Updated: How to prepare for a Hackathon with IBM Cloud?

In this new blog post 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? So I created a newer version of my older blog post: How to prepare for a Hackathon with IBM Cloud 

IBM Cloud provides a huge amount of different services, runtimes, and more. From my point of view, one of the most important objectives in a hackathon is:

Run your developed application instance live! To do this you need a runtime ūüėČ

Let’s start with the basics

Let’s get a basic understanding of what does IBM Cloud provide and where to find how to‚Äôs?

The IBM Cloud catalog gives you an entry point to find Cloud Services, Software and Consulting, which are organized by different categories.

IBM Cloud has a very good entry point for new users with the getting started page. The page is structure in five major steps.

ibmcloud-starting-point
  1. Explore IBM Cloud
  2. See cloud essentials
  3. Start building
  4. Helpful resources
  5. Get community support

The gif below shows the navigation going through the different steps on the getting started page.

ibmcloud-get-starter

Free online trainings

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Run a PostgreSQL container as a non-root user in OpenShift

In this blog post I want to point out a simple topic: How to run a simple PostgreSQL Docker image as a non-productive container in OpenShift? As you maybe know, OpenShift doesn’t allow by default to run container images as root.

The image below shows the result of the simply deployed postgreSQL image from dockerhub.

postgres openshift root user ibmcloud

It’s possible to enable images to run as root on OpenShift, that’s documented in the OpenShift documentation here, by adding a service account.

But, in this blog post we choose an alternative way, where we don’t change the security in OpenShift, here we will customize the postgreSQL Docker image a bit. We will follow the steps to create a postgreSQL database on OpenShift, along the creation of the database called postgreSQL database-articles for the Cloud Native Starter reactive example .

These are the major steps:

  1. Write the specifications and configurations  for:
    1. … the Dockerfile
    2. … the  yaml with a Kubernetes Deployment and a Kubernetes Service specification
  2. Execute the oc CLI commands to:
    1. … create a OpenShift project
    2. … create a OpenShift build configuration
    3. … start the build
    4. … apply the Deployment and Service specification
    5. … expose the Service

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Setup a MongoDB in less than 4 min on a free IBM Cloud Kubernetes cluster at a Hackathon

In this blog post I want to highlight that I just created a GitHub project and a 10 min YouTube video to “How to setup mongoDB in less than 4 min on a free IBM Cloud Kubernetes cluster at a Hackathon”.

My objective is to provide a small guide, how to setup a MongoDB server and Mongo UI (Mongo-Express)  on a free IBM Cloud Kubernetes cluster and when you don’t want to use the existing MongoDB service on IBM Cloud.

On the free IBM Cloud Kubernetes cluster:  No persistent volume claims are used. So, keep in mind, if your Pod in Kubernetes crashes the data of the database is lost.

Based on the “security feature” of the MongoDB default port 27017, you need to run the application to access the MongoDB server in the Kubernetes cluster .

In other words, your UI application has to access the database with a server application, which also runs on the free Kubernetes cluster (like the Mongo UI (Mongo-Express)  in that example here). You should implement a backend for frontend architecture.

The YouTube video shows the setup and a description how it works.

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Create a python application instance in less than 5 min on IBM Cloud

In that blog post I want to highlight the cool topic: How to create a python application instance in minutes on IBM Cloud, using public Cloud Foundry. This could be useful in a Hackathon with Hackers who are new to IBM Cloud. Therefore I made a short 5 min YouTube video.

Here is the link where you can create your own python instance: https://cloud.ibm.com/catalog/starters/cloud-foundry?runtime=python

Just create your own free IBM Cloud Lite Account and try it out, therefore you only need an e-mail address and no credit card.

These are my related blog posts to the topic Hackathon:


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

Greetings,

Thomas

PS:  You can also try out Kubernetes on IBM Cloud.

#IBMDeveloper, #IBMCloud, #python, #hackathon, #cloudfoundry

Run a Docker image as a Cloud Foundry App on IBM Cloud

In that blog post I want to point out an awesome topic: “Run a Docker container image as a Cloud Foundry App on IBM Cloud”

Rainer Hochecker, Simon Moser and I had an interesting exchange about running a Docker image as a Cloud Foundry App on IBM Cloud.

The advantage with that approach is: you don’t need to instantiate a Kubernetes or OpenShift cluster. You can just run a single Docker image with your single application on IBM Cloud. That can be useful in different situations where you need to control the contents of your application, and the cloud foundry build-pack mechanism maybe restricts you.

IBM offers to run Cloud Foundry Apps on IBM Cloud and supports a set of build packsBut, by the fact IBM uses Cloud Foundry, you can also upload a Docker image as a Cloud Foundry application, it’s an officially supported feature. Yes there is no documentation related to that topic in the IBM Cloud documentation, but you can apply the Cloud Foundry documentation.

One impact of that situation is, you don’t see the VCAP variables and you can’t use the out of the box binding for IBM Cloud services. You have to manage the bindings to your IBM Cloud services by yourself.  

Let’s start with a short guide: How to setup a Cloud Foundry application using a Docker image.

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COVID19 communication starter kit for the Call for Code challenge

In this blog post I want to point out the awesome COVID19 communication starter kit for the Call for Code challenge. I created a small YouTube Video series following a COVID19 starter kit tutorial with the objective to show and talk: “More about the how and not so much about the why”.

 

I selected the tutorial Create a crisis communication chatbot and connect it to news and COVID-19 data sources for my video series on YouTube.

Note: Here is the YouTube video series link for LinkedIn users ;-), because I notice in the LinkedIn Mobile App it seems, it isn’t possible to access the embedded YouTube video in the blog post.

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A Node-RED Twitter-follower-flow

In my last blog post I did an introduction to “how use the starter kit for Node-RED on IBM Cloud” and in this new blog post I want to highlight the Node-RED Twitter-follower-flow I developed as an introduction to different topics I frequently face at hackathons. Here is the link to the “Twitter-follower-flow” GitHub project. Node-RED is very good for prototyping, that is the reason why it is often used in hackathons. If you are new to Node-RED and you start¬† to develop a Node-RED flow, you normally have following challenges:

  • How to ‚Ķ
    1. … define own REST endpoints to encapsulate an external API?
    2. … automate the authentication to that external API?
    3. … extract data from the external API?
    4. … customize data and CRUD with databases?

The Node-RED flow of that project has the objective to provide an (little advanced) introduction to the first three topics above. The CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) topic is not covered here. Visit that CRUD example for more information.

  • The ‚ÄúTwitter-follower-flow‚ÄĚ example ‚Ķ
    • ‚Ķ uses open technologies (Node-RED is a Project of the OpenJS foundation )
    • ‚Ķ creates no additional costs
    • ‚Ķ has following technical level:
      • Beginner to intermediate
      • Needs a basic knowledge of JavaScript and REST
    • ‚Ķ takes 30 – 45 min to setup the example from scratch
      1. Register on IBM Cloud
      2. Create a Node-RED instance on IBM Cloud
      3. Register at Twitter for a developer API Account
      4. Copy the existing Node-RED flow
      5. Configure the flow
      6. Run the flow

The YouTube video below gives you a 13 min more detailed introduction to the Twitter-follower-flow.

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A short introduction of the Node-RED Starter kit on IBM Cloud for Hackathons

In that blog post I want to highlight the new way of the instantiation of a Node-RED application on  IBM Cloud with the Node-RED Starter kit. From my perspective Node-RED is a very helpful tool at hackathons. (just take a look in my blog post  How to prepare for a Hackathon with IBM Cloud?)

The Node-RED instantiation has changed and with the Node-RED Starter kit we can take the advantage of the capabilities of IBM Cloud to control the build, deployment and execution of the Node-RED application and we setup automatically all  development tools to work effectively in a small development team in our hackathon.

I want to provide a short walkthrough from my perspective and created a 13 min YouTube video in addition to that blog post.

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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.

By the way, you can use the IBM Cloud for free, if you simply create an IBM Lite account. Here you only need an e-mail address.

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 ‚Äď 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.

IMG_6066.JPG

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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