Intro

Some of you may have heard it through the grapevine but it’s time to make my plans known. I have founded a new website called Network4dev which has been setup by my friend Cristian Sirbu.

What is it?

Network4dev is a web site about networking mainly for people that are developers, systems administrators or that spend most of their time working on applications. The goal is to provide short, concise and to the point articles on different networking topics. The articles will stay at a technical level suitable for someone that is not mainly into networking.

Why?

In todays IT infrastructures it’s important to break down silos. We in networking must understand a bit about compute, storage, virtualization, applications and automation. It is equally important for someone working with applications to understand a bit about networking.

For people in networking learning about apps and automation, there are many initiatives such as Devnet, but there isn’t much available for a people working with apps to learn about networking. Most of the networking content out there is aimed for people in networking (naturally). I don’t expect a person not in networking to go after for example the CCNA or to read RFCs or IEEE documents etc.

My goal is to provide a resource where people working on apps can learn about networking without any blame or shame. This will also help in the discussions we have between the different teams in organizations. As a Network Architect I’m used to having these discussions and it will be helpful if everyone can understand each other and understand implications of doing different network designs.

Network4dev infra

The goal with setting this site up was to spend as little time on setting up the infra as possible. Use existing, good tools and spend the time on developing content. For that reason we decided to use Sphinx documentation with reStructuredText hosted at ReadtheDocs.

What this means is that when someone goes to Network4dev, the traffic first goes to a nginx proxy, handling HTTPs for the domain, with LetsEncrypt certificate, then the traffic is forwarded to RTD, which is hosting the actual site.

Workflow

All the Network4dev content will be hosted at Github. RTD uses webhooks into Github to pull the content (.rst files), generate the HTML and publish it at RTD. The Github project for Network4dev is hosted here.

Why did we choose this setup with Github and RTD?

  • Multiple users can contribute
  • Multiple users can work at the project at the same time
  • Version control
  • Use a good and familiar web theme
  • Get networking people used to the “network as code” way of working
  • Ability for users to create branches and forks
  • Ability for users to create pull requests
  • Ability for users to open issues

Using this workflow makes it easier to build a community around the site, and to make it easier to track what needs to be worked on, and spending more time on writing content and less time with spending time on for example WordPress.

Because this is an open-source initiative, anyone can contribute to the site, be it corrections, improvements, topic suggestions or something else, by submitting a PR. The maintainers will always have the final say what gets updated/included though.

We, Cristian and I, hope you are as excited as us to start building this community. To learn how to contribute, go to the Network4dev Contributing guide. Don’t be afraid to ping us on social media and join in building the site.

Introducing Network4dev
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