Solidusconf 2017 Speaker Brian Buchalter

solidusconf speaker brian buchalter

Please give us a quick introduction for those who don't know you

My name is Brian Buchalter and I work at Tommy John, a menswear brand that specializes in underwear. I've been working remotely on Rails-based projects for 11 years and on Spree stores for 4 years. I live on a small island in the Caribbean with my family of four. For fun, I've recently started sailing and continue to prepare for my future career in a Beatles cover band.

What is your role at Tommy John, what does an average day look like for you?

I've always been a generalist and enjoyed a variety of responsibilities, so I play a lot of different roles at Tommy John. I am responsible for our store's AWS infrastructure, I triage issues for our customer support team, I write user stories and acceptance criteria for our dev team's backlog, I do acceptance testing, I'm the on-call engineer for Pager Duty, I provide rough costing estimates for our roadmap… all sorts of things. I also review all the PRs and keep an eye on what's going on in the Solidus repo too. Ultimately my goal is to keep my team engaged with meaningful, high-quality work at a sustainable pace so Tommy John can continue to grow as a business. I don't always succeed, but I know what I'm working towards! If this sounds good to anyone reading, ping @brianb in the Solidus Slack to see if you'd be a good fit for the Tommy John team.

How long have you been working with Spree and Solidus?

When I joined Tommy John, we were a Spree v1.2 store. Things were pretty rough in Spree-land at that time; especially in the upgrades. We slogged our way through to Spree v2.1 and started forking Spree and many Spree gems pretty heavily from there. After the announcement that Spree was dead and Solidus was to rise from the ashes, we made our way over to Solidus v1.2 and haven't looked back. Solidus is the core of our ecommerce system: order processing, product management, promotions, store credits, shipping, and much more rely on Solidus. We've got our own front-end, checkout, and plenty of enhancements to core and the admin too, but it's all built on the back of Solidus. Thank you to Solidus core team and the many contributors out there!

What is your talk going to be about?

My talk is going to be about how to collect application logs in a production environment and make the data searchable through an easy-to-use web-based interface. This talk came out of my own desire to be able to trace a customer's journey in our store so I could reproduce complex bugs. The heart of this logging system is Elasticsearch, which is kind of a monster. I'm going to assume very limited knowledge of Elasticsearch and introduce a lot of basic concepts. If you've never used Elasticsearch before you'll be armed with enough info to bring a great new tool back to your team like a pro. If you've got some Elasticsearch experience, you still probably learn something. I'm covering many topics at varying levels of details: shards, cluster health, index templates, filebeat, user permissions, the Elasticsearch API and Elastic's cloud-based hosted-solution, ElasticCloud.

What are you most looking forward to at SolidusConf?

Seeing the Solidus community in person and in a social setting is always energizing. Folks are genuinely friendly and make geeking-out fun. I'm also looking forward to Clarke’s ‘State of Solidus’ talk. There has been so much progress in the platform since last year's conference. I'm looking forward to seeing all of that hard work acknowledged and celebrated. There are still many challenges ahead, but strengthening our community is what will see us through those challenges.

Do you have any other plans for London?

There are all sorts of Beatles related things to see and do in London but SolidusConf is coincidentally timed near a special event: June 1st, 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the release of ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’. I'm hoping to find a way to indulge this interest to the max. Ping @brianb in the Solidus Slack if you'd like to join me in my adventures.

Sounds great! Thanks for your time!

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