When your developer skills can make a difference to someone’s life

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In June 2015, REA Group Senior Developer Daniel Heath came across an internal ad outlining a secondment opportunity: ‘Need food, shelter and a software developer – please help.’ The role was looking for a passionate software developer to help work on a national initiative with a real social impact. He decided to throw his hat in the ring and was the successful applicant for the role. Continue reading

Automated visual checking of deployments with ImageMagick

We’re big fans of continuous deployment here at REA. Merging a pull request and seeing the changes flow all the way to production in a matter of minutes is really awesome. Unfortunately, even with a large number of automated tests, this also makes it possible for an uncaught bug to flow all the way through as well.

We recently experienced this when some new cache-busting code was mistakenly committed and caused our landing page to use a non-existent CSS file. Fortunately we noticed quickly and so the user impact was minimal, but it highlighted that the tests in our deployment pipeline were not as effective as we would like them to be. Continue reading

Business-Friendly Functional Programming – Part 1: Asynchronous Operations

Recently, we refactored one of our micro-services in order to apply the Each library. Each is a macro library developed by Thoughtworks that converts native imperative syntax to scalaz‘s monadic expressions. This means that we can write, among other things, asynchronous code with Futures in a plain imperative style.

The micro-service is a Scala application that serves as a RESTful server. It receives requests from browsers. For each of the requests, the micro-service fetches data from other internal RESTful servers, composites these data into one response, and sends the response to browsers.
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How we used Category Theory to solve a problem in Java

A few months ago, my colleague Chris Myers and I used some basic category theory concepts to guide us to a design that elegantly solved a problem in a Java codebase.

It isn’t the only way we could have arrived at the design; anyone could have done it, really! However, you might find it interesting to see what practical application of these ideas can look like. Importantly, category theory gives us a framework to shed light on what makes many good design concepts useful, and why. Continue reading

Another epic Tech23

Pitching @ Tech23

“Invention is a solo event. Innovation is almost always a team sport.” – Larry Marshall, CEO CSIRO

This is just one of the stellar quotes that came out of the seventh annual Tech23 event on 17 November in Sydney. The event celebrates Australian innovation by connecting investors, and entrepreneurs from across enterprise, government, university and industry sectors.

23 young companies with high growth potential and technical expertise pitched their stories and problems they’re tackling, with industry experts responding with both insights and advice. But outside of the presentations themselves, one of the most important parts of the event constantly reinforced throughout the day is the connections and collaboration between brilliant people from all walks of the innovation ecosystem. Continue reading

Hack it Forward: Time to give back. Again

In August we held our 2nd ever community and charity based Hack Day at REA: Hack it Forward.

More than 110 people in our Melbourne and Xi’an offices spent two days hacking for social causes, non-profit organisations and helping people in need. This year we partnered with more fantastic groups including:

Yet another wonderful event with 25 projects being tackled in 48 hours by smart, passionate people.

Best of all we captured it all in this little video. Enjoy 🙂

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