Engineering Articles

Automating Terraform modules

August 25, 2020

Photo of Automating Terraform modules

On a recent project, my team identified the need to transition from a directory in our main DevOps repository that contains all of our Terraform modules to a discrete repository for each module.

Read more → of Automating Terraform modules

The new Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook

August 18, 2020

Photo of The new Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook

The 2020 version is now a standalone playbook that any federal agency can use to replace enterprise software with proven techniques from the world of commercial software.

Read more → of The new Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook

The problem might not be COBOL

July 10, 2020

Photo of The problem might not be COBOL

The government's problem isn’t using old code or older programming languages. The problem is often that they’re using code that wasn’t designed to meet the needs of people who use it.

Read more → of The problem might not be COBOL

Accessibility Camp 2020

April 20, 2020

Photo of Accessibility Camp 2020

This January, 33 Ad Hoc team members came together in sunny Orlando, Florida for the first Ad Hoc Accessibility Camp, a three-day gathering to learn and practice making our services more accessible.

Read more → of Accessibility Camp 2020

Dependency audits on JavaScript projects

December 17, 2019

Photo of Dependency audits on JavaScript projects

To help improve the security of our projects, we integrated a way to audit our application dependencies into our agile development process.

Read more → of Dependency audits on JavaScript projects

Launching a government MVP in less than a month

October 01, 2019

Photo of Launching a government MVP in less than a month

On behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, we recently launched a site for insurance issuers. We went from zero lines of code to a production MVP serving pilot users in under a month.

Read more → of Launching a government MVP in less than a month

Using feature flags and dynamic blocks in Terraform 0.12.x

September 24, 2019

Photo of Using feature flags and dynamic blocks in Terraform 0.12.x

With the advent of the new HCL 2 language in Terraform, I’ve been using the newly available methods to make the internal Terraform modules that my team has written more functional and less inter-dependent.

Read more → of Using feature flags and dynamic blocks in Terraform 0.12.x

What makes an API simple?

August 23, 2019

Photo of What makes an API simple?

Whenever you're trying to make something simple, it's important to think of the people who are using your tool.

Read more → of What makes an API simple?

Measuring a process’ memory in OS X/Linux

May 01, 2019

Photo of Measuring a process’ memory in OS X/Linux

I recently found myself needing to measure the memory usage of a program throughout its run time, and was surprised that I didn’t find a tool out there already that did what I wanted.

Read more → of Measuring a process’ memory in OS X/Linux

My view of OpsCamp

November 30, 2018

Photo of My view of OpsCamp

Internal company training events are often associated with boredom, long monologues, and Powerpoint presentations. My first Ad Hoc training event was exactly the opposite.

Read more → of My view of OpsCamp

Saying goodbye to middleware, or retiring homework for fun and freshness

October 25, 2018

Photo of Saying goodbye to middleware, or retiring homework for fun and freshness

Today is a bittersweet day for Ad Hoc Engineering, as we fully retire middleware, one of our Engineering homework assignments. Middleware was replaced in our homework pools for engineering positions by noclist.

Read more → of Saying goodbye to middleware, or retiring homework for fun and freshness

Ops Camp 1.0

October 17, 2018

Photo of Ops Camp 1.0

Ad Hoc recently held a two-day OpsCamp in Chicago, IL, focused on helping team members learn through sessions, activities, and simulations.

Read more → of Ops Camp 1.0

Validating business rules and building confidence through tests

July 20, 2018

Photo of Validating business rules and building confidence through tests

Digital transformation or legacy modernization efforts, while motivated by concerns such as finances, new technology, or shifting priorities, can be risky endeavors from a logistical perspective, and are often dominated by the needs of operations.

Read more → of Validating business rules and building confidence through tests

Why we use homework to recruit engineers

February 26, 2018

Photo of Why we use homework to recruit engineers

One challenge is finding a way to evaluate technical ability without an in-person technical interview. We do this by issuing homework assignments to candidates to be completed on their own time.

Read more → of Why we use homework to recruit engineers

Developer-driven focus management for single-page applications

February 20, 2018

Photo of Developer-driven focus management for single-page applications

This post will outline some best practices for focus management, and how it relates to accessibility.

Read more → of Developer-driven focus management for single-page applications

Video: Details on our recruiting process for engineers

February 19, 2018

Photo of Video: Details on our recruiting process for engineers

We recently conducted a session over video with potential candidates, and we recorded it so that others can get a feel for how things work.

Read more → of Video: Details on our recruiting process for engineers

Stop your (business rules) engines!

October 10, 2017

Photo of Stop your (business rules) engines!

One of the many surprising artifacts of the initial failed HealthCare.gov launch was a “business rules engine.” This was a new concept for most of the team that helped rescue the site.

Read more → of Stop your (business rules) engines!

Soapbox: DevOps with the Ad Hoc Infrastructure team

August 23, 2017

Photo of Soapbox: DevOps with the Ad Hoc Infrastructure team

Soapbox is an open source software platform for building and deploying web applications using cloud providers like AWS. It represents our take on DevOps-done-right.

Read more → of Soapbox: DevOps with the Ad Hoc Infrastructure team

R&D: BEAM clustering with AWS Auto Scaling

August 22, 2017

Photo of R&D: BEAM clustering with AWS Auto Scaling

Something we pride ourselves on at Ad Hoc is our preference to own the operations and maintenance for the things we build.

Read more → of R&D: BEAM clustering with AWS Auto Scaling

Needed: Full stack software developer for short-term, high-impact project in Sacramento

July 03, 2017

Photo of Needed: Full stack software developer for short-term, high-impact project in Sacramento

Ad Hoc is looking for two Frontend Web Developers for a project in Sacramento, CA to help the California Department of Motor Vehicles create a new driver license / ID card program.

Read more → of Needed: Full stack software developer for short-term, high-impact project in Sacramento

How to run a gameday exercise in complex, multi-product environments

June 21, 2017

Photo of How to run a gameday exercise in complex, multi-product environments

In my role as Senior Software Developer here at Ad Hoc, I recently led a gameday exercise for a number of systems we support for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Read more → of How to run a gameday exercise in complex, multi-product environments

Ad Hoc and the State of California

June 19, 2017

Photo of Ad Hoc and the State of California

Ad Hoc is actively seeking partners and team members in California, especially in the capital, Sacramento. We're looking to hiring software engineers, designers, and product management professionals for all sorts of positions.

Read more → of Ad Hoc and the State of California

Getting help, fast

June 09, 2017

Photo of Getting help, fast

HealthCare.gov has a service called Find Local Help that allows people to search for one-on-one help. This vital search had problems sustaining more than a small set of searches at a time.

Read more → of Getting help, fast

CPU profiling with Qcachegrind

May 18, 2017

Photo of CPU profiling with Qcachegrind

Presentation by Ad Hoc Software Engineer Mike Auclair on CPU profiling with qcachegrind.

Read more → of CPU profiling with Qcachegrind