Weeknotes #004: The prototype

What I did in the final days of September and first week of October 2020. [note:]…though actually i wrote this massively late and only published on 16th October 2020…woops.


Work continues on our prototype. This week I integrated our work with an existing application.

This mostly centered around wrapping data securely in JWTs before passing it over to another service.

We send this, as part of a form, via a POST request. I’d not seen JWTs being used like this before, but it’s proven to be a good compromise. It allows us to securely pass data to our new service, with minimal changes to an existing one.

I also worked on our feature flags and testing. Feature flags allow us to make changes to the existing service without disrupting anything it already does. Then when everything is in place, we can flick a switch and have it all go live at the right time.

The biggest difficulty for me here was testing. I found getting the right environment variables into my tests tricky and tried a few strategies, including mocking/stubbing and just declaring them outright in before and after blocks. In the end I went with what’s simplest, but i’ve since found out GOV.UK prefers using ClimateControl, I’ll have to go give that another look next time I’m writing tests there.


Second wave is coming on quickly, so we checked the restrictions and decided it was worth trying to visit some friends and go for a walk whilst we still good. I hate winter in the best of years, the idea of one with fewer changes to see people and the rest of the pandemic will take some adjusting to.


Still not a lot of reading, I’ve run out of Audible credits for the moment so I’m mostly catching up on podcasts instead.

The Attenborough lecture i saw last week has really got me thinking about wildlife film making, what it’s impact might be and the people who make them. I’ve started ordering loads of 2nd hand biographies of camerafolk. I feel like there’s a ton of great film critisim content out there (Nerdwriter, Thomas Flight, Royal Ocean Society, Every frame a painting - all great on youtube). Yet very little on wildlife films, with he exception of the awesome work of Vox’s Joss Fong from a while back.

I wonder why this is..?

Listened to

A buffet of current affairs podcasts. UK politics, the US election and SCOTUS, COVID. So much right now. Nothing jumps out, but podcasts are still my preferred way to get news.

Thinking about

| Huw