REST APIs for Humans at FOSDEM

Yesterday I gave a talk at FOSDEM 2014 in Brussels. The conference itself was amazing, with over 5000 attendees literally swarming and taking over the ULB Campus. I was stoked at how smoothly everything was going on despite the incredible number of simultaneous sessions and the number of attendees continuously flowing between buildings and conference rooms. Everybody involved, volunteers and attendees,  has been very welcoming, charming and helpful. In short, I had a blast.

My REST APIs for Humans™ talk was given in a fully packed Python DevRoom, which granted a lot of smart questions both in the final QA session and later during the day. Thanks everybody for the great feedback!

Giving back to my community

A few days ago I tweeted:

Now the project is out in the wild and I’m very excited about it. It’s all italian yes, but do know that CoderDojo is a global movement, and starting a kids coding club in your own town would probably be great idea.

Come meet me next week. I will be giving a short talk about CoderDojo Ravenna and, most importantly, we’ll have a good pizza afterwards. Oh, and we’re looking for mentors to join us.

Cerberus 0.5 is out (and it breaks stuff)

The new release changes the way validation errors are reported. Please note that these changes will also affect future releases of Eve, the Python REST API Framework.

What we had before was basically a list of human-readable errors. Each item in the list, while perfectly fine for human reading, wasn’t really ideal for algorithmic parsing. Why would you want to parse the errors with an algorithm? A common case would be when your client is using business objects to represent API resources (think a client-side ORM), and would have a hard time binding validation errors to the objects themselves. Continue reading

On Why I Still Prefer Traditional Books to eBooks

I’ve been using a Kindle for a long time now, and I love it. But I keep buying paper books. Lots of them. Actually I buy a lot more books than ebooks and it doesn’t even stop there. Admittedly, I am guilty of repeatedly buying paper editions of ebooks I’ve read on the Kindle.

For a very long time I’ve not been able to tell the precise reason why I keep going back to traditional books. It’s not about the reading experience or the sexiness of turning physical pages. Well of course that matters too, as I’ve always been kind of a book fetishist, but since the very beginning of my love-hate relationship with the Kindle I’ve always known there had to be something else, and I couldn’t pin it down.

Then yesterday it finally struck me. I was visiting the awesome Silent Books exhibition with the kids, and there was this Suzy Lee quote pinned on the wall, and I couldn’t stop reading it over and over.

In turning the pages of a book,
a little world opens and closes,
enclosed in a frame.

Story ends, the book closes.
The world closes too.
Then it’s quickly placed on a shelf.

Art can be placed on a shelf.
Shelf-sized art.
Isn’t that beautiful? (*)

So yes, it’s about the shelves. It’s about surrounding myself with those little worlds I’ve been exploring. I suddenly realized that several times every day, while I’m furiously coding or when I’m just walking around the house or heck, even while I’m reading a book, each day my eyes like to indulge on those shelves, the vivid memories of my reading experiences. That’s something the files stored on my precious little Kindle can’t offer me.

That also explains why I only tend to buy what I call “throw away” books on the Kindle. These aren’t necessarily bad books (or I wouldn’t buy them in the first place). They are mostly leisure readings, you know, thrillers and the like: something that’s entertaining to read but it isn’t likely to leave me with a long lasting memory, or emotion.

(*) turns out the Border Trilogy, Suzy Lee’s book from which the quote is taken, has not been published in english, which is a shame. This is a (probably poor) translation of mine.

MongoDB and REST API go for a picnic (video and slides)

I had the opportunity to give my RESTful WeB APIs and MongoDB Go For A Picnic talk at both MongoTorino and NoSQL Day. The folks at PUG Friuli where so nice to record all the NoSQL Day sessions, so here you have it: the full length video of yours truly speaking to a fully packed room crowded with 120 very attentive attendees.

Unfortunately audio is horrible and while all MongoTorino talks were in english, NoSQL Day was an italian-only event. The slide deck is in english however, and is available on both SpeakerDeck and SlideShare.

My interview on being a MongoDB Master

So I’ve been interviewed by Laura Czajkowski on my experience and role as a MongoDB Master. The interview actually covers more angles than that and I guess that, if you really don’t have anything better to do, you might even want to check it out.

How did you get involved in open source?

I’ve been an avid developer delivering desktop applications in the .NET/MSSQL closed source ecosystem for so many years that open source wasn’t even on my radar.

Then a few years ago, like everybody else, we found that we needed to get involved with the mobile world. That’s when I thought that it was time to finally to get out of my comfort zone and start looking out of my walled garden. In fact, while historically there always have been little alternative to the Microsoft/.NET/SQL ecosystem for building business Windows applications, now we were about to address a completely different beast.

First step in any mobile strategy is building a proper web infrastructure, like one or more web APIs, remote servers, etc. While .NET was well suited for the task, I knew that there were other valid, robust and mature alternatives out there and that I had to learn more about them before picking any choice.

My involvement with open source, the whole Python language, MongoDB and the NoSQL movement is the direct consequence of that learning process.

Meeting the EMEA MongoDB Masters – Nicola Iarocci