A little Asyncy story

Like every December, I was looking for a job. I have the tendency to leave around the end of the year, except this time I was fired one month before I planned to leave and was not paid the last month. Local job offers in Brno where leading nowhere and I started to look at remote positions.

Out of these, I met Steve Peak from a job posting on Angellist. Steve had a very rough idea of a Python-like language matching expressions to docker containers. The language was called Storyscript, and the platform running it Asyncy.

I liked the idea, so I joined the project and started working on the first version of the runner, the piece of software that would read a compiled Storyscript file and then run the corresponding container with the given arguments. Storyscript was designed to be independent of the runner, and be reusable across runners. For example, the same Storyscript code could theoretically run not only on Asyncy, but also in other contexts, like a game engine or on a local system.

Over the next three months, we cleared technical uncertainties and iterated over the runner a to make it work with the basic Storyscript syntax. Now the Storyscript compiler would parse files, compile them to JSON and the runner would take that JSON and run the container. The user only had to interface with the Asyncy command line, so was spared from the extra step going on under the hood.

As we made progress and cleared technical uncertainties, Josh joined devops and Whitney operations. Storyscript and Asyncy were great, but only in our minds and Steve figured we'd need users feedback as early as possible, so we arranged a small presentation at the end of March to introduce them to other techies and coders.

In the meanwhile, I had moved to Lisbon. I was flown to Amsterdam for the presentation and to meet Steve, Josh and Whitney. A rainy Amsterdam and amazing people made the trip terrific. The presentation went very well, with Asyncy and Storyscript getting praise and admiration.

However, Storyscript and Asyncy were far from ready, and we transitioned to the next stage: rewriting the Storyscript parser to allow for more complex syntax constructs that were not easy to implement back then. While I worked on Storyscript, Jude joined and took ownership of the runner. Josh and Steve realized the need to standardize microservices declaration and started a spin-off project, the Open Microservice Guide, or OMG. Tom would join to work on the OMG along Josh.

At some point, Asyncy moved to Kubernetes: that was the last major technological change happening while I was there. The rest of the summer and autumn where spent implementing all the features we planned.

The next presentation was going to be at the WebSummit, which happens in Lisbon every year at the beginning of November, so I got to show around the team. In the meanwhile, Melanie did join marketing, Ayda design and Jean frontend.

After rocking the WebSummit and Lisbon - looking at you Tom! - Storyscript and Asyncy where out of the conceptual phase: it was time to wrap them up, fix bugs and launch.

During winter Sebastian joined as Storyscript maintainer. Not much else happened; I left in early 2019 to look for new challenges - but that's another story.

After I left, Asyncy rebranded and started to use Storyscript for both the language and the platform (so if you were confused on where did Asyncy end up, here you go).