The Ancestry “Magnetic Containment Field” meets Docker

Posted by Harold Madsen on August 19, 2015 in Agile, Development, DevOps, Distributed Computing

In the TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” the magnetic containment field prevents contact of antimatter with normal matter in a warp core. If the field were to collapse or fall below 15% of its maximum integrity, the starship would be destroyed. This containment field was a very important safety system for starships (reference Wikia).… Read more

Robust Flag Enumerables

Posted by Chad Groneman on June 2, 2015 in C#, Development

Flag Day in the USA is just a couple of weeks away.  Flags are used to represent different things (usually nations or states).  While the things a nation’s flag stands for are more important than what flags in code represent, it’s easier to discuss how to use flags in code, so that’s what I’ll do… Read more

Scaling Node.js in the Enterprise

Posted by Robert Schultz on March 31, 2015 in Development, Web

Last year we began an effort internally at Ancestry to determine if we could scale out Node.js within the frontend applications teams. Node.js is a platform that we felt could solve a lot of our needs as a business to build modern, scalable, distributed applications using one of our favorite languages: JavaScript. I want to… Read more

Lesson Learned: Sharing Code With Git Submodule

Posted by Seng Lin Shee on February 26, 2015 in Agile, Development, Technical Management

You are probably aware of Git Submodules. If you haven’t, you may want to read about it from Atlassian and Git itself. In summary, Git provides a way to embed a reference to a separate project within a main project, while treating both projects as separate entities (versioning, commits etc).  This article applies to any… Read more

Monitoring progress of SOA HPC jobs programmatically

Posted by Chad Groneman on October 17, 2014 in C#, Development, Distributed Computing

Here at, we currently use Microsoft’s High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster to do a variety of things.  My team has multiple things we use an HPC cluster for.  Interestingly enough, we don’t communicate with HPC exactly the same for any distinct job type.  We’re using the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) model for two of… Read more

Big Data for Developers at Ancestry

Posted by Seng Lin Shee on September 25, 2014 in Agile, API, Big Data, Development, Performance, Technical Management, Testing

Big Data has been all the craze. Business, marketing and project managers like it because they can plot out trends to make decisions. To us developers, Big Data is just a bunch of logs.  In this blog post, I would like to point out that Big Data (or logs with context) can be leveraged by… Read more

Migrating From TFS to Git-based Repositories (II)

Posted by Seng Lin Shee on August 8, 2014 in Agile, Development, Inside our Offices, Technical Management

Previously, I wrote about why Git-based repositories have become popular and why TFS users ought to migrate to Git. In this article, I would like to take a stab at providing a quick guide for longtime TFS / Visual Studio users to quickly ramp up on the knowledge required to work on Git-based repositories. This… Read more

Controlling Costs in a Cloudy Environment

Posted by Daniel Sands on June 24, 2014 in API, Development, DevOps, IT, Performance, Technical Management

From an engineering and development standpoint, one of the most important aspects of cloud infrastructure is the concept of unlimited resources. The idea of being able to get a new server to experiment with, or being able to spin up more servers on the fly to handle a traffic spike is a foundational benefit of… Read more

Dealing with Your Team’s Bell Curve

Posted by Daniel Sands on June 6, 2014 in Development, DevOps, Technical Management

I recently came across this article on the INTUIT QuickBase blog and was intrigued by the premise. It asserts that inside any team or organization, you will have a bell curve of talent and intelligence – which most would agree to. It’s not a bad thing, it just happens. Regardless of how well staffed you… Read more

Find A Grave Engineering

Posted by Robert Schultz on May 21, 2014 in Development, Mobile, Web

Last October acquired a very exciting property called Find A Grave which focused on collecting content around the graves of family, loved ones and famous people. With the acquisition we wanted to take Find A Grave to the next level and provide the current users new and better experiences around consuming and contributing content.… Read more