Software Engineering

For software engineers and those interested in learning about and developing skills in the area.

Is Anti-Virus Passe?

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When security firm Imperva checked more than 80 unreported viruses against several anti-virus solutions, it found that none of the tested programs were able to detect previously unreported viruses and that 75 percent of solutions took a month or more to update their signatures. That isn’t good news, and while Imperva obviously has some self-interest here, their November Hacker Intelligence report, Assessing the Effectiveness of Anti-Virus Solutions, is worthy of a closer read nonetheless. What it means is that we have to depend on a… continue…

Javascript Guru Dishes on How to Be a Stylish Programmer

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“[Programming] style is the part of the program the compiler ignores,” said Douglas Crockford, known to many programmers as the Guru of Javascript. Crockford laughs and said he sees himself more as a mahatma. We spoke at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp at Foothill College in Los Altos, California. While style is personal taste, it can have a critical influence on your error rate. And reducing your error rate will make you more productive, said Crockford. “Qualities that you… continue…

When Software Engineers Whine With Reason

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Not long ago, Slashdot’s Jeff Cogswell set out to see if two business intelligence tools would come back with the same answer to a single question. Two months later, he’s come back with a horror story instead. Not about BI, but about the state of software installation. It’s a tale, he says, of “everything that can go wrong in the customer end of the software world, and some thoughts on what needs to be done, especially in an area known… continue…

Software Architecture Must Accommodate Change

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“The hallmark of a bad design is when the design has to change to accommodate the change in a requirement,” says Juval Löwy, president and chief architect of IDesign. Löwy led sessions on architecture and process at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference at Foothill College in Los Altos, California. The ongoing theme of Löwy’s talks was that good architecture is built with change in mind, encapsulating that change by creating functionality where and when you integrate it with… continue…

VMWorld Attendees Get Hands On With VMware Labs

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Last year at VMworld, VMware put out a challenge to those participating in the VMworld labs. The first five who can finish all the labs offered will be invited to come back next year on our dime, said Adam Zimman, Senior Director of Integration Engineering at VMware R&D. Michael Forner, Enterprise Systems Technical Expert for Regional Transportation District in Denver was one of the five members that won last year’s all out labs team. Zimman spoke with Forner as to… continue…

.NET User Group Participation Critical for Success

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“It’s sometimes lonely in front of the computer,” admitted Mathias Brandewinder, when we spoke to him at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference at Foothill College in Los Altos, California. He’s the lead for the San Francisco chapter of Bay.NET, a user group for .NET developers. He became active not only to be on the forefront of .NET’s cutting edge technologies but to also meet and engage with fellow developers. According to Brandewinder, the Bay Area is not the… continue…

Drag and Drop Developer? No Need to Apply

It’s a given that companies will carefully check candidates’ job history and education. But increasingly, hiring managers are drilling further down into applicants’ skills to determine if they’re  the right match for the company. “Companies are very cautious about the type of candidate they’re going to bring on in a full-time role,” says Robert Byron, principal IT consultant for WinterWyman Search in Boston. “But before we get to the offer stage, they’re ensuring that this person has the credentials they’re… continue…

Taming 50 Shades of Micromanagement

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I recently opened up a pull request from a team member and started to do a code review. It was a relatively simple change, adding a logo to a page and styling it. Nevertheless, I cringed. It was just not right. I started to comment on lines of code, then stopped myself. Back up a second. Was it really wrong? One of the hardest things to learn as a technical leader is that there are different degrees of wrong. All… continue…

What’s Better: Online IT Certifications or Advanced Degrees?

I’ve been a bit lucky in my career. I graduated in 1981 and quickly got a job creating software at Price Waterhouse. Apart from a couple of layoffs, including six companies going out of business, I’ve spent the last three decades writing software for banking, finance, accounting, and game programming and design companies, as well as working as a software engineer. But over those years, as the technology and job market has continued to change, I’ve noticed that credentialism —… continue…

How to Manage Testy Programmers

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There’s tons of  training to become a developer but developers who become managers  often have little or no training. That’s a big problem.  Software people are notoriously difficult to corral. Ron Lichty is an expert on the subject and co-authored the book, “Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams.” I spoke with him at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference. His number one rule for managing software teams is to connect with them… continue…