Feb
20
2009
0

Domain exploration – really

The last few week have been quite exhilirating! Two weeks of really exploring a domain, getting to know a new client’s business and language. I have always liked going through such a phase and one does not always get the chance to do something like that for two whole weeks at the client’s site. read more…

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Dec
30
2008
0

Xrump

 After a few years of experience with agile software projects, I have read the Agile manifesto again and afterwards read more specifically about the details of XP and Scrum, the most well-known agile methodologies. It occurred to me that from both ‘sides’ a way of mixing the two is actively being sought. It seems like a logical choice to me, as XP has always been targeting more the technical practices to get to a good end result and scrum takes aim at the processes that should enable a team to get to a good end result. But that is just a sidestep. read more…

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Dec
28
2008
0

The learning curve

The shame! Two months of inactivity on this blog… the reason? A steep learning curve.

I have been diving deep into the .NET framework, at the sub-CLR level. What all the versions mean, how they interact. How assemblies and modules look like at the byte level. What actually happens when methods are called and types are loaded, how memory management is performed, why the reflection api is built the way it is. Next to that, how the C# compiler targets this platform, in detail. And of course, Visual Studio. What does it do when I make a settings, config or resource file or add a windows forms, etc. How do the project and solution files interact with it. But I also got to know it under the hood, because of my lastest project: developing an exploratory modelling extension package for Visual Studio. By the way, this was all quite new to me, although I have quite recently finished courses up until the MCTS level and already have some development experience in .NET. And it occured to me that a lot of developers never make such a deep dive, even when having several years of experience in developing for .NET. So it is apparently not necessary to be able to do my work. Why did I do it then, you might ask?

Getting to know my working environment a few levels deeper has helped me to better understand it , remember the way to manipulate it and predict how it will behave. I am convinced this will help me get the most out it and to be able to keep working sensibly when things become more complex. I have seen too many developers resort to some sort of trial-and-error when things get though, although most of them have had a scientific education. I have seen people doing bug hunting in very strange ways: not even trying to understand what is happening, but just pushing some buttons, moving some code and see if it works. When the thing you work on is very simple and you have a bit of luck, this usually works and will sometimes even be faster than trying to understand it. But when things get complex, the chances of accidentily solving your bug get very small, very quickly..

Any way, reading a lot of books, doing little experiments and making small applications to see how certain technologies work have taken up a lot of time. Oh and of course, December is always full of parties, weekends away, christmas, etc. Sadly, not much was left for writing blog posts. But the good part is that the quality of future blog posts will probably improve because of all the new knowledge – I hope.

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Oct
30
2008
0

PDC: Azure and Oslo

Lots of new stuff at the PDC that is going on right now.. but Windows Azure (‘Windows in the clouds’) & Oslo generate the most buzz in the developers community. Windows Azure is of course Microsoft’s response to the c2 and s3 engines of Amazon, Google’s AppEngine and a few others. Interesting, but it will take a few years before enterprise software will be hosted outside of a company’s premises, I suppose. Oslo looks like an interesting meta-modelling platform and with the new M language, Microsoft makes their offering of modelling tools a lot more compelling, I think. Not every DSL lends itself to graphical editing with blocks and lines.

For some more coverage of the event, have a look at born2code.net

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Oct
16
2008
1

Software Developers Conference 2008

Last week, on the second day of the SDC 2008, I visited these sessions:

  1. Deep Dive into Entity Framework Object Services – Julie Lerman
  2. Developing Scalable Apps with Google AppEngine – Nik Kalyani
  3. WPF Data Binding – Brian Noyes
  4. Building a Service Oriented Enterprise System – Dennis Doomen

I will tell you in short what impression each session made on me. read more…

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Oct
09
2008
0

Websibitionism

Last week I was performing at a debate about websibitionism. I worked together with another debater to bring some fire to the parts of the program that involved the public in a debate about the subject. If you can read Dutch, you can read more about the evening here.

The first scene involved a job interview. The employer confronted the candidate for the job with information he found on the internet. It involved private hobby’s, so the candidate thought it didn’t matter to the interview. The employer thought it was public, because it was on the internet. And it was relevant according to him, because it involved non-mainstream hobby’s like nudism and playing with trains. read more…

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Oct
07
2008
0

Microsoft’s Smart Client Software Factory

What does a software developer want to know of the Smart Client Software Factory (SCSF) of Microsoft? That is the question that kept me occupied from time to time during the last couple of weeks. Not entirely unimportant, because it came to my attention that a lot has already been written about the SCSF, but these texts did not give a clear impression of it. Not with me, any way, and taking into account all the questions that are being asked about it, not with a lot of other people either. read more…

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Sep
26
2008
0

Improvements!

This week I have been improving the template and content of the blog. On the index page, posts are only partly shown, to give a better overview of the content. A link to the form to add contents can now be found directly under every post. The link around the number to the left, right under the date, can still be used, but was not clear enough for most visitors.

After installing qTranslate (WordPress plugin), making some changes and translations to the template and adding some translated texts to the posts, the blog is now also available in Dutch. Making the translations does not take me a lot of time, I have noticed, and now more people can read it in their preferred language. I have been thinking about also posting in Spanish, but that would definitively have taken too much time…

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Sep
19
2008
0

Managers: can’t live with ‘m, can’t live without ‘m?

My eye was caught today by the article Rise of the anti-manager by Leo D’Angelo Fisher. Or, to be truthful, the Dutch version of that, on Infoworld. The main line of reasoning in the article is that currently, managers are not very good, getting worse and that companies should pay more attention to the quality of their managers. The article is of the ‘general and broad’ kind, so I will keep in line and follow the same style.

The writer of the article has made some quite clear observations with figures to back them up and I would be inclined to agree on them. However, there are some things I find lacking in the article. First of all, it does not mention the fact that there are so much more managers nowadays than before. And second, it fails to mention there are so many managers not doing anything productive. Just following procedures, making sure the forms are nicely filled out, etc. Actually, in my experience, a lot of them are just there as a sort of ’filter’ or ’web’ in between people getting actual work done and people with real decision making power. read more…

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Sep
18
2008
0

Personalized template

To make this blog more “my own”, I changed the background pictures and added an icon in the header. And of course the sidebar needed some refinements. But that is it for now. It looks fine to me, so I will be using the blog url from now on when I post at other sites.

The first real content items to follow will probably be translated versions of my blog posts at the corporate website of the company I work for, Sogyo. And maybe a small item about the current course in Prince2 I am taking, together with a group of colleagues. Beyond that, who knows?

If you would like some tips on how to get WordPress to behave how you would like, drop a note.

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