Empirical and Theoretical Arguments Why This Feature Sucks

Channels are Go’s fundamental tool for concurrent programming.

Buffered channels are a small, innocent-looking feature on top of channels. I’m going to try to convince you that they’re a monstrous abomination.

Quick Recap on What I’m Ranting About

First, a quick recap of how channels work if you haven’t used Go in a while.

A channel lets you send data on one goroutine, and receive it on another, concurrent goroutine.

In a normal unbuffered channel, sending data will block until the data is received.

This blocks forever:

// https://play.golang.org/p/eJGdsxiHOIg
ch := make(chan int, 0)
ch <- 1
// https://play.golang.org/p/bBIkIiFXeF2
ch := make(chan int…

In the 3 years since I wrote my post on Bazel, there have been a few changes to the Bazel ecosystem:

1) I've met many more large engineering orgs that have either partially adopted Bazel, or are investigating Bazel.

2) There are several different companies that build tooling around Bazel and consult with teams on how to use it. I've talked to the folks at flare.build and EngFlow. There are more listed here: https://bazel.build/experts.html

If you're a large company looking into Bazel, that's a lot of good news! There are more peers you can learn from and help you can…

A tarot deck, suitable for choosing Kubernetes topologies in CI. Via Wikipedia.

When we first started developing Tilt, we broke ALL THE TIME.

Either Kubernetes changed. Or we had a subtle misunderstanding in how the API works. Our changes would pass unit tests, but fail with a real Kubernetes cluster.

I built out an integration test suite that used the latest version of Tilt to deploy real sample projects against a real cluster.

At the start, it was slow and flakey. But the tooling around running Kubernetes in CI has come a long way, especially in the last 1–2 years. Now it’s less flakey than our normal unit tests 😬. …

“Curling; — a Scottish Game, at Central Park” by John George Brown. Via Wikipedia.

A common take on Kubernetes is that it’s very complicated.

… and because it’s complicated, the configuration is very verbose.

… and because there’s so much config YAML, we need big toolchains just to handle that config.

I want to convince you that the arrow of blame points in the opposite direction!

Kubernetes has a simple, genius idea about how to manage configuration.

Because it’s straightforward and consistent, we can manage more config than we ever could before! And now that we can manage oodles more config, we can build overcomplicated systems. Hooray!

The configs themselves may be complicated. So…

My reading productivity took a big hit year, because

  1. My daily reading routine revolved around the daily subway commute, which was no more
  2. The cats kept attacking my books

And Why it Still Matters

I found the first mention of Kubernetes in computer science!!

It comes from a book. “Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and Machine” by Norbert Wiener. Originally published in 1948. (Yes, even in 1948, non-fiction book titles abused the colon.)

The book has its own Wikipedia page. So many people read it that he published a sequel!

It’s surprisingly hard to find. The New York Public Library has two copies offsite, only available on advanced request. The Brooklyn Public Library has zero copies.

I like to imagine I have the only physical copy in pandemic-lockdown New York City…

Here are all the covers (thanks Goodreads!)

Photo by Yuri Bodrikhin on Unsplash

Commit of the Month / October 2019

Welcome to the Commit of the Month, the blog post series where we highlight recent work on Tilt.

October’s commit is


Or for you humans:

facets: show the applied k8s yaml

What Does it Do?

When you’re watching a resource in Tilt, you used to see two tabs: Logs and Alerts.

The Logs tab displays the most recent output of building and running something on Kuberenetes. That includes image build logs, pod logs, events that popped up, etc. All of it is in recency order.

The Alerts tab displays messages that we think you should look at Right Now, like build failures or…

Photo by Olivier Miche on Unsplash

When I first started learning how to write Kubernetes configs, I would sometimes complain to people about it. “They’re so complicated!” they would complain back.

They would show me an example. Here’s a simple Docker Compose config:

image: tilt.dev/simple-node-app
- 8000:8000
command: sh -c 'node server.js'
apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
app: simple-node-app
name: simple-node-app
app: simple-node-app
app: simple-node-app
- command: ["sh", "-c", "node server.js"]
image: tilt.dev/simple-node-app
name: app
- containerPort: 8000

The Tilt engineering team is back from KubeCon in Barcelona. Thanks for everyone who visited our booth to press our button!

Nick Santos

Software Engineer. Trying new things @tilt_dev. Formerly @Medium, @Google. Yay Brooklyn.

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