November 2010 Entries
This Developers Life is a podcast put out by Scott Hanselman and Rob Conery. In the most recent episode there were a couple of things that really struck me.
The fist was on motivation. Why is it that we keep spending every free hour keeping up with the latest technologies and techniques? Personally, I have always enjoyed the satisfaction of solving problems with technology. Hey, if you aren’t one to join sports then you need some sort of challenge. Of course getting to play with new toys like Windows Phone 7 is fun too.
The second was getting a DBA’s perspective. Why is it that they give so many of us a hard time. Is it really that what we develop threatens their ability to do their jobs? I have always found that showing that you understand their priorities and that you aren’t a complete idiot when it comes to database design goes a long way.
If you want a podcast that can really make you think I would highly recommend This Developers Life.
The last couple of weeks I have been working through some proof of concepts for Windows Phone 7. While working through one exercise I had a flashback. The book I was reading mentioned how you needed to code your application to have the smallest possible memory and and processing speed footprint. Suddenly I was back in high school with my Tandy hand-held computer which had a single line of text screen and a whopping 1K of memory. Talk about limitations.
So what else can you learn from developing in such environment constraints. I think we could all benefit from spending some time doing code where we really have to think about how we are putting it together. We would have developers who produce much tighter and well performing code as they carry those skills back to desktop and web development. Maybe these devices should be required learning in our college classes. Any thoughts?
The new WLW 2011 has been a shock to the system. I am used to having my history/drafts and and plug-ins at the ready down the right side of the window. Plug-ins are now under the insert tag on the ribbon. The history and drafts are now under a drop-down file menu in the ribbon. I’ll have to see if this configuration works for me. There doesn’t seem to be an option for a “classic” setup so I may end up looking for a new blog editor that is more efficient for me. I realize to some people these may be improvements or minor inconveniences, but for some reason this change is something I find quite annoying.
A few months back I sat down on a conference call with Dave Bost and Clark Sell to record an episode of Thirsty Developer. I had suggested that we could talk about Office Open XML and how it can be used to automate the generation of documents. Now for a number of reasons this episode will never see the light of day (at least not as we originally recorded it). But the reason that sticks in my mind is that the story wasn’t there.
As technologists we spend a lot of time learning tools, languages and frameworks. But we don’t always think about the question of why we are using these technologies. Of course what makes a good podcast is the telling of they why as much as the how. I had plenty of how, but really only one example to explain everything. It just turned out to be not enough glue.
This reminded me of something that I knew as an architect is a critical skill. We have to be able to sell our ideas. What could be a better way to sell those ideas but to tell the story of how it is used and how someone benefits for the technology.
Now this isn’t just something that you need to know if you are doing some sort of presentation. This is something we need to remember as we talk with clients and stake holders. From this point on I need to give this principle more attention. I think I see a wall plaque in the making.
We are coming to the close of another year. This year has brought a lot of great speakers and topics to our group (as well as a little name change). So better way to close out the year than to have Shankar Ramachandran introduce us to NoSQL and its architectural considerations. Please join us on November 16th and come meet your peers.