Because of its open source nature, NetEye 4 combines loads of different technologies, which makes it impossible to identify “the” NetEye 4 Tech Stack. Based on RHEL/CentOS 7, most of the user-facing parts are written in, or at least proxied through, PHP, whereas there is no real common denominator for other backend services. This looks very traditional, however in the last year or so, there has been a noticeable shift in favor of two compiled, strictly typed languages.
Since the introduction of Tornado, our Complex Event Processor (CEP) we’ve fallen deeply in love with the Rust Programming Language, which incidentally was called the “Best Chance at Safe Systems Programming” by Microsoft a few days ago.
For us the main selling points of Rust that lived up to their hype in real use-case scenarios, were mainly:
This allows not only for seamless interoperability with legacy JS-only code bases, but also for much nicer IDE support and, most importantly, additional compile-time guarantees when working with types, resulting in overall a more pleasant-to-work-with and future-proof code base.
For the Tornado GUI and the Würth Phoenix Design System we use the Vue.js MVVM framework, allowing for a clean separation between the business logic with data and the presentation layer with presentation logic. This separation keeps the code clean and readable, minimizes side effects, and thus makes refactoring or future extensions easier.
Generally speaking, each technology gives us noticeable advantages when looked at in isolation. When you combine them and look at the big picture, however, there are synergies which have a positive influence.
The greatest addition for sure from my perspective is the strict typing from top to bottom and having verifiable API boundaries. We’re able to generate typed object bindings called DTOs such that in the case of a RestAPI, the exchanged request and response JSON objects can be shared and verified at compile time both on the frontend and the backend.
Obviously all of this comes with a cost, as the young ecosystem especially of async Rust lacks mature libraries. Also, the introduction of new concepts which come with each language will slow productivity down significantly for the first few weeks. This however is compensated for multiple times over by the significant amount of time saved by avoiding bugs.
For now this stack has proven itself to be a solid choice for our use cases. I’m confident that both Rust and Vue.js/TypeScript will grow in popularity, where wider usage will iron out their still quite rough edges.