React Training came to Melbourne

Welcome to the wonderful world of ReactJS, the solution to all your problems!

Well, maybe not all your problems but I’m sure we all felt pretty good after thirty odd REA’ers were lucky enough to attend an in-house course about ReactJS run by Michael Jackson (as much as I’d love to fill this post with puns regarding the obvious, I’ll try really hard to refrain). Continue reading

Bug bash – the game

(originally written for and published in Testing Trapeze)

Wikipedia defines a bug bash as: “… a procedure where all the developers, testers, program managers, usability researchers, designers, documentation folks, and even sometimes marketing people, put aside their regular day-to-day duties and ‘pound on the product’—that is, each exercises the product in every way they can think of.”

I first learned to do a bug bash after hearing the term about 8 years ago. I taught myself a crash course from a Google search, and then devised my own flavour of bug bash (which continues to evolve every time I run one).

The term “bug bash” seemingly first appears in Ron Patton’s book “Software Testing”1 (first published in 2001). As with many others, it does not surprise me that the term has been around for much longer than I have known it.

In this article I will describe why and how I run a bug bash these days – and hope you too find value in it, as I have since my Google searches years ago. Continue reading

Fewer AWS accounts please (aka the “goldilocks” strategy is back)

REA’s journey with Amazon Web Services (AWS) began in late 2010 when we started experimenting with using the cloud for our dev/test infrastructure. In 2013 we launched our first cloud-only production infrastructure to handle the dynamic resizing and serving of our images. Since that time we have adopted an IT strategy that involved transitioning all systems to the cloud and have therefore run a hybrid cloud and data centre platform ever since. More recently we have also embraced micro-services which means the volume of systems that we run in the cloud has exploded. This blog covers how our usage of AWS accounts and VPCs has changed and what we propose to do next.

Continue reading

Scaling On-Call: from 10 Ops to 100 Devs

This is an Ignite I gave at DevOpsDays Sydney 2016.


Like a lot of on-call systems ours was once pretty terrible. We had 10 operations staff on-call, and we were responsible for every system in the company. Spending a week on-call usually meant a week without sleep.

A sleep deprived first responder waking up late at night to a buzzing phone and a laptop screen burning bright with nagios alerts

Eventually one of the on-call engineers got fed up with this, so they removed every single check from the after-hours notification period. They then went through and selected only the most critical ones to put back in. Continue reading

Getting to Gender Parity without the awks

On the 30th of November I spoke at CTO Summit about Getting to Gender parity without the Awks.

Previous attempts I had made to sum up answers to ‘How can we attract, retain and inspire more women in technology careers?’ had left me fumbling for easy-to-digest responses. My male colleagues wanted to help, but it can be an awkward conundrum to untangle and confront.

On one hand I’m sure I’ve been the recipient of some positive discrimination in my career: was I entitled to weigh in on this subject? Continue reading