Friday, September 21, 2018

More tricks for building chatbots with IBM Watson Assistant

Have you heard? New tips and tricks!
If you are building chatbots with IBM Watson Assistant (Conversation), then you might have already stumbled over my collection of tips and tricks or my command line tool for testing chatbots. Earlier today I updated the tips and tricks and added section on collection projection. If you know SQL and relational algebra, then you know the concept of projection. The same can be applied to JSON data and used within Watson Assistant dialogs.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Cloud app development with Db2 - Db2 Aktuell Conference

Db2 Aktuell conference in Germany
Next week I will give a talk at the Db2 Aktuell conference in Berlin, Germany. My presentation is about developing Db2 applications in a cloud environment. Regardless whether you are new to "cloud apps" or to Db2 application development, there is always something to learn.

The secret is in the credentials

Regardless of whether an application is deployed as container to a Kubernetes cluster, as Cloud Foundry app, or is written with Cloud Functions, it always needs to figure out how to connect to the (Db2) database. If the database is provisioned as a service (DBaaS) the related credentials are issued. By binding the service to the app or its components, the application code can extract the connection details from the credentials and access the database.
Depending on the technology the credentials are stored in package bindings (Cloud Functions), in VCAP environment variables (Cloud Foundry),  or secrets (Kubernetes).

Make it fast

Having a functional app does not mean to have a well-performing app. It requires skills in database app development and in database administration. Understanding what data is needed by the app and cutting away "fat", i.e. unnecessary data and processing, helps improving overall performance. It means restricting columns to a minimum, applying the right predicates, optimizing for the desired result set and more.

Meet in Berlin

Interested to learn more? Let's meet in Berlin next week at the Db2 Aktuell.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Tutorial on how to apply end to end security to a cloud application

Before you head out to the weekend I wanted to point you to a new cloud security tutorial. If you read this at the beginning of your week: What a great start... ;-)

Did you ever wonder how different security services work together to secure a cloud application? In the new tutorial we use
  • IBM Cloud Activity Tracker to log all security-related events. This includes logging in to the account, provisioning or deleting services, working with encryption keys and more.
  • IBM Cloud Key Protect to manage encryption keys. For the tutorial, we generate a root key for envelope encryption of stored files. You could also import your own root key (bring your own key, BYOK). We use the root key to create encrypted buckets in the IBM Cloud Object Storage service.
  • IBM Cloud Object Storage (COS) service to produce expiring links to individual files. The links can be shared with others and expire after the set amount of time, so that the file cannot be accessed thereafter.
  • IBM Cloud App ID as a wrapper around (enterprise and social) Identity Providers to manage authentication and authorization through a single interface. The App ID service can be directly integrated with Kubernetes Ingress.
  • IBM Cloud Container Registry as a private image registry from which we deploy the application as container into a Kubernetes cluster (IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service). The container registry includes a Vulnerability Advisors that scans for and assesses container vulnerability and then recommends fixes.
Best of all, the code for the security tutorial is shared on GitHub in this repository. If you are in a hurry, it even allows you to deploy the full Node.js in Docker application and its services with the press of a button via toolchain.

If you have feedback, suggestions, or questions about this post, please reach out to me on Twitter (@data_henrik) or LinkedIn.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Upcoming Db2 events for the German and European crowd

Upcoming Db2 events
Are you back from vacation and need to get an overview of upcoming Db2 related Events? Here we go.

  • Db2 Aktuell: Already this September 24-26 in Berlin, the conference offers tracks on Db2 on the mainframe and Db2 LUW. You can proof your knowledge and get certified. There is a "bring your co-worker" offer, making it a nice team event.
  • DeDUG (German Db2 User Group): The next DeDUG meeting is special in two kinds. It will be sponsored by and feature Scott Hayes (DBI Software) as speaker. And it is held at the IBM Watson Center in Munich on October 19th. As usual, it is a free event.
  • IDUG 2018 EMEA Conference: Last but not least on my list is the annual International Db2 User Group conference in Europe. It runs from November 4-8 and takes place on beautiful Malta. It is THE family gathering of the European Db2 community. Don't miss it.
If you have feedback, suggestions, or questions about this post, please reach out to me on Twitter (@data_henrik) or LinkedIn.