Kubernetes cofounder launches programming library to simplify cloud native development


Building a modern, distributed application can be a tough problem to tackle, especially for new users. They have to learn how to program, then learn the syntax for all of the tools necessary, which is often different.

Brendan Burns, the cofounder of Kubernetes, introduced a new programming framework today that’s designed to provide programmers with the tools to create their own distributed applications by writing in the same language that they’re used to. It’s called Metaparticle, and it’s designed to handle the complexity of performing tasks like packaging apps in software containers, replicating them, sharing them, synchronizing their work, and more.

In Burns’s view, this is the future of programming, since developers only have to learn one language, and can work on the heavy lifting of creating distributed applications without having to learn the arcana of projects like Kubernetes. Instead of having people write their own bespoke configurations for systems, Metaparticle reuses primitives that are broadly applicable across many tasks.

“To this point, the construction of distributed systems has been artisanal, at best,” Burns said. “There’s a lot of leather and copper and hand weaving that’s going on as we build distributed systems. And I think at some level, as craftspeople, we like that. We like to feel important. We need to be in the business of mass production. It’s the only way we will scale to the number of systems that need to be built, and the only way, honestly, that we will build reliable systems.”

Burns showed a live demo of Metaparticle running a basic JavaScript application across four different container nodes, all managed by the open source Kubernetes orchestration systems during his keynote presentation at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in Austin, Texas.

The framework is currently compatible with JavaScript (plus NodeJS), Java, and .NET. It’s available as an open source project, and Burns encouraged people to get involved with the project and help expand it to other languages and new frontiers.

While Metaparticle has a valuable mission and the support of a high-profile open source project creator, Burns doesn’t claim to have a perfect solution.

“Because I will say that Metaparticle is an experiment, it’s highly likely to need adaptation, it may even be completely wrong,” he said. “But I’m highly confident that something like this will be the way that we bring cloud native computing to the world. To CS101, to hobbyist programmers, to my kids in middle school, this [sort of model] is going to be the way we bridge that gap.”

Disclosure: The Cloud Native Computing Foundation paid for me to travel to KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in Austin, where this news was announced. Our coverage, as always, remains objective.

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