Virtual Meetup, August Recap: POP With Tom Hatch

September 27, 2021 - Salt Project Team

What do we love more than Salt? The Salt community! If you’re looking to get more involved with the community or just want to learn more about Salt and its amazing automation features, attend one of our monthly virtual meetup events. At the August meetup, creator Tom Hatch dives into the fascinating background and concepts of plugin oriented programming, better known as POP!

Here are some of the highlights and insights from the event:

  • Who is Tom Hatch? Tom is a DevOps pioneer and creator of the Salt automation platform. He is a former member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and specializes in large complex systems. As Tom simply puts it, “I know automation.”
  • What is POP? Let’s start at the beginning: Tom begins with a brief history of programming paradigms, how they derive from mathematics and are the source of functional programming. Did you know the earliest designs of functional programming date back to the time before computers in the 1960s?
    • Tom stresses that the UNIX system from 1969 was a jumping-off point for POP. There is the philosophy that “if you write something small and simple, they can be maintained and handed off to people and work well with each other.”
  • Next, Tom lists the challenges of programming today. A few are listed below:
    • Limits of object-oriented programming
    • OSS scale issues
    • Test pipelines that are more complex than ever
    • Mythical Man-Month, or in other words, adding more software developers to a project does not necessarily mean a linear increase in software output
  • So, what is Tom’s goal with POP and the POP paradigm?
    • “Get closer to linear output relative to the number of developers that are available working on software.”
  • How is this achieved? Tom says you must revive the UNIX philosophy by:
    • Writing programs that do one thing well
    • Writing programs that can interoperate with foreign programs
    • Writing programs that expose consistent interfaces that can be merged
      • Bonus: If you want to learn more about the origins of POP, tune in at about 28 minutes for a play-by-play.  Spoiler alert, it wasn’t made overnight!
  • And for the grand finale, a demo! Tom runs a demo of Item, one of the largest POP code bases. Item is a potent configuration management system for managing arbitrary APIs and basically anything you want because, you guessed it, it’s pluggable!

And so concludes our amazing August Salt virtual event! If you want to dive deeper into POP, watch the full event here. To learn even more about POP or other parts of Salt, check out our YouTube series Salt Air and be sure to tune into “The Hacks” podcast with co-host Chunga.

If you’d like to attend one of our monthly virtual events or want to stay in the know on all things Salt, follow us onTwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagram and at the homepage saltproject.io. Want to take your Salt experience to the next level? Come join Tom and the rest of the team at SaltConf, our largest event of the year, on November 3rd and 4th. This year is going to be Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger than ever before! Registration is free and open on our website here.