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InfoQ Homepage Articles InfoQ 2020 Recap, Editor Recommendations, and Best Content of the Year

InfoQ 2020 Recap, Editor Recommendations, and Best Content of the Year

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Key Takeaways

  • Our amazing community has contributed a large number of articles, talks, and podcasts this year. Thank you to everyone involved.
  • Nine InfoQ Editors recommend some of the best content published on InfoQ in 2020. That's an excellent way to recap this year!
  • Download the "2020 Year in Review" eMag for a deep-dive into some of the most important topics and emerging trends this year.
  • Listen to the podcast "InfoQ Podcaster 2020 Year in Review: Challenges, Distributed Working & Looking to the Future" to hear how the InfoQ podcast hosts have coped with this year and all of the challenges and opportunities it has provided.
  • The InfoQ team is always looking for readers to get more involved. Please reach out to us if you would like to contribute to or join the community in 2021.

900+ news, 480+ presentations, 250+ articles, 80+ podcasts in addition to the eMags and the InfoQ Trends Reports. These are just some of the numbers related to the InfoQ contents in 2020. It's challenging to be aware of everything, especially in a year like 2020, where we experienced significant virtual fatigue compared to the previous years. Therefore, we have decided to compile a list of the best content in this article to act as a recap for 2020, with the goal being that you don't miss any of the most inspirational and most informative of the InfoQ content.

The following content was hand-picked by InfoQ Editors who recommended the best posts in their domain and shared why they were important. Take a look at their recommendations, add feedback and pointers to your favorite content in the comments below, and please share on social media using the “@Info” tag/account.

In addition, please check also the "2020 Year in Review" eMag and the podcast "InfoQ Podcaster 2020 Year in Review: Challenges, Distributed Working / Looking to the Future" for more software trends from 2020.

Arthur Casals - AI / Architecture and Design

Arthur Casals is the Lead Editor for .NET at InfoQ and a Computer Science researcher working in the area of Artificial Intelligence / Multi-agent Systems. His first recommendation is an article about how overstated AI is in the industry, and the second one is about the chaos testing reality.

"The Road to Artificial Intelligence: a Tale of Two Advertising Approaches": Lloyd Danzig takes a very sane approach to addressing the current state of overstated AI in the industry, explaining the problem and discussing its roots and symptoms. I particularly enjoyed the article's clean structure and the author's concise and objective writing.

"SeaMonkeys - Chaos in the War Room": Glen Ford describes the reality of chaos testing in a literally battle-ready scenario, in a context that pre-dates the modern trends and technologies related to chaos engineering. I always find it amusing how technology has a way of resurfacing and re-solving the same problems over time, and - considering this perspective - this article is an excellent piece on failure testing and hardware reliability.

Charles Humble - Architecture and Design / DevOps

Charles Humble was editor-in-chief at InfoQ.com from March 2014 to April 2020, guiding InfoQ content creation including news, articles, books, video presentations, and interviews. Humble recommends a great article that he calls the definitive guide for cascading failures and a podcast about Kubernetes being a platform for building platforms.

Cascading failures are failures that involve some kind of feedback mechanism. In distributed software systems, they generally involve a feedback loop where some event causes either a reduction in capacity, an increase in latency, or a spike of errors. They are a perennial problem in distributed systems. Laura Nolan's piece, "How to Avoid Cascading Failures in Distributed Systems", is pretty much the definitive guide for what they are, why they are so difficult to deal with, and how to manage them.

The podcast with Kelsey Hightower, "Extending Kubernetes, Event-Driven Architecture, and Learning", was excellent covering the extensibility of Kubernetes, and why it has become the platform that other platforms are being built on top of; creating event-driven architectures and deploying these onto Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) platforms.

Daniel Bryant - Java / Data Engineering

Daniel Bryant is the InfoQ News Manager and Chair for QCon London. He works as a Product Architect at Datawire. Bryant's best content choices show Java EE is not dead and explores data meshes' emerging topics.

The "The Road to Jakarta EE 9" article is a fantastic deep dive into the roadmap for the Jakarta EE 9 project. It is tempting to think of the Java EE legacy as a closed chapter in history, but this article proves this isn't the case!

One of my (many!) favorite podcasts of the year, is the one with Zhamak Dehghani where she explores the emerging topic of data meshes. The discussion focuses on the motivation for becoming a data-driven organization; the challenges of adapting legacy data platforms and ETL jobs; and how to design and build the next generation of data platforms using ideas from domain-driven design and product thinking, and modern platform principles such as self-service workflows.

Johan Janssen - Java

Johan Janssen is an InfoQ Java Editor, and he is a software architect in the education sector for SanomaLearning. Janssen recommends an article explaining the sealed classes in Java the best content in 2020.

"Java Feature Spotlight: Sealed Classes": Brian Goetz explains sealed classes and their background in a very detailed way. I enjoyed reading the reasons to implement Sealed Classes. But the article also describes the use cases and benefits. This makes the article interesting from both a theoretical and a practical standpoint.

Manuel Pais - DevOps

Manuel Pais is the Lead Editor for DevOps at InfoQ and an independent IT organizational consultant. He is also co-author of the book Team Topologies: organizing business and technology teams for fast flow. His recommendations relate to the future of Continuous Delivery and leadership changes for better organizational outcomes.

The "Sooner, Safer, Happier: a Q/A with Jon Smart from DevOps Enterprise Summit Las Vegas 2020" article provides a glimpse into the work of Jonathan Smart, who just published the book Sooner Safer Happier that I believe will become an immediate reference for organizations looking to effect actual change with buy-in from employees.

The "What Will the Next 10 Years of Continuous Delivery Look Like?" piece is a great write-up of an important talk by the authors of the Continuous Delivery book on what the next 10 years of CD might look like. Also, this piece is chock-full of references to useful resources on different topics, adding a lot of value to the reader.

Renato Losio - Architecture and Design

Renato Losio is an InfoQ Cloud Editor, and works as principal cloud architect for Funambol. Losio recommends two presentations: one video about chaos engineering in stateless environments, and a second one about edge computing.

We have been familiar with Chaos Monkey and chaos engineering for almost 10 years. But how does it work when running a serverless application? In this article "Breaking Serverless Things on Purpose: Chaos Engineering in Stateless Environments," Emrah Şamdan clearly explains how to plan for chaos experiments on serverless deployments.

Many predict that 2021 will be the year of edge computing. The presentation "Infinite Parallel Universes: State at the Edge" by Peter Bourgon is a fascinating recap of the constraints and advantages of designing systems at the edge and the challenges of state management.

Shane Hastie - Culture / Methods

Shane Hastie leads the Culture and Methods editorial team for InfoQ.com where he hosts the weekly InfoQ Culture Podcast. He is the Director of Community Development for ICAgile and is the founding chair of the Agile Alliance New Zealand. Hastie selects an article discussing critical metrics for managers and teams and a catalog to help people to navigate the complexity of working remotely.

Most organizations are very good at measuring the wrong things and optimizing for the wrong outcomes. The "Critical Metrics to Keep Delivering Software Effectively in the "New Normal" World" article tackles many of the myths and mistakes and points to a useful set of metrics that will help teams be more sustainable and organizations more successful.

The "Working Remotely: Good Practices and Useful Resources" article shows a catalog of resources to help leaders, teams, and individual contributors navigate the complexity of working remotely today. We're keeping it updated as new items become available.

Steef-Jan Wiggers - Cloud

Steef-Jan Wiggers is one of InfoQ's Senior Cloud Editors and works as Azure Architect in The Netherlands. Wiggers is an MVP, and he recommends two contents relating great launchings on Google Cloud and Azure.

"Microsoft Introduces the Azure Well-Architected Framework": Microsoft like Google finally followed up with AWS and their Well-Architected Framework available for over two years now. It's a framework with guidance and best practices to build and deploy on Azure. The focus is on five pillars similar to the other architected frameworks from AWS and GCP: cost management, operational excellence, performance efficiency, reliability, and security.

"Google Announces Eventarc in Preview": like other public Cloud vendors, Google steps up with its event bus service. With Microsoft and its event bus Event Grid and AWS with Amazon EventBridge, it shows event-driven cloud solutions have a key capability to route events. All support CloudEvents 1.0, an industry-standard supported through CNCF.

Thomas Betts - Architecture and Design

Thomas Betts is the Lead Editor for Architecture and Design at InfoQ and a Sr. Principal Software Engineer at Blackbaud. Betts has recommended two contents discussing questions around Microservices migrations and their consequences. That was a hot topic in 2020: 10 years after the rise of microservices-based architecture, we are starting to see push-back against this approach, and there is a growing interest in well-architected (modular) monoliths.

The "To Microservices and Back Again: Why Segment Went Back to a Monolith" piece is more than just a cautionary tale about why you don't always want to hop on the bandwagon, whether that's microservices or any other trend. Alex Noonan describes the evolution of Segment's architecture, what factors influenced the design changes, and the important analysis of what worked and what still needed to be improved. It's often difficult to get everything right the first time, but we don't like to talk about getting something wrong and having to reverse course.

The "Decomposing a Monolith Does Not Require Microservices" is another great piece. Sam Newman literally wrote the book on moving from a monolith to microservices. So hearing him say "don't do it" comes with extra weight. Instead of assuming that microservices are the answer, and plotting a course to get there, Newman emphasizes the importance of doing the right analysis upfront and seeing if less drastic changes to your system will provide the desired outcome.

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