Part of the joy and pain of picking the Top 5 is the embarrassment of options available.  If I were to go on and list all of the things that I think you should probably read each week on DevCentral this would likely turn into a top 72 or something far less catchy and consumable than the Top 5. As such, I encourage implore you to read through the goodness that gets most unfortunately left out of these lists by checking out DevCentral yourself.

Now then, before I get to the actual topics, I want to take a moment to welcome the newest DevCentral team member, April Spence. She’s the new community manager on our team and she’ll be helping us with community feedback and tracking, program management and implementation, and much, much more. We’re glad to have her and you’ll likely see her name start popping up on the site and related communications, so now you know who that is.  That being said, I’m happy to bring you my Top 5 picks over the past few weeks from DevCentral:

 

Restful Access to BIG-IP Subtables

https://devcentral.f5.com/Tutorials/TechTips/tabid/63/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1084388/Restful-Access-to-BIG-IP-Subtables.aspx

To start, Jason walks us through how to create our own REST interface via an iRule.  “Bringing out the big guns” is an accurate if perhaps slightly weak term here, though all of the guns brought to bear herein within the remaining 4 out of my Top 5 are likely to be by most standards “big guns”, so I’ll just say that this is one of the most impressive articles I’ve seen in months.  Not only is the concept absolutely hawesome, and some credit there is due to the great Cauthorn of legend, but the implementation and write-up were both spot on.  Jason walks you through how it works and what you might use it for, as well as prefacing the whole bit with an explanation of what REST is, which is great for the less programmatically inclined.  It’s easy to follow, interesting, extremely useful in many situations, inventive and just plain cool. I mean, the guy built an API out of iRules, how can you not love that? Read this, you’ll thank me.

 

Small URL Generator: Part 1

https://devcentral.f5.com/Tutorials/TechTips/tabid/63/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1086360/Small-URL-Generator-Part-1.aspx

Next on the list of “cool stuff you didn’t know you could build with iRules but are now super excited to hear that you can” is a short URL generator.  George flexes his brain matter to show that, despite being new(ish), he is by no means a newbie.  With this iRule you can perform bitly like URL shortening with the bitly bit. All you need is your LTM and handy-dandy iRule, and you’re shortening in no time.  I got the pleasure of working this through with him as he was building it and I’ll just say that you should expect many more great things from George.

 

F5 Friday: The 2048-bit Keys to the Kingdom

https://devcentral.f5.com/weblogs/macvittie/archive/2010/09/10/f5-friday-the-2048-bit-keys-to-the-kingdom.aspx

My biggest problem with Lori’s writing is figuring out which awesome piece to feature. This one really rung my bell, though, as it’s an extremely important problem that people are beginning to face and will continue to find cropping up more and more thanks to strong encouragement by the likes of VeriSign, Geotrust and others. There is a significant impact that is going to have to be addressed as you start moving from 1024 to 2048 bit SSL keys and Lori goes through the discussion of that impact, some possible solutions, and even provides a checklist of things to get in order before the swap.  If you aren’t talking about 2048 bit keys yet, you’re likely behind the curve already and should get talking about it, this is a great place to start.

 

Custom BIG-IP Object MetaData With Data Groups

https://devcentral.f5.com/Tutorials/TechTips/tabid/63/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1086367/Custom-BIG-IP-Object-MetaData-With-Data-Groups.aspx

Joe is widely known as the iControl guy on our team, which is no surprise given his involvement in, well, creating it.  This means he generally has a lot to live up to when writing iControl articles. Fortunately for him, he tends to kick out the jams pretty hard when he gets his iControl on, so he rarely disappoints, and has delivered yet another killer example of iControl and powershell foo in this offering.  Joe delves into the concept of pairing your config items with MetaData that would allow you to easily store things like object owners, types, locations, etc. for reference later.  Perhaps you want to know who create which VIP, or what customers are relying on each of your Wide-IPs, etc.  While this isn’t currently something offered in the core config, Joe used his iControl wizardry to implement this using, wait for it … Data Groups.  Yes, those Data Groups, the iRules ones.  Using Data Groups to store meta data only to have it called upon by iControl without ever involving an actual iRule? Madness! Or is it genius?  Take a read and decide for yourself, I know where I stand.

 

Heatmaps, iRules Style: Part 3 – URL Filtering

https://devcentral.f5.com/Tutorials/TechTips/tabid/63/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1086368/Heatmaps-iRules-Style-Part-3-ampndash-URL-Filtering.aspx

So I have these heatmaps, see, built with an iRule. They let you get a really cool view of where your traffic is coming from based on the wicked cool geolocation data available on your LTM. That’s awesome and all, but you know what would be even more awesomer (yes, I just made that word up) still? The ability to filter those views based on a URL so you can see traffic to a particular portion of your site, not just the whole thing. The thought is that while tracking overall site traffic is handy, and still very doable with this iRule if you have no filter selected, it’d be amazingly useful to be able to track a new ad campaign, user group, site feature etc. by seeing who is accessing that URL and the origin of those requests.  What’s more, it’s super easy to manage, just add a URL to a Data Group, and it shows up right there in the interface like - *SHAZAM* - magic.

 

That’s it for this week, but there will be much, much more cool stuff to talk about in the very near future, so keep an eye out and I’ll try to make sure the Top 5 stays on track for your viewing pleasure.

 

Thanks,

#Colin

 

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