Development Thoughts

Gitlab MR Bot

I’ve recently write a simple merge request “bot” for my team. To be honest it’s more of a glorified reminder but hey, it works! I’ve done a slightly more technical write up at

Summary: It’s a bot that will collate all the open Merge Requests we have on our private and public Gitlab repositories, that have the Review Me label, but don’t have at least 2 reviewer labels yet, and send it to our Slack channel.

It’s been running since 3rd August, and in this post, I just want to note down my observations for the past 20 days.

The Positives

More people are actively taking on the role of reviewing the MRs. Before the bot our scrum master has to manually collect them and bring awareness to the team that there are MRs that needs people to take ownership of. But for the past 3 weeks, it seemed to have improved. Most of the times when someone ask for reviews on their MR, we usually have 2 people who take them up before the next reminder*.

*the reminders are set to run at 11am and 3pm (4 hours apart)

The team seemed to be quite receptive of the bot reminding them about the open MRs, the little easter eggs of encouragement seems to help with the team morale from time to time as well.

The Negatives

Hard to quantify, but the time taken for an MR to get approved seems to have shortened, which may indicate that people are more eager to approve and may not review as thoroughly. Case in point, I approved one MR that contains relatively inefficient code, that was pointed out my my colleague when she was working on that section.

People are taking on the role of reviewing but sometimes it slips under their radar and forget to approve even when all the issues have been resolved. I guess this is something that the bot can improve on but don’t really have a clear idea of what can be done about it yet.


I’m glad that I wrote it. It didn’t really take a long time, just some inspiration and inconvenience that prompted it. I am carefully considering adding metrics for how long an MR stays open for and all that. But I feel like this might create unwanted attention into our work so it’s something that I haven’t explore deeply into yet. But I think it would be pretty interesting!

Development Learning Weekly

Weekly: MySQL benchmarking

Been busy with work and life that did not have the time to explore new things. Or maybe I did just that I forgot. Either way, the plan for the weekends is to explore Caddy as an automated way for me to deploy my portfolio/landing page, either that or cheating and using Netlify instead. The current flow I’m using relies on Ansible to deploy the page, which is a little bit manual in a sense. Hoping to change that.

We started doing benchmarking on our DB because one of our search queries has been slowing down significantly lately, and it’s affecting our user experience. In order to optimize the performance, we need a way of measuring the changes that we were going to implement.

Development DevOps Weekly

Weekly: building CICD pipelines

The past week has been spent trying to build a centralized Gitlab CICD repository for all services to bootstrap and standardize on.

I’m happy to announce that it has been open sourced!

What’s a centralized CI? It’s basically a template repository for CI pipelines. In this case, it’s for Gitlab because I’m familiar with it and it’s what I’m working with day in day out.

This idea started with my previous project team, but is slowly maturing as I figure out the various cases that it might be used/useful and tweak it accordingly. What it has currently is more of a MVP and POC that it can be used across various projects on Gitlab. You know that because the versioning currently only support patch and not minor/major bumps. It has something to do with how my current team does versioning but it’s the top of my list for things to improve.

Currently there are 4 repositories relying on the CCI, 2 of which are external but still within my control. Features will be incrementally added onto it, and I hope that this could really be something that would help people reduce the amount of time/complexity to build pipelines.

Development Learning Weekly

Weekly: SG calculator

This is a side project that I’ve been working with my friend since last year but haven’t gotten many hours into it because … procrastination. But hey we finally have a MVP deployed onto Netlify and for the rare few people who somehow stumbled upon my blog, this is something you can check out.

TLDR; this is a quick calculator online designed to answer complicated questions regarding CPF and HDB (tbd).

Even though I call it MVP it’s really still an early alpha and we’re still trying to figure things out and add more features to it. So there’s a high chance that things will just break from time to time.


We decided to work on this because planning for finance and housing in Singapore is quite a pain. While there are many calculators online that can give you numbers that you’re looking for, nothing is as simple or specific as, “How much do I have to save to retire with XYZ sum at the age of N?”.

Development Learning

New personal pet project: Telegram Bot

So technically I have been working on my own personal projects now and then but haven’t really written about it for a variety of reasons. But mainly because there are stuffs that I prefer to do a grand unveiling of, or that I don’t really feel like it’s interesting/special enough for me to share.

Finally I have some inspiration to do something new and interesting (personally), with the inspiration coming mainly from work and the workshops that I’ve been to lately.

What I plan to do, is basically a extremely personalized assistant that would basically alert me whenever my services does something automatically.

The first of which is my automated torrent/flexget setup that has been working beautifully for over 2 years now. I also want a really easy way of sending new torrents for my server to download through the bot.

Secondly, I want scheduled information that would be useful for my daily routine. For example, since I go to work around the same time everyday, I would like it if the bot automatically tells me about the next bus timings without me having to check it. This could be extended with a custom app that can trigger actions base on my location. The whole point of this is just to reduce the amount of apps I need to open to get the information I want.

Lastly, I want to have important weather information alerting me when it happens. E.g. if there’s >XX% chance of rain, or if the haze goes beyond a certain PSI level.

For the weather one, technically the app I use already does it, and I know a lot of people have already done it. But this also means that there’s plenty of information to teach me how to do it, and it wouldn’t be that hard to implement it, right?

Oh and of course it will at least be slightly interactive, so being able to send some commands to get the information I want on demand. So there’s a pretty simple list of requirements and I would try to update the progress here as I build along.

So to be honest, it wouldn’t be that hard if I just go about doing this normally, but that wouldn’t be that much fun. Which is why I am determined to make most of this server-less, especially the API controlling the telegram bot. I’ve already sketched out some designs for the architecture which I’ll talk about it the next post!

Development Learning

Things I’ve been exploring

Haven’t updated this blog for half a year because… I was actually writing it in a private blog. It’s mostly incoherent ramblings on the new frameworks/languages that I’ve been learning, trying to sort out my thoughts the whole time.

But there are a few key takeaways from the past couple of months since I’ve started working at Govtech.

The project that I’m working on utilizes the micro-service architecture. Which everyone know it’s a buzzword these days. However, to actually implement it in the way that works out as well as the bigger players like Netflix, Twitter, etc; is a heck a lot more difficult than I naively imagined it to be. (will probably have a separate post about micro-services cause it’s too much to write about in a single post)

Here’s the list of technologies that we are using, and pretty much all of them require me to pick up from scratch.

Spring bootBackend framework
React Redux SagaFrontend framework
TerraformInfrastructure as Code
AnsibleIT automation
Kubernetes/DockerContainer orchestration
AirflowScheduler (haven’t dive in yet)

Because of what I’ve been working on, I have decided to revamp my January home server setup again. It’s still in progress because I can’t get my Kubernetes cluster to initiate correctly and it has been driving me bananas.

In this period of time I have also revamped my portfolio page to be more modern and doesn’t have slight misalignment that the previous layout had. The reason it turned out well is probably because I got tired of trying to do everything from scratch by myself and just used a well-known framework, Bootstrap. (Fun fact: It was built with pure CSS grid layout and ES6 generator functions)

In any case, I think I will make an effort to write here more often instead of dumping everything on a private blog. After all, sharing is caring right?

Development Optimization

Landing Page

Even though there are exams and what not, a geek can still eek out a little bit of time here and there for passion projects. It used to be blogger hosting all of my blog posts but ever since switching over to WordPress, I now have a “free” domain waiting to be used.

I finally created a portfolio site for myself, even though I’m not quite sure what to put on it yet. In fact, most of it is still work in progress but I thought it would make more sense to have this rather than a page that isn’t working at all.

Since there are only 3 pages, I wrote it entirely in HTML, hoping to convert it to some form of static NodeJS page in the future. However, I’ve employed all the new techniques I’ve recently, as well as some concepts that I’ve learnt in school.