High-Leverage Development with Giter8 Templates

Oct 12 2017

Edmond Lau talks a lot about leverage in his book The Effective Engineer, a term he borrowed from Andy Grove’s High Output Management. Both are excellent reads, especially for programmers looking to maximize the impact they have on their teams. The term leverage gets to the heart of this. It describes activities that create a disproportionate amount of value. This feels like a much more elegant description than “10x/rockstar/ninja developer” or whatever cliche that stokes the egos of the programmer-gods. It places the focus on output, where it belongs!

Some examples of high-leverage activities Lau mentions include:

  • improving the onboarding processes for new hires via tutorials, documentation, and notebooks (i.e. labs)
  • creating tight feedback loops to quickly validate ideas (e.g. use a REPL or a notebook!)
  • writing tools to make you and other developers more efficient

In this spirit, I’ve created a Giter8 template to show how to create an SBT-based Spark project with the following accouterments:

  • utilities for logging and writing dataframes in common formats
  • configuration via Typesafe Config
  • building the fat jar via sbt-assembly
  • release support via sbt-release
  • support for running your Spark job in Intellij

This has saved me a significant amount of time in starting new Spark jobs or testing out quick proof-of-concepts. Simply call sbt new josephpconley/spark-seed.g8 and you’re all set! Enjoy!

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