This month’s most useful tools for developers > April 2018

Recommended Thinking

Some are about new thinking or new techniques, some are about old or legacy technology and some are just useful resources for different languages or platforms. Some are just lolz. The brief is simple — if we think they’re useful, you might too.

Kinesis, Lambda and the Serverless Framework

Our man James Robinson’s experiments with Serverless continue…

“I wanted to see how easily I could run code to solve one problem on hundreds of servers in parallel using the event-driven serverless services of AWS. I wanted to use the Serverless Framework to create something simple that could be deployed, run and stripped down again really quickly.”

A taxonomy of tech debt.

“I’m obsessed with tech debt. I want to find it, I want to understand it, and where possible, I want to fix it.”

As our man Paul says “I like the idea of using impact / fix cost / contagion to assess tech debt and I love the idea of making a solution more contagious than the debt it’s trying to eradicate.”
A taxonomy of tech debt.

Free Windows for IoT

Who knew that this was a thing: A free version of Windows for IoT? Yes, it’s true.
Windows 10 IoT Core for your Internet of Things.

Azure Templates

For anyone venturing into the world of Azure Resource Manager templates — these extensions are very useful:
ARM Extensions for Visual Studio Code

“Fork it!”

Our man Mark’s current choice of Git UI client for MacOS, fork, is now available for Windows.

Fork — a fast and friendly git client for Mac and Windows

Fork here


A WebGL accelerated, browser based JavaScript library for training and deploying ML models.


“ Question: I am having a hard time grasping why I would use Webpack, and what it is really for. […] It seems like I can’t just drop a script in my page anymore.”

Why would I use a Webpack?

Why it took a long time to build that tiny link preview on Wikipedia.

Our man Adam says “Really good article. “Simple” surface changes are often brutally complex underneath!” Great insight into what it takes to modify software, and why the “simple” is often complex.”

“We have several millions of pages, all stored as raw wikitext. We couldn’t expect every single article to be edited to designate a thumbnail.”

Microsoft Professional Program Artificial Intelligence track.

Learn the skills you need to help land the career you want!
Microsoft Professional Program

2D to 3D

Experiments with HoloLens, Mixed Reality Toolkit and two-handed manipulations.

Even the best tool in the world can’t help you if you are using it for the wrong job.

“Much like my electric guitar, React Native is a well-designed tool. It can serve you well and be your best friend if you use it appropriately. On the other hand, false expectations might lead you to frustration and headaches. I decided to share what I’ve learned…”

My Thoughts on React Native

A long running useful source of small Windows utilities…


This got our man Kev excited: “This could be pretty awesome. WebGL based UI driven via XAML….and it doesn’t suck. Far from it.”

NoesisGUI is a user interface middleware for video games and real time applications.

JavaScript End to End Testing Framework

“Fast, easy and reliable testing for anything that runs in a browser. Install Cypress in seconds and take the pain out of front-end testing.”

A sprint planning checklist

“This sprint planning checklist is tailored to the way my current team is working. In other words, you will likely not be able to apply this checklist to your team without modification.”

A list of things to consider when running sprint planning, it’s always useful to have some reminders.

How to run a design crit and why they’re important.

“One of our design principles is ‘design in the open’. This means we choose to be collaborative, we show our early design work and invite feedback. Holding design critiques, or ‘crits’, is a useful way to do this.”

Co-Op Design Crits

“Why do people do what they do?!”

“Answering this pressing question will help us, as a society, fix that which ailes us and help people and businesses thrive.”

A nice little free ebook on Digital Behavioural Design

The New School of AI

Udacity debuts a dedicated School of AI with three new nanodegrees. “It’s seen over 8,000 graduates from its nanodegree program, which means that its alumni make up an estimated 3 percent of the world’s total AI engineering pool.”
Jump in the pool.

Blockchain for good. Real good.

These guys are doing some good stuff with blockchain to try and make sure there’s no horse in your lasagne / child labour in your coffee beans / non-organic cotton in your fancy pants. Provenance.

Digital transformation is not innovation.

Learn how to distinguish and measure progress for innovation efforts apart from your digital transformation work. Slightly misleading title, but it’s short and sweet.

Task capturing made simple with Amazon Echo and Trello

This post demonstrates how to connect Alexa and Trello and through a voice command to Alexa a card will be created on your Trello board. Unsurprisingly this came recommended by our Scrum Master Adam who uses it for his shopping list. Of course.
Light Many Fires

Kapwing — Museum of Websites

This is fun, see how well known websites have changed over time. You can see similar results in the Internet Archive but this site presents the results in a nicely packaged manner.
A hand-curated gallery of how famous internet companies have changed over time.

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