The NRE Labs project has shut down, and the interactive labs are no longer available. See this blog post for more information.
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Hello Again!

Hello! It’s been a while since we last spoke. It goes without saying that we have all had a tough year this year (2020), as the impact of the global pandemic is chronic, and far-reaching. So, before I get any further, I’d like to convey my best wishes for you and your families to stay safe this holiday season.

I’d also like to provide a bit of an update for where NRE Labs is at, given that things have been pretty quiet from the project for the majority of the time since April. The first thing I’d like to do is thank everyone for continuing to learn using the content on the site, and sharing with your friends - despite not having any major updates for some time, usage of the site has been pretty good, and its comforting to know that some have found the time to advance their knowledge this year.

There were a few fairly disruptive events that took place early in the year. Some of these were related to personnel changes, others were due to changing responsibilities. These kinds of things aren’t unexpected, but they do take a bit of a toll on mental capacity and the ability to keep up with tasks related to projects like NRE Labs. That’s about all the detail I’ll share on that front, but suffice it to say this certainly had a short-term impact on my ability to help move the project forward, and continue to foster new contributions.

Of course, as of April, the lockdowns started happening in force, and everything seemed to change. Not only did the nature of work change, but life itself. I don’t have to tell you this. On top of this, my wife was pregnant with our second child, and while I’m grateful everything ended up going very well, it was a pretty tough pregnancy for both of us. This occupied a lot of my focus from May-August, and then paternity leave for a few months after that.

This meant that I had limited cycles to spend on NRE Labs, and I chose to spend it putting Antidote and the cluster that backs NRE Labs through some significant upgrades. I ended up getting this mostly finished before I went on paternity leave, and decided not to rush these changes into the production site just before going on leave, but rather set up a temporary preview.

Once I came back from leave, I immediately started working on finalizing these upgrades (this ended up being a bit more work than I planned, as two months is a lot of time to fall behind on package versions, etc). I’m happy to report that this is nearly finished, and the changes I’ve been discussing on our forums will be moving into production soon. This kind of deep infrastructure-level refresh isn’t something that should have to happen very often, so I’m hoping this will allow me to return to shepherding contributions from others and putting out more regular updates.

I’ll be publishing another blog in the near future announcing the new changes to Antidote and NRE Labs, but I wanted to write this post first, to explain a bit about the situation, and to express my gratitude to you all for continuing to use the site and to share it with your friends and colleagues. I still have a lot of plans for NRE Labs, and it brings me a lot of joy to help others learn about next-generation infrastructure skills, as well as to amplify the great work being done in the community by fellow automation enthusiasts.

That’s it for now - thanks again, and stay tuned for some new stuff very soon.

– Matt Oswalt