My book on observability

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Almost a year ago, I began writing a book about observability. I had a vision—a small book designed to explain the basic ideas of observability to devs and show how it could help them. Each chapter would have practical exercises where you'd try to implement the concepts in a real-world (ish) app.

I did it, sort of. I finished the explainer content in a few months, but then I had trouble with the exercises. My vision for them was pretty ambitious—zero install or setup needed; with one click or command,you'd have all the apps running with simulated real-world traffic and behaviour. You could then either try the challenge yourself or run another command to switch to the "solved" state and explore for yourself.

I made a couple of apps in PHP, JavaScript and C# for the exercises. But there was too much friction involved in setting up, integrating and running them properly. I and a friend brainstormed new strategies and started from scratch a couple of times, but nothing stuck.

Eventually, I decided the stress I was going through wasn't worth it (for a book I planned to sell for like $10), and called it quits. However, I recently realized that, even without the exercises, there's still some valuable content there (especially when combined with some blog posts I've published this year). I shared the draft with a few people and they liked it.

So I've decided to publish it for free. Link below 👇. Enjoy! And if you find it helpful, please let me know. I put a lot of work into this, and it's always nice to know your work is appreciated.

Observability Basics [PDF]


Hey👋. I write about interesting software engineering challenges. Want to get updated when I publish new posts? Just visit tntcl.app/blog.shalvah.me.

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