Cors and Node-RED using a simple forwarding server

When you use Node-RED on IBM Cloud during hackathons you will notice REST calls in flows cannot be directly invoked from a web application. The reason for this is mostly that cors (cross-origin resource sharing) is not enabled for the Node-RED server. This blog post is a simple workaround for this problem.

I developed this workaround to have full control and be very flexible during a hackathon, when using Node-RED for prototyping and building integrations to services and web-applications, without changing Node-RED settings or using cors browser enabler.

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Being @Hacknext a Hackathon and Conference to create impact in InsurTech

I was one of the coaches at the sold out Hacknext in Munich, hosted at Kohlebunker, from  7. March – 9. March 2019 and in this blog post I want to share my personal impressions.

From my point of view it was great to see: young people build relevant solutions for the future with the latest technologies on cloud.
Best wishes to all hackers who attended and every success for the future.

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Hacknext  includes a hackathon and conference related to the insurance business called InsurTech.

In other words the hackers, attendees and coaches were spending three days in the Kohlebunker for:

  • Taking on challenges together, approximately 110 hackers organized into 20 teams
  • Benefiting from professional exchange on InsurTech with approximately 60 conference attendees
  • Providing valuable support from the API coaches

The challenges

Each of the hacker teams had to address a minimum of one of these challenges:

  • Using smart data and its benefits for insurance
  • Building the future of digital bancassurance
  • (R)evolutioning of the insurance agent
  • Rethinking retirement

In the following YouTube video you get a short impression of the great atmosphere at the hacknext:

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How to deploy a container to the IBM Cloud Kubernetes service

I want to describe another way to run the  Highscores-Service of the #BlueCloudMirror game . In the game I use  IBM Cloud Foundry apps, now I want to explore IBM Cloud Kubernetes.

Note: The #BlueCloudMirror game we  @Niklas, @Harald and I made, is available as an Pattern on IBM Developer.

The first step was creating a container for the Highscores-Service,  which I described in my blog post how to build a container.

In this post I deploy my scores-service container to the IBM Cloud Kubernetes service.  This is  not a blueprint for IBM Kubernetes deployments, if you looking for a blueprint,  just take a look hereIBM Cloud documentation contains a great guide for getting started:  How to setup and use IBM Cloud Kubernetes

I share my experiences and observations with you, along with my deployment.

Let’s start with an overview of the topics I touch in this blog post:

Simplified Architecture 

kube-basic-architecture

The above picture shows a simplified architecture for the scores-service inside Kubernetes. You can see the relevant elements for the deployment. If you are interested in the details of  these elements, just click on the linked Kubernetes documentation.

The major elements:

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How to build a container

I want to describe another way to run the  Highscores-Service of the #BlueCloudMirror game . In the game I use  IBM Cloud Foundry apps, now I want to explore IBM Cloud Kubernetes.

Note: The #BlueCloudMirror game we  @Niklas, @Harald and I made, is available as an Pattern on IBM Developer.

Let’s get started with the first step, building a container which contains the Scores-Service using Docker .

This blog post is all about building and running a docker container on a local machine.

Topics you will find in this post: my experience of  learning how configure a Dockerfile along  with my creation of the Dockerfile for the score-service, including following steps:

  • Choosing the base image
  • Installing the needed packaging tools
  • Defining the source code location and copying the source code into the container
  • Configuring a new user and group for Bower , a package manager
  • Setting up the Score-Service
  • Running the Score-Service container locally

Note: This is not a blueprint, this is just how I did it and I share my experience with you.

Architecture of the Scores-Service

This is the relevant architecture for building the Docker container.  The Scores-Service UI and the Scores Core Service will run in the Docker container locally. The Cloudant service still runs on IBM Cloud.

scores-service-docker

 

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How to prepare for a Hackathon with IBM Cloud?

Today I want to address a common situation for developers: You want to participate in a hackathon, and you plan to use IBM Cloud, but you have never used it before. How to prepare? My motivation to write this: I will support the hacknext hackathon from 7-9 March 2019 in Munich as a coach. (http://ibm.biz/ibm4hacknext)
IBM Cloud provides a huge amount of different services, runtimes, and so on.
BTW (by the way): From my point of view, one of the most important objectives in a hackathon is, running your created application live! To do this you need a runtime 😉

Let’s start with the basics

Let’s get a basic understanding of what the major areas in IBM Cloud are and where to find how to’s?

IBM Cloud offers a good entry point with the getting started page , which is organized into these different topics:

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#BlueCloudMirror Game – highscores

I am a part of the team along with @Niklas and @Harald , who created and developed the fun Blue Cloud Mirror Game. 

game

This is my first blog  about this topic, and I will follow with future posts to detail the different parts of highscores (scores) and the technologies and components involved.

You can also take a look at other existing information:

The motivation for the highscores (scores)

If you play a game, you usually want to compare yourself with others. To do this, you simply have to save scoring information somewhere and provide access for the players who want to see the highscores, even if they do not play the game.

The high-level architecture overview on scores

The objective was to implement this on the cloud with state-of-the-art runtimes, services, security topics, to cover microservices, and to have an easy scalable cloud architecture.
I developed the scores part and the functions-api for users.

scores-architecture

The Game, Scores Service UI and the Highscores webapp are hosted on different runtimes and for the execution they will be loaded into a browser.

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Cloud Foundry on top of Kubernetes @IBM Cloud – a small test

This blog is related to the topics Cloud Foundry Enterprise Environment , serverless , code patterns and the IBM Coder Program.

I just want to move an existing Cloud Foundry app on IBM Cloud to the new IBM Cloud Foundry Enterprise Environment,which instantiates Cloud Foundry on top of Kubernetes. You can find more details about this IBM Cloud offering in this blog post “An on-demand, single-tenant Platform-as-a-Service on IBM Cloudfrom IBM.

Motivation

Maybe you noticed the section Combined Power in my blog post Operations and Developers side by side @“Continuous Lifecycle” and “Container Conf” related to Simon Moser’s session CF3 – Combining the Power of Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes” ? In this blog post you can read more about the motivation to combine the power.  Also you can find out which open source projects ( eirini for example) are relevant.

Based on  Simon Moser´s speech, I was motivated to check out the Cloud Foundry Enterprise Environment on IBM Cloud.

I started my test of moving an existing Could Foundry App. I have chosen to move the app instance from one of my modified code patterns . My selection was the Predictive Industrial Visual Analysis. This code pattern has a big focus on serverless, but I will write more about the serverless part in the near future.

Let’s get started: How do I move an existing Cloud Foundry app?

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How to enter your promo code in the newer IBM Cloud UI? (UPDATE)

This is just a small update to my blog post Promo code and free Kubernetes Cluster @IBM Cloud specific to the topic promo codes.

Currently IBM Cloud provides two UIs to access the IBM Cloud.
But don’t be afraid, when entering your code, this will work for both of them.

You can access the newer unified UI, with more functionalities, via http://cloud.ibm.com and the traditional UI you can access with www.bluemix.net.

If you enter your promo code in the newer UI just follow these steps:

  • Open Manage->Account in the IBM Cloud UI menu
  • In Account select Account settings
  • Here you can enter your promo code in Feature (Promo) Codes

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The creation of the free Kubernetes Cluster has not changed.

I hope this was useful for you and let’s see what’s next?

Greetings,

Thomas

#ibmdeveloper #promocode #ibmcloud #free #ibmcloudiu

 

Operations and Developers side by side @“Continuous Lifecycle” and “Container Conf”

Niklas Heidloff  and I  attended the combined software development conference for “Continuous Lifecycle”and “Container Conf” in Mannheim Rosengarten on 14.11. and 15.11.2018.

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The conference was sold out and had more than 700 attendees. This was a great place where developer and operation experts exchanged different perspectives.

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The talks at the conference were about Micro Services, Docker, Serverless, Tools, Security, Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes, and methods and more.

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Let‘s Code Pattern 02: Diversity and Inclusion – ensure loan fairness

The good combination of IBM coder program  and code patterns motivated me to dig in into the data science area a little bit, relating to the real-world topic diversity and inclusion . Also it was interesting to see: How the AI Fairness 360 toolkit, which is an open-source library to help detect and remove bias in machine learning models, can be used for data science in this context.

The diversity and inclusion topic started with a good statement:

Diversity and inclusion is more than a checkbox, it’s fuel for growth and success in any business or community.” IBM Coder Program.

This was one reason why I completed the challenges of the Diversity and Inclusion topic in the IBM coder program .

The IBM coder program

If you don’t know the IBM coder program, just visit this  link .
The program is about:

  • Growing skillset and reputation
  • Discovering and transparently discuss content 
  • Being rewarded with various tangible and intangible rewards

The code pattern Ensure loan fairness  was one of the challenges for Diversity and Inclusion topic.

Code pattern “Ensure loan fairness”

This code pattern is about machine learning with artificial intelligence, data science and python. It gives an introduction in how to use the AIF360 tool kit .

  • “The AI Fairness 360 toolkit is an open-source library to help detect and remove bias in machine learning models. The AI Fairness 360 Python package includes a comprehensive set of metrics for datasets and models to test for biases, explanations for these metrics, and algorithms to mitigate bias in datasets and models.“

In the related demo on IBM research-trusted UI, you can verify given ai models with different datasets and the bias mitigation algorithms .

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