKernel News Volume 7 Issue 4 -

NetKernel News Volume 7 Issue 4

June 17th 2016

Catch up on last week's news here, or see full volume index.

Repository Updates

The following updates are available in the NKEE and NKSE repositories...

  • http-server-3.9.1
    • Cleaned up stdout debug chatter related to Websocket lifecycle
    • Websockets now provides detailed error messages on close events.
  • json-core-1.12.1
    • Patched org.json.JSONObject to use LinkedHashMap to ensure ordering is preserved in parse/serialize roundtrip.
    • JSONParser now handles case where DeterminateJSON is required and representation is already one of JSONObject or JSONArray
  • layer1-1.52.1
    • Throttle overlay updated to pass through sticky headers
  • nkse-dev-tools-1.65.1
    • Space explorer - updated default libraries to include HDS and JSON
    • Styling tweaks to detailed system status view
  • nkse-visualizer-1.25.1
    • Vizualizer detailed view now indicates sticky status of request headers

Why the loss of signal...

So you will have inferred from my prolonged silence that either a series of events has prevented me from communicating, or conversely, I've been unable to communicate a series events.

I'm happy to report that everything is well, but I've been somewhat restricted in what I've been able to say recently.

The reason for this is that for the best part of the last two months we've concluded an extremely rigorous and intense "proof of concept" evaluation of NetKernel and ROC for a top-tier player in the... (sorry can't say).

Given that NetKernel implements the ROC abstraction, it won't surprise you (or them) if I say that the basis for this engagement was that we recognised that we share a common understanding of the value of Resource Oriented abstraction to evolvable scalable information architectures.

I would love to go into detail about the evaluation, but for the moment I'll just say it was comprehensively thorough (and in fact, a true pleasure to be given the opportunity to fully demonstrate the potential of NK/ROC).

Its likely that my high latency communication is going to continue across the summer (from which you can draw your own conclusion).

Meanwhile there is still a ton of stuff going on with NetKernel...

We have a complete ground-up rewrite of NKP which decouples the transport layer from the ROC client/server endpoints meaning you can implement fully coherent clustered ROC architectures across arbitrary network protocols. By default we've found that Netty offers the optimal performance/engineering balance, but NKP2 can even be tunnelled over HTTP! The loadbalancer infrastructure is also fully rewritten for NKP2. This work is very nearly ready to ship so watch this space for a notice of when it becomes available in Apposite.

We have a componentised OAuth2 overlay and tooling similar to the NKEE control panel for selecting and assigning OAuth2 access control. We're working with a customer's real-world use-cases to ensure that the components provide the necessary coverage and flexibility and will get this out very soon too.

We have a YAML resource model on the blocks, just in case you need YAR (yet another representation).

We have the first concrete steps towards a NetKernel IDE (see below).

What are Comb9 / Polestar?

You will have heard mention of Comb9 and Polestar. They are vertical platforms built partly as showcases of the potential of NetKernel and partly as powerful internet infrastructure services.

Tony has written two blog posts that explain their features and uses...

Towards a NetKernel IDE

Classical development tools work just fine with NetKernel, but they have a design philosophy that defaults towards monolithic software. But to adequately embody the two-level logical/physical worlds of ROC its inevitable that we will eventually need a NetKernel IDE.

In fact you can see core elements of an IDE are emerging in the developer tools control panel. But to date the tools have been more about monitoring, debugging, tracing, and discovery and visualization of resources and spacial architecture.

Well here's a preview of a further addition...

Just download this jarred module and add an entry pointing to it in modules.d/

The module provides resources that are discovered and plug into the space explorer to provide an interactive editor.

Just go to the Space Explorer, click on a module and select the "Browse module files" option.

Provided the module is an expanded directory (ie not a jar file), you'll get an interactive editor view like this...

Syntax highlighting reflects the mimetype of the viewed file. The editor can be used to modify the file etc.

It's basic but it adds a quick way to make a change especially if you are using a tool such as the visualizer and trace tools which are already cross-linked into the Space Explorer.

So the path towards a Resource Oriented IDE is forming. You can see that the next steps will be towards a comprehensive visual ROC spacial architecture designer...

This is a preview of a work in progress. As we progress this will be incorporated into the NK dev tools through Apposite.

Beware Simple Answers to Complex Problems

My daughter and I recently had an in-depth discussion. She had to prepare an answer for her history class: What was the cause of the Second World War?

It is of course a very complex question and the answer, even more so.

In the 1930s the world was undergoing extreme stress. Economic turmoil was rampant across America and Europe. Complex economic interactions led to economic differentials and economic differentials drive physical migration of people.

German people faced the global pressures, exacerbated by the legacy of punitive reparations imposed by the Allies after the First World War, and hyper-inflation.

When the world is economically volatile and the forces of change are driven by complex and interacting factors we are at our most vulnerable.

When people are afraid and desperately begging for an answer to the question: "How can things be made better?", evil only has to whisper two simple words...

"Blame them"

Blame them. Its their fault. They're to blame.

Mankind's default instinctual ape-tribe behaviour fires up.

Its us or them. Our DNA versus theirs.

Rationalism is all too easily subverted by our animal nature.

We know what happened in the Second World War. We also know what caused it: our worst selves.

We enjoy our 21st century distance from the trauma and insanity of the conflicts of the 20th century.

Our technology feels cutting edge. We are different, we have broken free from those primitive people.

"They're so last century". We're advanced. We're modern. We've got iPhones.

But go back to any point in history; leading-edge technology, at that moment in time, was by definition at its pinnacle.

Throughout history, at any point, we always feel that we are the generation that is progressing from our ancestors.

Our grand-parents and great-grandparents felt they were modern too.

Following the 2008 crash, just as in the 1930s, the world is in a state of huge economic stress.

The global internet communication channels we have invented are amplifiers of all opinions.

In this cacophony, complex messages are much harder to distinguish than simple messages.

And simple messages do not even need to be true, if all you choose to hear is simple answers.

In short, we are at one of those times in history when we are at our most vulnerable.

Perhaps even uniquely vulnerable.

In the United States rational discourse appears to have ended or gone missing in action. Just so in Europe.

Next week the United Kingdom will hold a referendum. The UK is being asked a simple question.

"Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?"

A simple question.

A naively simple question that belies the complexity of the current state of our globally stressed world.

I wish that the question had never been set but now that it has I am hugely worried that dark forces are offering the age old simple answer...

"Blame them"

We don't need them. Its their fault. They're to blame.

We are exactly the same animals as our ancestors.

Who were just as modern as us.

We are just as susceptible to our dark sides.

It is our great fortune that, after they'd done all the dieing for us, their legacy was to set in place institutions - the United Nations, the European Union (nee Community). Institutions constructed in the hope that our animal natures might be constrained.

The European Union in many respects is dysfunctional, but a broken roof is better than no roof at all.

We can choose to be our best selves.

I'm a British citizen of the world.

I'm one of us and one of them...

I have a postal vote and that is my ballot paper. I've already voted. If you're in the UK - please vote next week.

I wrote this item yesterday morning - before the appalling events of the afternoon. I dearly hope that it was totally unconnected or, at worst, only an isolated symptom of the current toxic political atmosphere. But, melodramatic as I know it sounds, I genuinely fear that we are on the brink of wantonly unleashing uncontrollable forces that will severely damage both the UK and our neighbours.


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