Unlocking the Potential of Bits and Bytes: Reducing Data Footprint for Cost and Eco-Efficiency

In the age of unlimited storage space, we forget to consider the financial and ecological costs. Transmitting and storing data in XML, JSON, or (if you want to hurt people) YAML makes data human-readable, which is great for debugging and testing but is a very inefficient, heavy, and expensive way of handling data. There is a lot we can learn from projects where electronic components are involved. The protocols used in the communication with displays, sensors, and LED strips are all based on the magic ones and zeros.

Many years ago, I switched jobs from web development to a company building electronic devices for the rail industry. Suddenly I needed to understand the power of the smallest data unit we can use in software: bits. Yes, pure ones and zeros! We all know that #FF0000 will make the text red on a web page. But I never realized that the hex value #CB would mean that a train has two toilets, of which the first one is broken, and the second is wheel-chair friendly and occupied. All that info is presented with "1100 1011" in one byte!

In this presentation, we will dive deep into the bits of our computer and experiment together. Let's find out why our alarm clock wakes us up at 06:15 with #007D066D and reveal the meaning behind #3C42A581A599423C, a smiley face. With the use of Spring, Vaadin, and Pi4J on a Raspberry Pi - and some help of the "conference-wifi-gods" - we'll all together discover the magic behind bits and bytes. As a result, we may help our FinOps and EcoOps colleagues to make a positive impact.

As developers, we often overlook the financial and ecological consequences of generating, transferring, and storing massive amounts of data. Let's discover the power of the smallest unit of data: bits!

Frank Delporte

Java Champion - Author of 'Getting started with Java on the Raspberry Pi' - Senior Technical Writer at Azul

Zonnebeke, Belgium

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