Posts

Do Algorithms Make You a Better Developer?

Responding to a question on HashNode, Developers who practise algorithms are better at software development than people who just do development. Is it true?, I wrote the following:
My feeling is that algorithms help make one a better programmer, but that is likely true of many coding concepts. I did not have algorithms as an undergraduate, so my knowledge is acquired through reading and practice, but after reading and applying Algorithm's in a Nutshell, I felt the quality of my work improved. That said, my development work increased more after understanding Design Patterns, or after consuming books on database design.  Since many types of knowledge improve developing and architecting abilities, one has to consider how it helps and to what degree. Algorithms are coding-in-the-small, often narrowly focused solutions, but which can have a great impact at scale. For many applications, a focus on algorithms would be overkill as data sets and requirements do not require it. In this con…

James Igoe's Reviews > Thinking Architecturally

Image
Thinking Architecturally by Nathaniel Schutta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An overview of architectural decisions, the politics and persuasion involved, and the needs to balance competing measures and attributes. A fairly easy read, but full of great suggestions, and, for many, reminders of how to handle being a senior developer or architect.

View all my reviews

Review - TFS/VSTS - Great Product, Ideal for Small Development Shops

This is a report a short review I provided for G2 regarding TFS:

What do you like best?

If you use Visual Studio for development, TFS, or its online equivalent VSTS, you can have a fairly seamless end-to-end integration. Out of the box, it provides code management, testing, work hierarchy in agile formats, automated build, and deployment.

What do you dislike?

Branching and merging can be a bit painful, in that it needs to be planned, and is not natively part of the process. Code review also needs to be planned and only recently has it become part of the process.

Recommendations to others considering the product

My only concern regarding TFS and VSTS is that Microsoft itself recommends using Git.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

In my current role, I've joined a shop that has application development as secondary to their role of desktop OS and app deployment/maintenance, so their code management practices are minimal.…

How do you deal with making sure your use of new technology is correct and free from code-smells, security issues, etc.? - Hashnode

Responding to How do you deal with making sure your use of new technology is correct and free from code-smells, security issues, etc.?:

Issues can be dealt with in several ways. Understanding what makes high-quality, maintainable code would be first, so knowledge of best practices regarding OOP, SOLID, design patterns, API design, etc. is important. Depending on what you mean by security, best practices in those regarding transfer protocols, coding styles, validation, storage, etc. are equally something one can learn. Planning your work is useful, as a well thought out design is easier to implement, or at least will avoid future problems, than when you are just 'winging it'. Diagramming and project plans can be useful at this stage. Self-management is part of this, so using boards and epic/stories/tasks to track work is important, and there are free tools like Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) or Trello to help. Requirements gathering will matter so documentation and comm…

Migrating and Design Planning

Image
I have been toying with the idea of migrating one of my sites to a better host - it was supported by Yahoo and now AAbaco - and implementing some newer technologies. Among products I have used at work or are working with peripherally, I am considering using ASP.NET MVC, Entity Framework, ReSTful API's, NoSQL, and Azure-hosted databases - it is currently a mixture of very low-end PHP, HTML5/CSS3, light Javascript, and MySQL - so I decided to write up an architectural diagram - it looks like any standard architecture, with maybe a few additional elements - to help with the planning:

Singleton (Update)

I recently came across a new way of implementing the Singleton pattern, detailed in this article. The article details, (1) the use of the volatile keyword, and (2) a new simpler way of implementing a Singleton by using the Lazy<T> class, something that was not available when I first wrote the section on the Singleton.

Review - Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software

Image
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Erich Gamma
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Depending on on how you think of programming, this book could be incredibly insightful, or horribly abstract and impractical. Since I prefer and tend to think in patterns and abstractions, I found this book close to my heart. It uses a variety of languages for examples, so a willingness to explore concepts, not practical solutions, is essential.

View all my reviews