Monitor progress of your Keras based neural network using Tensorboard

In the past few weeks I’ve been breaking my brain over a way to automatically answer questions using a neural network. I have a working version, but debugging a neural network is a nightmare.

Neural networks by their very nature are hard to reason about. You can’t really find out how or why something happened in a neural network, because they are too complex for that. Also, there’s a real art to selecting the right number of layers, the right number of neurons per layers and which optimizer you should use.

There is however a great tool, called Tensorboard that makes things a little easier and it works with Keras, a higher level neural network library that I happen to use.

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A modern stack for data analysis in a microservice world

The face of enterprise solutions is changing rapidly. We are making smaller solutions at a larger scale by deploying microservice architectures. This brings many advantages to developers and customers because solutions become more flexible to change and scale better. Microservices also bring a number new of challenges. Especially for companies that want insight in how their business is doing.

Since data is no longer coming from one source, but from many sources and since data is no longer of a uniform shape you need a solution that is up to the challenge. Processing data in a microservice world requires a stack that can process streams, unstructured data and structured data. And it should do it fast.

In this post I will show what a modern data analysis stack looks like and how you can use open source tools to setup a modern data analysis solution in your company.

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How-to: Experiment with tensorflow in an interactive notebook

I’ve always wanted to build something with tensorflow. I have one demo lying around with tensorflow, but never got around to develop something for real with this framework.

Although tensorflow has a lot of samples available and documentation to get you going, it’s not that easy to build something real with it. To make it easier for me to experiment with it I’ve come up with a combination of tools that allow you to experiment with tensorflow using interactive python notebooks.

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Authorize access to your Play application using action builders and action functions

When you think about Scala web applications you’re probably thinking Play. This framework to me is the de facto standard for building web applications in Scala. It offers a great set of features that make it really easy to build web applications.

The framework looks very similar to Rails and ASP.NET Core. I think it has the great things of both and adds more on top of that by enabling Akka actors and a functional programming style that I find more logical to use these days.

One thing that ASP.NET Core and other frameworks have that Play doesn’t have is a proper set of authorization classes and interfaces. Sure there’s deadbolt and play-authenticate. But I found that deadbolt is a bit hard to use. There’s a lot of stuff you have to do to secure your app.

In this post I will show you how you can secure access to your app using a basic set of action builders and action filters.

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ASP.NET Core debugging tips for Visual Studio Code

These days I run a Windows laptop with Visual Studio on it, but at home I still have a great Mac Machine purring away in my home office. I like that machine since it has a huge display (27 inches) and I find Mac OS still better to use then Windows.

From time to time I like to work on a side project on my Mac. These days I’m building a small web application to keep track of session proposals I sent out. I’m building this using ASP.NET Core and Visual Studio Code.

Visual Studio Code is a great editor for writing .NET core code in C# or F# for that matter. There are however a few little things that trip me up every time I try to debug my code.

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How to write ATDD tests with cucumber-js, protractor and typescript

ATDD (Acceptance Test Driven Development) has been around for a while now. I use it quite a lot on projects that I work on. It helps me and others translate requirements into automated tests with the minimum amount of ceremony. We can talk to users about what they want and write that down in a format that they understand and we can automate.

One of the ways in which I use ATDD is with AngularJS. There is an end-to-end testing tool for AngularJS called Protractor that supports writing ATDD tests using a testframework called cucumber-js. It works pretty well with just javascript, but since we use Typescript a lot more now I figured, why not use typescript for cucumber tests as well?

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