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Ep. #78, Non-profit Open Source Orgs with Shedrack Akintayo of Cloud Foundry Foundation

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In episode 78 of JAMstack Radio, Brian is joined by Shedrack Akintayo of Cloud Foundry Foundation. They discuss Shedrack’s introduction to the JAMstack, how he engages his community as a Developer Advocate, and how Cloud Foundry is impacting JAMstack developers.

Shedrack Akintayo is a Developer Advocate at Cloud Foundry Foundation.


Brian Douglas: Welcome to another installment of JAMstack Radio.

On the line, we've got Shedrack from Cloud Foundry. What's up, Shedrack?

Shedrack Akintayo: Hey Brian, how's it going? Nice to be here.

Brian: It's a pleasure having you.

I've actually seen you on the internet, Twitter, coder_blvck on Twitter, and yeah, I've been following you for a bit, and you're based in Nigeria, correct?

Shedrack: Yep, yep, Nigeria.

Brian: Yeah, yeah. And you're involved in the JAMstack community.

You've attended the JAMstack meetups.

So what's your introduction to the JAMstack, and what piqued your interest?

Shedrack: So I've always been a big fan of JavaScript.

That was the first language I learned.

So JavaScript, like others, has been something that I'm always been interested in, and when the whole JAMstack phase came into the tech community, I was really, really interested because I was like, "Oh, so I could build applications without leaving the JavaScript ecosystem, right."

I could just have everything done in JavaScript without stressing.

I don't need to learn some other language for me, or a backend or something, I just need, only to need to know JavaScript, and I'm fine.

So that was what basically piqued my interest because I've been too lazy to learn another language.

So when the JAMstack phase came in, it was like, "Oh God, I'm sold. There's nothing else that I want to hear. I'm not going to bother learning some other language. JAMstack just has got me for life."

Brian: Excellent, yeah. And what's your introduction to the programming? Did you go to school for it?

Shedrack: Nah.

Brian: Out there in Lagos?

Shedrack: Nope, nope.

So there's really not much of an educational structure for programming here in Nigeria, so most of us from Nigeria actually had to learn stuff from our own.

Maybe freeCodeCamp, maybe W3Schools, YouTube.

So we just have to figure out stuff on our own most times.

Brian: Yeah. Which is fascinating because I feel like I've just been connected to the folks in Nigeria since I started programming.

Folks just either went through the programs, connected to JavaScript.

Chakra UI, I know there's a lot of Nigerians who help and contribute to that project as well, or at least I've--

They've told me about it, so I've been-- Just rub shoulders with folks who were just involved into the ecosystem, so it sounds like you just came up through the community that's been around you?

Shedrack: Yeah. Basically, the community, yeah.

Brian: Yeah. So speaking of which, you reached out because of your current employer, Cloud Foundry.

So you've been there almost a year at this point.

Shedrack: Yeah.

Brian: Can you explain for the listeners what Cloud Foundry is?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah, sure.

So basically, Cloud Foundry is an open-source platform as a service that allows developers to deploy their applications on Kubernetes as easy and as fast as possible.

I mean, there's this whole phase where a lot of people are saying Kubernetes is complex.

So one thing Cloud Foundry solves for you is the fact that you do not have to know Kubernetes so much to actually get the application on Kubernetes.

Cloud Foundry creates an abstraction over the complexity of Kubernetes and makes you just learn a bunch of commands, and your application is live on Kubernetes without you doing all the whole stress configurations that comes with it.

So that's what Cloud Foundry does for you.

Brian: Yeah. And I appreciate that too, that you're here to teach me about this, but also--

and the listeners as well, not just me.

Because I actually learned Kubernetes the hard way.

Literally, there is a repo called Kubernetes the Hard Way.

Shedrack: Yeah, Kelsey.

Brian: And it was legit hard. I knew what I was doing.

I kind of understood the concept of Kubernetes and getting a platform as a service into the cloud.

But I made the mistake of doing the tutorial on a Friday, leaving it running, and then by Monday or Sunday night, I think I got a bill because it was the end of the month.

Shedrack: Wow.

Brian: So I ended up paying $80 for two days of Learning Kubernetes the Hard Way.

Shedrack: Wow.

Brian: Which was insane because if I did that at the first of the month, I would have not even noticed that thing still running in the background.

Shedrack: Yeah.

Brian: So what you're saying is that if you abstract the sort of setup, the configuration, of Kubernetes, you get the benefits of it.

Shedrack: Yeah.

Brian: You could have your multi-cloud architecture but leverage Cloud Foundry, correct?

Shedrack: Exactly, yeah.

Brian: And is your background in the DevOps space? How did you get interested in this?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah. So I'm always like a big fan of learning.

I have actually never done anything relating to DevOps or cloud before getting into Cloud Foundry.

I had to sort of learn, and it was really, really interesting, because I've always wanted to go into the cloud space, but I've just been too lazy, so having a job that makes me learn this thing was quite interesting, and that's how I got into the DevOps space.

Brian: Yeah. And am I correct?

Are you a developer advocate for the company?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

So I'm a developer advocate at Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Brian: Yeah, and what a better way to advocate as--

While you're learning, you're advocating for the developers who also need to learn this.

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So Cloud Foundry is not a company.

It's a open-source foundation that is backed by the Linux Foundation, so I would definitely not want to address Cloud Foundry as a company.

It's sort of like a community. It's a foundation, basically.

Brian: Yeah. Honestly, I didn't even know that until you mentioned that.

I've seen Cloud Foundry around.

I've seen the articles and the documentation, but I've always made the assumption that it was VC-backed, or a striving startup, so.

Shedrack: Nope.

Brian: Actually, powered by the Linux Foundation?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah. So it's just like--

So the Cloud Foundry Foundation, which I work for, where I work, it's basically a foundation formed to take you up the Cloud Foundry community, from handling the repos, et cetera. It's all open-source and everything.

We are nonprofit, and everything we do is totally non-profit. We don't make any money.

Brian: Okay. Excellent. Yeah.

You reached out to me and then you introduced me to another one of your colleagues who built a--

It was a blog post, a tutorial, on how to use Cloud Foundry and GitHub actions.

And it was so well put together that I was like, "Oh wow. This company has got some really good talent."

And I say company ignorantly because that's what I thought. But yeah.

It's interesting. So tell me more about this Linux Foundation.

I'm familiar with it, but for the sake of the listeners who aren't familiar with the Linux Foundation, can you tell me more about what sort of projects are within the foundation and what sort of constitutes someone being part of the foundation as an open-source project?

Shedrack: Yeah. Yeah.

So basically, Linux Foundation actually is like a foundation that has a bunch of projects that are part of it.

Also, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is part of the Linux Foundation, which is where the Kubernetes project is actually incubated.

So the Linux Foundation is the foundation responsible for everything that has to do with Linux open-source systems generally. So they govern the board, the whole projects that actually comes through there.

So that's basically what the Linux Foundation do.

And there are members of the Linux Foundation, which are companies that actually sponsor the Linux Foundation.

So from Google to IBM, VMware, et cetera.

So yeah, that's basically what the Linux Foundation does.

It's a governing body for the Linux ecosystem.

Brian: Yeah. And I think some correlations too is also understanding that-- Because I've seen a lot of projects.

There's a lot of open-source projects that have got to the point where they are taking a good amount of funding, but they're also taking a good amount of contribution, and having that sort of structured, not moderation, but being the governing body as what you mentioned to be able to sort of like organize that.

Because once you start having some of these larger projects like Kubernetes, it can introduce a lot of chaos.

So having structure is really where the win is for the Linux Foundation.

Shedrack: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Brian: Yeah. So I'm curious, what's your take on how Cloud Foundry is empowering JAMstack developers?

Shedrack: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

So one of the reasons why I was actually employed to the Cloud Foundry Foundation is just to come and show the JAMstack community that this is what Cloud Foundry can do for you.

I mean, we've seen a lot of platforms be sort of JAMstack views.

So maybe they could have their front-end application be a JAMstack application, and maybe they want to scale.

They have a lot of users that want to scale.

How can they do this without going through the stress of doing this vigorous config or deploying on Kubernetes?

So this is where Cloud Foundry comes in.

hat finally makes-- It's very easy.

I mean, I know that developers spend a lot of time trying to make complex things easy, right. So that is basically what we are doing at the Cloud Foundry Foundation or the Cloud Foundry projects. Basically it makes developers, JAMstack developers, any type of developer, basically to deploy the application very easily and as fast as possible with just a single command, which is CF push. And your application is live on Kubernetes. You did not do any config. Write any YAML file. You're just installing Cloud Foundry and doing a CF push.

Brian: And what I understand, Kubernetes, the power that that sort of multi-cloud architecture that you can have, am I able to do CF push, but then choose where Kubernetes is pointing that to? So be able to orchestrate that?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

So basically, you can install a Cloud Foundry instance on any cloud infrastructure.

It could be AWS. It could be Azure.

It could be Digital Ocean, basically anywhere.

You just need to install a Cloud Foundry code for Kubernetes on that infrastructure and you are actually live deploying.

All your application is live deployed on any of these infrastructure wards.

Brian: Yeah. That's extremely valuable, and I think one of the biggest benefits of this is I don't want to compete with Microsoft or AWS.

I don't want to spin up my own clouds or set up my own network of infrastructure.

So that's definitely a good buy-in.

You know, what I do want to compete with is the other folks who are creating platforms as a service.

So if I want to be able to have my products work or my developer tool work in Florida, in New York in Washington, but also in Brazil and Lagos, Nigeria, and Japan.

I want to opt into existing infrastructure and buy into those cloud providers, but I guess what I'm getting at is the setup is usually where I usually fall over.

And I know it was a trend for a while where folks would build these massive blog infrastructure for their own personal blogs.

So mind you, if I had briandouglas.me, which is my blog, I could deploy that to Azure, and then have that on their Azure CDN across their node network, but also leverage Google Cloud and then also use Google hot functions.

And for whatever reason, it was back in 2016 or '17, it seemed like every developer was building up ways to get their blog on Kubernetes, and I think that's not really the use case.

The use case is for building Netlify or building CloudFlare.

Those are the platforms of the service that are really winning from these sort of technologies.

Shedrack: Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree with that.

Brian: So I'm curious, do you know any of the other examples of companies or products or types of products that are using Cloud Foundry?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

So a bunch of companies actually. We have companies ranging from Alibaba, VMware, IBM.

So IBM Cloud sort of have the Cloud Foundry offering called IBM Cloud Foundry.

So IBM is actually a member of the Cloud Foundry Foundation also.

A bunch of whole companies are actually using Cloud Foundry currently in production.

Brian: So I'm curious as you've learned because you mentioned you'd only been at the Cloud Foundry almost about a year.

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah.

Brian: Have you architected stuff with Cloud Foundry? Have you shipped anything?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So mostly demos.

So I just get out demos. We've done a bunch of demos.

We've done from Vue to Ruby applications, Mujeres applications.

We've done Django. We've done a bunch of architectures that-- deployed them all on Cloud Foundry for various demos.

So we have a Medium publication and also YouTube channel where we basically post most of these findings and also these experiments that we do, basically to make life easier for people that wants to start having basically Cloud Foundry and using Cloud Foundry.

Brian: What's the name of the YouTube channel? Is it Cloud Foundry?

Shedrack: Yeah. Cloud Foundry. Yeah. Cloud Foundry is the YouTube channel.

Brian: So I'm curious to ask what has been your experience in DevRel in the last year, pretty much?

What sort of activities have you done?

Because I think I'm personally interested because I know my DevRel career or my year has been quite different.

So what things have you done to engage the community?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So basically, I had to go back, and since most of DevRel before the pandemic was doing a lot of traveling, attending events, et cetera.

But now that everybody's at home, the way we see DevRel has actually changed.

So one of the reasons we have been able to connect with the community is basically doing live streams.

I've done a couple of live streams.

It's not funded for community like a bunch of people watching it.

And I'm trying my best to put out videos, put out on blog posts, basically to keep the community active, to make sure that people actually seeing, "Okay, this is what I can do with Cloud Foundry without necessarily going to an events to hear about it."

So that's one of the ways I've been able to engage the community.

Hearing out people that have questions, like trying to answer their questions on Slack, et cetera, because you have a Slack community with about 14,000 members, and we try our best to make sure that everybody's catered for.

Brian: Okay. Excellent. What's been your experience for the live streaming?

Have you been using YouTube or Twitch?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah. So we stream on YouTube, Twitch, and also Twitter.

Brian: Okay.

Shedrack: We stream on those three platforms. Yeah.

Brian: Okay. Excellent. I'm actually curious more of the DevRel side, too, at this point.

So you already have the Slack community.

Shedrack: Yeah.

Brian: But as far as the live streams, do you find folks-- what sort of format usually has been working for?

Because Cloud Foundry is a complex tool. It's always some pretty like--

It's making the job of using multi-cloud infrastructure easy but also explaining that in a live stream could be pretty dead.

So like what's the format that's been working for you?

Shedrack: Yeah. Yeah. So basically, for every single live stream, we always have a demo.

We always have something that we want demo.

We always try to create some demo before coming on live stream and try to simplify it as much as possible because we usually keep like 30 minutes to 45 minutes to do whatever I want to do and make sure that the message is actually passed.

So we have-- well, before every live stream, we have live stream notes.

So we make live stream notes on videos.

What to say and how to make whatever I want to see as easy and fast as possible to make sure that the audience is being engaged.

And also, the other thing for me that we are not spending too much time on the live stream, trying to explain XYZ.

So we try to do demos and we also have live stream notes before every live stream.

Brian: Cool. So, yeah. I don't know if you have anything else that you wanted to add about Cloud Foundry, but I was actually curious about the fact that Cloud Foundry is open source.

Other than the Linux Foundation, what's sustaining it.

Is there a paid hosted solution or anything like that, or is it all--?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah.

So Cloud Foundry is actually open-source, but we have like members of the Cloud Foundry Foundation, like IBM, VMware that sort of pay membership fees to sort of create their own offering of Cloud Foundry.

So companies like SUSA, VMware, and IBM, they have their own offering on Cloud Foundry on their various platform.

Before VMware discontinued Pivotal, so VMware bought Pivotal.

Pivotal is also a offering of Cloud Foundry, and VMware also have VMware Tanzu, which is also another offering of Cloud Foundry.

And IBM have IBM Cloud Foundry.

So these various big tech companies have their own offering of Cloud Foundry and do sort of pay membership fees to the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

So that's sort of what is sustaining the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Brian: Yeah, that's pretty awesome.

And it's pretty awesome that this tool is now--

There's a lot of folks benefiting from it, big and small, and that y'all are just making this available to everybody who wants to be a member or not a member.

So it sounds like there's not a limitation there.

Shedrack: Yeah.

Brian: That's pretty much all the questions I had about Cloud Foundry.

Is there anything else you want to add to the conversation to inform the listeners about leveraging this tool?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

So Cloud Foundry is basically one project, and we also have the Cloud Foundry for Kubernetes project, which is basically for people that want to really, really experienced Kubernetes.

Like wants to do stuff, wants to create codes, wants to do various things with Kubernetes.

Well, the Cloud Foundry for Kubernetes project was just released I think, last year.

And we're currently in production one and this allows developers to deploy and configure or customize their Kubernetes deployments basically.

Aside just the regular Cloud Foundry, Cloud Foundry for Kubernetes uses containers and also git packs to deploy applications basically any way you want to deploy that application and using any infrastructure.

So that's one that we can-- So there's the Cloud Foundry project.

There's also the Cloud Foundry for Kubernetes project.

Depending on your use case, depending on what you want to use, there's all these like tutorial contents for getting started with that.

There's also for the Cloud Foundry regular project too.

So anyone who basically wants to use it, always I believe for developers to try and see.

Brian: Awesome. So on that note, how can folks get started? Try it out?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

So to try it out, just check out tutorials on cloudfoundry.org, which is our official tutorials page where you can find most of-- you can try out stuff without necessarily installing Cloud Foundry.

We have various scenarios for that, and we also have a medium blog if you're mostly more language-specific.

So it's medium.com/cloudfoundryfoundation, if you want to see more framework and language-specific tutorials.

I'm going to leave the links with Brian to add it to the podcast notes, so in case you are interested, you can always just check it out.

Brian: Yeah. And I'm actually going to be checking this out, hopefully pretty soon.

I'll have to invite you on the open-source Friday, or you or your colleague, because I think it would be a good opportunity for a demo on the GitHub channel.

But I do appreciate you, Shedrack, for coming on and talking about Cloud Foundry and sort of educating us about the space.

Educating me about how easy this is to sort of actually approached this because I've definitely done the hard way, so I'm happy to use the easy way now.

But I do want to transition us to picks.

These are jam picks, things that we're jamming on. It could be music, could be food, could be educational resources.

So anything's open. But if you have any picks, you want to go ahead and go first?

Shedrack: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

So the kind of the music I've been listening to a lot recently is Pink Sweats, featuring Kehlani.

Song is like a jam. I sort of need to remember the name, but it's actually Pink Sweats, featuring, Kehlani.

At my worst. That's the name of the song.

Really, really good music. If looking for good symphony, that's really, really good music.

And if you're looking for music to jam to while working, Pink Sweats, featuring Kehlani, it's my big pick.

My favorite song right now.

Brian: Yeah. And I would also shout out your Twitter account.

Every now and then you'll drop like, Pink Sweats is somebody I've heard of. I've never actually listened to.

So I'm familiar with the name, but not with their music, but on your Twitter account, you do drop some pretty good artists and stuff like that, and songs that you're listening to.

So, I would recommend everybody follow coder_blvck on Twitter, too, as well.

Look at the show notes for the spelling.

Shedrack: Yeah, definitely. Please follow me. I drop fire music and I drop good educational tech contents too.

Brian: Yeah. Excellent. As well as just recently, I was watching your Twitter.

Was there a football or soccer match that was happening?

You were commentating on. Live commentating.

Shedrack: Yes, yes. That was last week, and it was really, really annoying. We lost the match eventually.

Brian: Awesome. Any other picks?

Shedrack: So this is for the JavaScript community.

There's this tutorial that I've been watching.

It's SVG. It's on Front End Masters.

It's around designing stuff with SVG by Sarah Drasner. If you're a big fan of SVG.

You want to learn how to use SVGs. You can just check it out. It's very, very good contents.

Just in case you want to do fun stuff with SVG.

Brian: Awesome. Yeah.

I've got a Sarah's book that I've gone through a bit.

It's funny because I skimmed it enough that I could pick up what I need to solve because I had to do some SVG magic, but I haven't read the rest of the book.

So I might just pick up the course and go through the course instead.

Because I probably sit down and do that.

Shedrack: Yeah. The course is really good. Sarah is a wonderful teacher.

Brian: Excellent. Yeah. I'm a big fan and I do have a pick. I've got one pick, which is invite me to your podcast.

If you're looking for a guest, definitely reach out.

I was recently on the 8 Bits pod. This is Chloe Condon and Brandon.

I already forgot Brandon's last name, but TheCodeTraveler is his Twitter handle.

For whatever reason, I forgot Brandon's last name, but they have a podcast that they've been running for quite a few months now, during the pandemic.

It's a sort of like a variety hour of bringing on a guest, talking about what they're happy to share and hosted on the LearnTV, Azure docs, Microsoft Developer YouTube account, and stuff like that.

But they also have a separate podcast as well that goes out.

And I was a super fascinated by this entire presence that they carried as far as the podcast, but also the production.

The podcast shipped shortly after we ended.

So I got a notification, my RSS, my podcast catcher, and yeah the podcast was live just shortly after the actual stream yard ended.

So if you're hosting a podcast and you're looking to level up or you just looking to be on a podcast, I highly recommend checking out that podcast because I think they do a really good job. Great production value.

Shedrack: Yeah. I will definitely check it out.

Because I'm thinking of also starting a Cloud Foundry podcast too.

Brian: Yeah, yeah. I highly recommended it.

Podcasts are a-- It's a long tail.

So you got to spend six months of not having a lot of listeners until one day someone goes and listens to all of the last six months' of content, and then you have an audience, but a lot of folks, they fall off pretty early on and then they wonder why it didn't work.

It's because you got to go a good amount of time before you grow the audience. Get a show to consistency.

Shedrack: Yeah.

Brian: But with that being said, I super happy to have a conversation and to learn more about Cloud Foundry.

I can't wait to actually jump to the tutorials and invite some Cloud Foundry people to future conversations to sort of get everybody so that decentralize the knowledge base for getting stuff on Kubernetes, I think.

That's where the win is.

Shedrack: Yeah, exactly.

Brian: Excellent. Well, thanks, Shedrack, and listeners keep spreading the jam.