Tag | Software development Posts

At the BUILD conference last week there was a demonstration of Project Spark at the end of the first day’s keynote. I was amazed and inspired by the possibilities presented by this game/development environment. The inspiration came from the fact that it could teach a new generation of Minecraft hooked kids to program. It could grab their attention and hold it with amazing graphics and at the same time teach them the basics of writing code. From everything I have heard there is a drop in enrollment ...
Over my career I have made a living as a generalist. I have been a jack of all trades and a master of none. It has served me well in that I am able to move from one technology to the other quickly and make myself productive. Where it becomes a problem is deep knowledge. I am constantly digging for the things that aren’t basic knowledge. How do you make a product like WCF or Windows RT do more than just “Hello World”? As an architect I need to be a jack of all trades. This is what helps me to bring ...
My friend Larry Calrkin did a whole series on Architecture by Baseball, but after going to a recent White Sox game I got to thinking about the how baseball mirrors my experience. For me it boils down to specialization, team work and leadership. Every team member has their specialty. Infielders have great reactions and throwing accuracy. Outfielders can cover distance quickly and throw long distances. There are starting pitchers who have great control and endurance and closers who throw nasty pitches ...
I recently had a potential client ask for an estimate of some work they wanted done. They already had a price in mind which I was pretty sure I couldn’t come close to. The reason for this is because they were comparing off the shelf, commodity type development to the custom development that it would require for my team to do the work. So does this mean that custom development can’t be the right answer if a subject area has commoditized? Not in the least. In many cases (but not all) these quick solutions ...
As I am doing more development in and out of the enterprise arena for Windows Phone I decide I would study for the 70-599 test. I generally take certification tests as a way to force me to dig deeper into a technology. Between the development and studying I decided it would be good to put a post together of key development features in Windows Phone 7 environment. Contrary to popular belief the launch of Windows Phone 8 will not obsolete Windows Phone 7 development. With the launch of 7.8 coming shortly ...
I was recently given an opportunity to review the TypeMock Isolator v7 framework. This is a very feature rich add-in for Visual Studio which simplifies unit testing by putting all the features you need right at your finger tips. Below is an abbreviated list of features found in the product. Components AutoRunner Failed Test Analyzer Coverage Test Auto-Complete The biggest productivity feature is the unit testing dashboard which drops down from the top of your Visual Studio code window. It provides ...
For those out there that are interested… I am now one of the hosts of the Driven2Distraction podcast. Being a fan of podcasts like .Net Rocks and Hanselminutes for years now, I have always wanted to be involved in the recording of a podcast and now that time has finally come. What makes the Driven2Distraction podcast different from all the others out there is its uniquely South African flair. It’s focus is towards Software Development in the Southern Africa – and has a mix of “what happening locally” ...

OK this is just a first post to see how Windows Live Writer works. I’m sure as I become more familiar with it the easier it will be.

I am new to the world of contracting and am finding it very similar to my permanent roles I’ve had. Anyone have any advice for a new contractor in the software development and/or software configuration management role?

 

Thanks,

DC

Myth 1: Sloppy code is like a loan (technically) Technical debt is commonly thought of like this: We can just borrow technical debt from the software development process like you would from a bank (by the way in our metaphor the loan agents at the technical debt bank work for our company). Then later, we will pay off that debt in incremental payments. Again, we own the collectors and can put off their demands until later. Although technical debt can be a useful term and the metaphor works for describing ...
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We’ve used dbdeploy.net on a number of projects and have found it to be a useful tool, especially around CI environments. We recently started a Windows Azure project that uses SQL Server and discovered that DbDeploy.Net didn’t work. There have been a few nagging issues with DbDeploy.Net as well, like the lack of support for recursive script directories, and when we looked into the code base, we discovered that it’s not really written to modern software development standards, and that getting it there ...
In the New Testament in Luke 4:23 Jesus speaks of a proverb, “Physician, Heal Thyself.” What, you may ask, does this have to do with being a good developer or a good ScrumMaster? In my experience, it has quite a bit to do with it, actually, and recently, it’s had far more meaning to me than it used to have in the past. In large part, my own increased awareness has stemmed from reading Lyssa Adkins fantastic book, “Coaching Agile Teams.” My Command and Control Roots My dad owns several independent ...
I recently accepted to do a review of “The Learn Microsoft Visual C# book 2010” by John Paul Mueller. I was in two minds on whether I really wanted to read this book – in it’s description it says it is targeting fundamentals of modern programming with Visual C#, but I wasn’t sure how fundamental it would be and since I have been working with C# for a while now, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth my while. After going through a few of the chapters of the book I would say this really targets very basic ...
Spinning as described in my previous article is all about flow. Its premise is: flow can emerge when work is partitioned in small, evenly sized chunks processed in a smooth manner. There is a constant input of requests to the development team. A backlog is filled with strategically important requirements, support is reporting bugs, feedback requires changes, management wants to see ideas realized on short notice. Under these circumstances any plan becomes obsolete within a day or two. Or a lot of ...
Everyone has an opinion. When you embark upon your first real job as a programmer you will find this out very quickly. I have found that software developers can be some of the most opinionated and dogmatic people you will ever meet. This certainly is not a bad thing. However, young programmers will need to cultivate the ability to make their own minds up when it comes to how to write software. There are those who start out in a corporate environment where the styles and conventions used have already ...
Agility needs to get onto the next level – that´s what I tried to explain in my previous articles. After a reality check – what´s missing from Agile practice? –, and some general musings about how a next level of Agility could look like, here now some very tangible suggestions. Crank up the frequency Current Agile practice is suffering from too little attention to Acceptance. To change this, very, very clear Acceptance dates need to be set. Acceptance can only get into a real pulling mode, if dates ...
In my previous article I came to a couple of conclusions based on the reality of software development, or should I say “the nature of software development”? Here are the – to me - undeniable facts of what our industry is all about: Customers hardly know, what they want. Any specification is inherently fuzzy and incomplete. What fits the customer´s needs can only be determined by actually trying it out. The customer can only recognize a running piece of software as acceptable. Because customers hardly ...
Let´s get real about software development: It´s never going to be a quietly flowing river. Never. And that´s why the current approaches to software development like XP, Scrum, and Kanban will always cause pain. Their basic assumption is you should be able to isolate a team for a while to work on features. Leave it alone during an iteration or a sprint to complete a set of features, or at least sit still until the current feature is done. Certainly that´s what we all want as developers: being able ...
Let me clarify what I mean by “3 role” environment. When looking at the division of roles with products, solutions or environments, it has been very normal to break it down into IT Pros (Admins), Developers and End Users. And many approach SharePoint in the same style. Does it fit? Sure. Is it the most effective approach? HECK NO! Let’s look at it piece by piece. Now the question is where do we start? We need to redefine this. In all cases leaving it as IT Pros, Developers and End Users is too broad. ...
Hey someone had to say it. I clearly recall my first IT job. I was appointed Systems Co-coordinator for a leading South African retailer at store level. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with an honest day’s labor and in fact I highly recommend it, however I’m obliged to refer to the designation cautiously; in reality all I had to do was monitor in-store prices and two UNIX front line controllers. If anything went wrong – I only had to phone it in… Luckily that wasn’t all I did. ...
I want to bring the Patterns and Practices group to the attention of those who have not already been exposed. I have been a fan of the P&P team since they came out with the original Application Blocks which eventually turned into the Enterprise Library. Their main purpose is to assemble guidance and tools that make it easier for all of us to build amazing solutions. I would simply suggest you spend some time exploring the information and code libraries that they have produced. Free resources ...
I was listening to .NET Rocks episode #713 and it got me thinking about a number of SharePoint related topics. I have been working with SharePoint since the 2001 product came out and have watched it evolve over the years. Today SharePoint is one of the most powerful and flexible products in the market. Of course that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement (a lot of improvement in fact) and with much power comes much responsibility. My main gripe these days is that you have to develop on a ...
If you have not developed with styles in Silverlight/XAML then it can be challenging and resources can be sparse depending on how deep you get. One thing that you need to understand is what level you can apply styles and how much they can cascade. What I am finding is that this doesn’t go to the level that we are used to in HTML and CSS. While styles can be defined at a page level if you want to share styles throughout your application they should be defined in the App.xaml file. This is of course ...
A new version of SourceMonitor (V3.2.0.208?) is available from http://www.campwoodsw.com/s... "The freeware program SourceMonitor lets you see inside your software source code to find out how much code you have and to identify the relative complexity of your modules. For example, you can use SourceMonitor to identify the code that is most likely to contain defects and thus warrants formal review. SourceMonitor, written in C++, runs through your code at high speed, typically at least ...
Aims of this chapter Describe different kinds of requirements Enable you to identify examples of different kinds of requirements from a simple description Explain how different data gathering techniques may be used during the requirements activity Enable you to develop a scenario, a use case, and an essential use case from a simple description Enable you to perform hierarchical task analysis on a simple description Summary What, How and Why The process works in a cycle.. Why bother? The importance ...
During the last months, I was (for some reasons that are not related to programming) working for a dev shop where software development was done the 'traditional' way: You just write your application's production code, do it as good as you can, and hopefully it will be good enough and no problems will occur in production (this is HDD: Hope-driven development). Anyway, after I had finished this contract, I felt the need to review some core aspects of what I think is Test-driven development. And while ...
I was supposed to be a lawyer. At least that's what my mom used to tell me. And here I am, many years later, a lowly software developer. How boring, right? For the past 15 years, my life has resembled a Dilbert comic. Every single day. Sometimes I was almost sure that Scott Adams was stalking me and that Dilbert was really me. After all, so many of those comics were bang on. Even my daily horoscopes weren't that accurate. However, I soon came to realize that working in the IT field, the same scenarios ...
I've made a list of programming books I've read, am reading and am going to read on the Bookshelved Wiki; would anyone care to recommend good books for a web-oriented, C# Agile programmer which I've not discovered or not considered?I've reproduced the list so far below for convenience :)Programming books on my 'to read' list Real World Functional Programming by Tomas PetricekCode Complete by Steve McConnellWorking Effectively With Legacy Code by Michael FeathersProgramming books being read at the ...
The great lesson of the Titanic was hubris, right? Perhaps. I don't know. What I do know is that there is another valuable lesson from the Titanic that is very applicable to software engineering: A failed implementation does not invalidate the concept. Titanic was designed by experienced engineers, using some of the most advanced technologies and extensive safety features of the time. It was built to be luxurious and safe. The cost of a first class ticket is equivalent to $100,000 accounting for ...
I’m very excited to announce that we’ll be bringing the Prairie Developer Conference to Alberta in early 2012! I started Prairie Developer Conference in Regina in 2010 as an option to high cost remote conferences, and its become a huge success! With the announcement that Microsoft TechDays won’t be returning to Alberta this year, I think Prairie Dev Con can definitely fill that gap and provide Albertans with a fantastic professional development opportunity! Here are the details: When: March 13 – ...
Many thanks to the audience in Sunderland for the great reaction to my talk on Commercial Software Development and getting into the spirit of the presentation. It was great to ask an audience if they'd been to meetings in the past week, then ask them to put their hands down if those meetings had agendas, and still see most of the hands stay up. Clearly we all still have work to do on eliminating such an atrocious waste of developer resource. I've uploaded the Powerpoint as a PDF with speaker notes ...
When you make a service available external to your corporate network sometimes SSL isn’t secure enough. If you really want to limit the users who can access a service they need to tied to credentials. One of the most common credentials to tie to is a Windows account. What if you are the consumer of these services. When you add a service reference to a Visual Studio 2010 project it does not give you a chance to set credentials. The following example is how you can apply credentials to a service reference. ...
I have seen a lot of articles about gestures but they require third party libraries or complex coding approaches. What I am going to present here isn’t strictly elegant or necessarily the best approach, but this is the way we would catch this type of event when we were still dealing with message loops. For the app that I have been working on I need to take action on the double-tap of a list item. The first question you have to ask your self is what a double-tap really is. It is in simplest terms ...
A listbox can be a very boring display surface, but it doesn’t have to be. Ok, so it may never be exciting. At least we can create a more flexible output. The first element you need to learn about his the ItemTemplate which is in turn composed of a DataTemplate. As this combo implies it is bound to each item/data row. We will start organizing your base layout with a Grid control. Within the Grid you can add a RowDefintions group. A RowDefinition helps when you want components to be stacked for a ...
There are many reasons that you may want to add email capability to your Windows Phone 7 application. There are a number of ways you can communicate information out from an application. The mechanism for sending email from your WP7 application is the EmailComposeTask API. The difference between this API and the one that you would use for an ASP.NET application is that it opens a screen to allow the user to select an account to use and then creates a message which the user then has to send. This makes ...
One of the things that is important to learn when you are developing any application is how it will interact with the environment it lives in. I’m not talking about simply interacting with files or database but with major resources. With WP7 there are a number of things such as the photos, browser, maps and the phone itself that your application may be concerned with. The WP7 development API includes a number of access points to give your application greater reach. These APIs can be found here. They ...
Recently, I gave a presentation on Flow at Agile Executives. It was a fun meeting and a fun topic and lead to several realizations on my part. First, when Alistair Cockburn is in the audience, I get a bit nervous. Second, Lean and Agile aren’t incompatible, they’re complimentary. Let me explain. The Sterility of Lean Lean tends to think of people as nothing more than metrics. Cogs in the grand scheme of things. Little focus is placed on the human aspect of software development when talking about ...
I originally started looking for how to make a TextBox have autocomplete capability. Strangely all the articles said that it couldn’t be done. The last thing you want is for your applications to make your users struggle entering information when every other application gives them a quicker entry method. So what is the solution? The TextBox tag has an InputScope property which if you set it to Text it builds a dictionary list as the user types. For the other InputScope types it mainly changes the ...
We had a full house this month with a lot of interest in the SOLID principle. SOLID is one of those topics that should be basic study in all of our schools. Of course along with a large crowd comes a lot of discussion. There were debates as to how much each individual principle has merit and how to properly apply it. This is the lively discussion that really makes me enjoy organizing these presentations. Visit Michael Kappel’s web site here. del.icio.us Tags: Chicago Information Technology Architects ...
When you have an application that navigates to more than one level of pages you find situations where you don’t want to go back to the previous page. Originally I was thinking that the answer was to capture the OnBackButton event and force the navigation back to the main page, but through several posts I found that this would not pass certification. Here is a link that really helped to figure out a more appropriate solution. To be a little more complete here is example code that you can use use for ...
Windows Communication Foundation is a powerful tool for building contract based messaging. As with most powerful technologies with flexibility comes a fair amount of complexity. I ran into one of these situation while trying to send files as part of message in the form of a byte array. In itself this is a simple concept. The problem is that the default configuration of WCF is setup to protect us from denial of service attacks to the best of its ability. In order to achieve this it is setup for relatively ...
The saga goes on. There is always something more to learn. While I thought that ManipulationCompleted would do the trick from me it turned out it won’t. It turns out that if you want to figure out what PanoramaItem you are on when the user navigates between PanoramaItems the SelectionChanged event in conjunction with the SelectedItem on the Panorama works pretty well. private void Panorama_SelectionChanged(o... sender, SelectionChangedEventArgs e){ PanoramaItem item = (PanoramaItem)Panorama.Sele... ...
Everyone has a journey. You start off young & stupid, and 2 decades later, you're closer to understanding the nature of reality. That’s one of the main goals in life, to seek knowledge (justified, true beliefs – pick any 2 J ). I must have read 5000 books in my life. From some of my readings it could be construed that reality computes itself, It from Bit. From others, it can be concluded that Entropy is decreased by increased rates of computation, and in the short span of human civilization, ...
I really dig video games. It is the reason why I love working with technology. I don’t play games like I used to, but I try and keep up by reading the latest news on the web and by watching Review on the Run. The other day, my video game hobby crossed paths with my professional life with a review on Reviews on the Run where two of the reviewers, Jose Sanchez and Ben Silverman, did a review on a web game that I reference in my recent HTML5 presentations: The World’s Biggest Pacman. I was really excited ...
Doing CodeKatas is all the rage lately. That´s great since widely accepted exercises are important to further the art. They provide a means of communication across platforms and allow to compare results which is part of any deliberate practice. But CodeKatas suffer from their size. They are intentionally small, so they can be done again and again. Repetition helps to build habit and to dig deeper. Over time ever new nuances of the problem or one´s approach become visible. On the other hand, though, ...
You’ve all seen this team, maybe you’ve even been on this team. I certainly know that I have! What kind of team, you might ask? It’s the team that is simply dysfunctional. Many reasons can exist for a team that isn’t working, and team dysfunction is a complex thing that can’t necessarily be isolated into a simple formula that will always work to make people function well on a team. Cynefin Recently, I attended RallyOn in Boulder with Rally Software Development. This was one of the best user conferences ...
Architectural descisions is a part of the software development process that often gets lost over time - at least most of them do. Yes we do make diagrams and solution description, but what about the descisions that were just natural to make? The desciosions that were just obvious? What happens to those in the future - try to ask yourself why you chose a decorator pattern over a facade five years ago - can you remember? We all make descisions everyday - some are small and some are big. A lot of the ...
Expert Days is an annual software development conference held by E4D in Israel. This year, for the first time, some of CodeValue’s experts have joined forces with E4D and are participating in order to give you, the attendee, the best possible value. If you are a software developer, software architect, team leader or somehow interested in the hottest available Microsoft technologies – this is definitely the conference you want to be at. The conference is held on 10/07/2011-14/07/2011, and there are ...
Thanks to Brian Hurst and Microsoft for the fantastic Ken Schwaber/Richard Hundhausen talk at the Reston, Virginia Microsoft facilities in April. It was refreshing to see Ken Schwaber take a fundamentally different approach to "the Scrum talk". He focused on the body of software development research, and how the results of this research leads us towards certain sounds practices - which are also tenants of Scrum. I will blog more about some of the key points I took away from the talk, but for now ...
I work for Red Gate Software, a software company based in Cambridge, UK. In this series of posts, I'll be discussing how we develop software at Red Gate, and what we get up to, all from a dev's perspective. Before I start the series proper, in this post I'll give you a brief background to what I have done and continue to do as part of my job. The initial few posts will be giving an overview of how the development sections of the company work. There is much more to a software company than writing ...