Putting developerWorks Premium to good use

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Update: The developerWorks Premium membership program is no longer available. This program, which bundled tools, learning, certification, and event discounts, has been discontinued.

Last month IBM developerWorks announced a first-of-its-kind premium subscription model, developerWorks Premium. The developerWorks Premium subscription gives developers at any level greater access to tools and services for one affordable price. Think of it as an all-access pass to tutorials, conferences, libraries, events, certifications, cloud services, and more. You need to check it out!

Getting started with Bluemix is easy

IBM® Bluemix™ is a cloud platform that provides a developer experience that’s hard to beat. By using this platform as a service (PaaS), you can get an app up and running in four steps:

  1. Go to the catalog page.
  2. Select a runtime, such as Node.js, Java™, PHP, or Ruby.
  3. Type a name for the app.
  4. Click Create.

After just a few minutes, the public URL for your app is ready. That URL serves as your front end for the app. The app has a Git repository that stores the project folder. The folder contains files for changing the front end, back end, manifest file, and more.

Winning an IoT Hackathon with Bluemix and a cowbell

The fact that Bluemix is so simple to deploy to and use was definitely a factor in the success that my co-worker Colin McCabe and I had at the Intel IoT Roadshow hackathon. We won second place! We made a natural alarm clock by using the IoT microcontroller, Intel Edison. We built the clock by using Bluemix cloud with the Internet of Things Foundation. We bridged the gap between the device and program by taking the MAC address of Intel Edison and establishing a quick-start connection; we were also successful in sending data back to Intel Edison.

The project had the following features:

  • An alarm with cowbell chimes, which were powered by a motor and temperature sensor. As the temperature rises, the cowbells chime to wake you up.
  • Integration with Google Calendar. We created color changes based on how much time is left for a meeting. This feature eliminates the need to repeatedly look at the clock.
  • A snooze button, which you could press to stop the ringing of the cowbell chimes.
  • An SMS alert that the clock sends as you wake up. The SMS alert contains a math problem that you can solve to exercise your brain while you wake up.

The key services that we used were Node-RED, IBM Internet of Things Foundation, and Twilio. For an overview, see Winning an IoT Hackathon with IBM Bluemix and a Cowbell. For detailed steps, see Connect Intel Edison to Bluemix.

IoT Cowbell

The benefits of developerWorks Premium

The developerWorks Premium subscription offers 1 year of Bluemix, plus $240 USD in service credits and a $45 USD per month credit for SoftLayer®. SoftLayer is the dedicated cloud offering service from IBM. It is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). SoftLayer offers various products, such as bare metal and virtual servers, storage (block, file, or object), load balancing networks, and security in terms of firewalls and SSLs.

The Bluemix platform is straightforward and intuitive to use, but the certification exam that I took (IBM Cloud Application Developer Certification) helped me leverage it even more. The online coursework offers a comprehensive collection of hands-on workshops for all of the services in the Bluemix Catalog.

If you pass the certification exam, developerWorks Premium offers a complimentary Cloud Application Developer Certification. To get started, take the free online course. The course covers the following information:

  • Cloud service models and offerings, such as containers, Docker, and Cloud Foundry
  • The capabilities of the platform and architecture
  • Cloud Foundry command line interface (cf command line interface)
  • DevOps services, such as auto-scaling and load testing
  • Hands-on labs about services, such as IBM Data Cache, Session Cache, and Bluemix Single Sign-On
  • DevOps online editor
  • Databases, such as Cloudant, NoSQL DB, SQL DB, and dashDB

Examples of leveraging Bluemix services

When you know those databases well, you can enhance the efficiency of your app by reducing data-transfer overhead. You can import data from other databases, your local machine, or the app. Databases like dashDB have built-in scripting using R. They can be tremendously useful if you want to perform analysis by using a line or bar graph for your tabular data, as we did in Intel and IBM show potential of IoT to Seattle developers. For more details, see Data Analysis with R Scripts.

In student hackathons, I’ve seen services being put to good use. At a recent hackathon, one team used the IBM Spark Analytics service to create a map of words from Princeton to facilitate learning a new language by forming connections. Another team created a software that converts speech to text and then provides feedback on your personality. IBM Watson™ Speech to Text and Personality Insights were used for both. You can combine many innovative services and third-party APIs on Bluemix to make awesome apps.

Support is key

A virtual support community is key, and the developerWorks Premium subscription comes with great support. The Bluemix developer community offers videos, information about how to get started, information about upcoming Bluemix events, a Stack Overflow page, Bluemix Service Docs, the latest Bluemix news, and direct support from the and accounts.

This subscription is a solid offering. So far, I have not come across such a comprehensive subscription for such a low price. Learn more and sign up today! #dWpremium

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