Posts made in 2007

« Older Posts   

How to Add Logging to Ant Builds

The Apache Ant build tool is a great aid in automating builds and deployments. When the build fails, however, diagnosing the problem can be painful – especially if it only occurs intermittently. Logging details of the Ant build can therefore be useful. By default Ant writes informational messages to the console. While this is usually […]

Six Strategies to Survive Being Buried in Meetings

Have you ever had days or weeks when your calendar was filled seemingly to the brim with meetings? As an experienced software developer in a senior technical role, I find that I am being requested to attend more and more meetings, especially to provide advice or guidance to various teams and to participate in status […]

Are You Silver Bullet Proof?

I recently attended a presentation titled “Are You Silver Bullet Proof?” at the ICE Technology Conference by Sharon Stanbury and Joni Mines of the City of Edmonton. As non-I.T. people, they revealed an interesting perspective on how enterprise I.T. departments and the business should work together. They started by introducing two myths concerning I.T.: Myth […]

The Power of Search

My appreciation of the power of search, particularly for developing software, has grown over the last few years. The wise use of search can significantly increase your effectiveness as a developer, acting like an amplifier or expansion unit for your brain. Search allows you to navigate faster, remember easier, and know more. I spend most […]

Automated Deploys using SSH and Ant

I am a big proponent of automating the building and deployment of application code: this minimizes the chance of human error and ensures a consistent process is followed. Last year I wrote an article about automatically deploying code via FTP using the Java-based Apache Ant build tool. Since then I have needed to deploy to […]

Version Information WordPress Plugin

I have added a new WordPress plugin called Version Information to my Software page. This plugin displays version and configuration information for WordPress, PHP, MySQL, and the web server. A summary is displayed in the Site Admin dashboard and more details are displayed under a Version Information page under the Site Admin Plugins menu This […]

Organizing Information: Using Tags versus Categories

I recently upgraded WordPress – the software that runs this site – to version 2.3. New in this latest version is support for tags. Each post can be associated with any number of keywords or key phrases called tags, and navigation elements can be added to display the set of tags. Probably the most commonly […]

Java Developers and Database Administrators Needed

The CGI Edmonton office (in Alberta, Canada) where I work is looking for Java developers and database administrators. CGI Edmonton primarily provides software development and maintenance services to various Government of Alberta ministries such as Alberta Health and Wellness. If you are good at what you do, like a challenging yet supportive work environment, and […]

Strategies for Effective Code Reviews

Code reviews are an important practice for improving the quality of your software and ensuring that it is ready for release. Software engineering research has found that reviews (or inspections) are a powerful QA practice and have many advantages over testing: A higher percentage of defects are found when using reviews – as high as […]

Release When Ready

There are several strategies for producing software releases. One approach is to release by schedule – the software ships on a fixed date defined well in advance. Another method is to release based on budget – the work stops once the money available is exhausted. I believe, however, that the best strategy in general is […]

EnvGen Version 1.3 Available

I have just released version 1.3 of EnvGen. It is available for download from my Software page. The major changes in this release include the following: Added a SkipGeneration template to allow you to avoid generating a file for one or more environments. EnvGen is an Ant task for generating different versions of the same […]

Achieving Excellence in Software Development

What is excellence in software development and how can you achieve it? This is a question of interest not only to software developers, but also to managers of software teams. I recent read the book First, Break All The Rules: What The Worlds Greatest Managers Do Differently which provides some great insights into this question. […]

To Code or Not To Code

To code or not to code, that is the question for senior software developers when they are presented with the opportunity to move into an architect, project manager or team lead position. Rob Walling recently wrote an excellent article titled Why Good Developers Are Promoted Into Unhappiness describing his unsatisfying experiences as a manager and […]

Why You Should Polish Your Code

When are you done writing a piece of code? Is it when you have implemented the necessary functionality? When you have tested it? I believe there is more to professional-quality code than just getting it to function properly. What else is there? Making sure the code is maintainable – well designed and understandable. I use […]

Errors Errors Everywhere

If you are a software developer and have not maintained operational applications with real users hammering away at it, then you are missing some important lessons. You might not fully appreciate the operational challenges facing the maintenance and support team, particularly when the software in question is suffering in the areas of reliability, performance, or […]

To Be or Not To Be Agile

I am a big fan of the agile philosophy of software development as summarized by the Agile Manifesto. The agile approach fits well with my pragmatic mindset, and I consider myself an agile practitioner, despite currently working in a bureaucratic environment providing application development and maintenance services to a large, process-heavy government client. But then […]

EnvGen Version 1.2 Available

I have just released version 1.2 of EnvGen. It is available for download from my Software page. The major changes in this release include the following: Upgraded to FreeMarker 2.3.10 Fixed a defect: the use of FreeMarker’s <#include> directive did not work when including files in other directories. The <#include> directive now can be used […]

Top Five Essential Practices for Developing Software

As a software developer what practices do you consider essential? Which practices are must-haves that you would refuse to build software without? I believe that producing good software is hard, and that we software developers need all the help we can get in developing software. I have put together a list of the top five […]

A Tale of Bad Exception Handling in Finally Blocks in Java

There is always something more to learn. That was the lesson for me last week when I learned something new about the Java programming language, despite having used professionally it for almost 10 years. I was upgrading a Java web application to WebSphere server version 6.1 and as the first step I switched the development […]

Are You Doing Enough Coding?

My previous article discussed the question how much do you code?. After thinking more about this, I realized that a more important question is whether you are doing enough coding. How much is enough versus too little? This depends on the reasons why you code. For myself, I can think of several reasons why I […]

« Older Posts