Thursday, October 29, 2009

Writing Month Starts November 1

I just got a newsletter the other day about Prag Pro Wri Mo. I think I'll need to give this a shot in November - which is only a few days away.

My goal will be to write a blog post every day. Short or long, every day. Starting Sunday. Formatting cleanup to come later, the emphasis is purely on WRITING. The actual idea is from National Novel Writing Month. This will only serve to further the motivation and push I got from reading Career 2.0

I need to start ramping up ideas and topics now, so I'll jot down a few.
  • Test ownership - how do you solve the 'nobody owns this unit test failure' problem
  • Build scripts (Ant, Maven, Gant, Gradle, Etc) - where are we today, and what makes sense to move to in the future, various pains, etc
  • Java 7 features - I've meant to post about these for a while. Which ones are interesting and still being included...
  • New languages to try - I need to pick a new language to learn this year. I think I have an Erlang book kicking around that I need to read...
  • Notable programming books in the last 1-2 years?
  • Ergonomics in computing (wrist pain is becoming a real issue for me)
updated to add more topics:
  • Apache+HTTPS+SVN authentication issues (TortoiseSVN cannot remember password)
  • More on SSDs
  • The search for a quality LCD Display
  • Report in on my recent PC upgrade
  • Talk about Windows 7 in the context of both home and work
  • at least one Book Review

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Useful Regular Expression Site

Whenever I use Regular Expressions, my memory is always a little foggy. I usually make a couple of newbie syntax mistakes which waste some time. Now in Java (or in today's case: Ant), I don't want to edit, save (and/or compile), then run every time I alter my regular expression when first building it only to find out 10 (or more) seconds later that it doesn't match what I want or doesn't even compile.

The feedback cycle is simply too long.

After 5-10 minutes of frustration I usually seek out an online regular expression tester to ease my pain. Today I found Regex Tester and it rocks.

With instant as-I-typed feedback on my regular expressions (valid, what matches were produced for the sample string, etc) I completed the regular expressions I needed very quickly.

From now on, this site will be my first step in creating regular expressions.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Development Practices That I'm Passionate About

In response to Jared's blog entry: 'What Are You Passionate About?':

The list was already fairly comprehensive, and I generally agree strongly with all of the points.

Daily meetings are a tough one for me - I agree in principle, but I've yet to get down a daily meeting practice that doesn't occupy at least 20-30 minutes of my time. I've been in a SCRUM situation (as a remote user) for several months before, and that may have only taken 10 minutes. I enjoyed the urgency of wanting to have good progress to report each day, but the meeting always seemed to collide with my lunch time due to timezone differences, so that has probably predisposed me to negative associations. I want to believe in daily status though, even if it is a limited to myself and my direct superior. I think I'll put it down as a goal to establish as routine within the next couple of weeks.

Weekly status meetings is the absolute longest time period that I think a group of several small dev teams can go between syncing.

One point I would expand on - test automation - is that I'm passionate about automation in all forms. While I think 'test automation' definitely deserves it's own bullet, general purpose automation of daily tasks for developers and non-developers alike ALSO deserves mention.

As an example, our Hudson builds push an installer and database dump to a share location with enough information that new builds of our software can be automatically installed by a simple script that QA and other non-devs can run. (Yes, QA also tests our installer manually of course) This is just one example, but it applies everywhere. Just about any repetitive task that can be automated should be automated. I do think instructions for how to do automated tasks without the automation should be well documented, though.

I love having peer reviews for all code check-ins. Having had this as standard practice for the last 2 years, I will not be satisfied with any work environment where this is not mandatory. I believe it is an essential part of delivering quality software.

I may need to update this from time to time, as I haven't really declared a list of my own - this is more of a commentary, but at least it's a start.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Results for the week starting 9/28

I will experiment with whether a second post, or updating the original post, works better.

Last week I completed 3 Java Puzzlers and read Career 2.0 each night. I have continued to read nightly, and will finish the book this week.

I didn't get around to spending much time on Stack Overflow, but the goal was mostly to throw in something programming-related last week.