I like to joke that I got into developer relations because I was the rare programmer that could carry on a conversation for more than five minutes. Like all good jokes, its mostly true -- I think one of the foundational abilities of the role is a strong ability to translate highly specific and nuanced technical concepts into something that's broadly consumable by other technologists or a general audience. I've noticed a worrying trend over the past couple of years about technical communication, however. In short, the gap between what people need to understand and what's being communicated to them has never been larger.Continue reading "Regrets of a Technical Communicator"
I'm knee-deep in production for Learning OpenTelemetry, releasing in just over a month. This is my second book, so I figured it was a good time to sit down and write up a couple of things I learned while writing this one, if only so when the writing bug gets me again in a year or so I can look back at this post and ask myself if it was really worth it.
Mostly joking, but writing is hard! There's a real balance you need to strike, especially when doing technical-but-not-documentation content.Continue reading "Lessons Learned from Learning OpenTelemetry"
I'm motivated to write this post as a result of several discussions I've had over the past week or so prompted in part by the announcement of Elastic wanting to donate their profiling agent to the OpenTelemetry project. One of the bigger challenges around OpenTelemetry is that you can think of it as a vector. It not only has a shape, it has a direction, and the way you think about the project and what it is has a lot to do with how well you understand that direction. There's the OpenTelemetry of yesterday, the OpenTelemetry of today, and the OpenTelemetry of tomorrow. Let's talk about each of these in turn, so that we can try and build a model of what OpenTelemetry is in a holistic sense.Continue reading "What Do We Mean When We Talk About OpenTelemetry?"
Ever asked ChatGPT about OpenTelemetry? There's a pretty good chance that what it spits out at you started out as something I wrote, years ago. When the project started, I picked up where I left off maintaining the docs and website for OpenTracing and built the first few versions of opentelemetry.io (seen here in late 2019), including most of its initial documentation, concept pages, and so forth. Little did I realize then that the project would become as large as it did, or that everything I wrote would get repeated across the internet on dozens of other documentation sites, marketing pages, and blogs... and I really did not see those words getting fed into massive language models, thus ossifying a lot of the concepts that I wrote about into point-in-time snapshots of what a lot of words mean. One of these words, and the one I want to dive into, is instrumentation.Continue reading "OTel TIL – What The Heck Is Instrumentation, Anyway?"
I used to joke that there were maybe fifty people on the planet that really cared about 'observability' at a philosophical level, and I still maintain that I'm mostly correct. Maybe you're one of them, but odds are, you aren't. This disconnect becomes very obvious when I look at the way that people prefer to use observability tools, and more specifically, the way that those tools build workflows on top of telemetry collection. In this post, I'm going to look at a few popular examples of this in the front-end space to draw some comparisons between the state of the art in OpenTelemetry vs. its incumbents.Continue reading "Telemetry Ergonomics"