Week 12, 2018 - Let's Encrypt Wildcard Certificates, Skaffold, GCP Interactive CLI

Let’s Encrypt has wildcard certificates and Google Cloud Platform released both Skaffold and a new interactive CLI.

Let’s Encrypt Wildcard Certificates

Let’s Encrypt has come out with a new version of their ACME standard. The most exciting feature of ACME v2 is that it now supports wildcard certificates. If you’re not familiar with the term, a wildcard certificate is an SSL certificate that covers all subdomains. So where a regular certificate can cover a domain like www.myawesomesite.com, a wildcard would be assigned to *.myawesomesite.com meaning that it covers not only www.myawesomesite.com but also other subdomains like welcometo.myawesomesite.com.

Due to the way Let’s Encrypt works, I suspect this wasn’t a high priority. After all, if you need to regenerate your certificate regularly anyway, most websites can do this for each subdomain separately. That said, there are still many use cases for it, so it’s good to see this ability added. Validation for wildcard certificates can only be done using DNS, and there are a couple of other small things you’ll need to take into account. I suggest reading the technical post that describes all the updates.

Skaffold

Google Cloud Platform introduced a new Kubernetes development tool named Skaffold. Skaffold can be used to ease your development cycle on Kubernetes and doesn’t care how you run Kubernetes, on a cluster that requires pushing to a repo or locally.

It has several useful features, such as automatically rebuilding and deploying a container when you make changes and assigning random hashed tags, so you don’t have to manage those during your development phase.

As is often the case, the project is still in early development. It might already be useful to you though in which case I’d recommend to try it out. The source code is on GitHub, and pre-compiled binaries are available for easy install on the major platforms.

GCP Interactive CLI

Google Cloud Platform had another release with a new interactive CLI. This interactive CLI is similar to to the aws-shell in that it provides a complete shell environment. Now, this is not the type of tool I like to use, as I think it takes more than it gives, but that is a personal preference. I’m sure there are plenty of people who are less finicky about their shell and for whom something like this is beneficial.

It looks well-designed, and regardless of whether or not you want to use this as your regular environment when doing work on GCP, one significant advantage of an interactive CLI such as this is that it will help you learn the various commands by way of extensive auto-completion and help. And it’s not limited to gcloud either as it works with various other GCP related commands as well, including kubectl.

Something extra

There are a couple of other things that I came across, but that I don’t have much to say about. Envoy, the open source service and edge proxy designed for cloud-native applications, has a new site where you can learn to get the most out of it. And Stack Overflow has released the 2018 results of their yearly Developer Survey, which is always interesting to read.

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