If you’ve worked long enough, you’ve hit on something that involves multiple people. At that point, the common line is to “get all the stakeholders” together so everyone’s on the same page and actually working together. It’s a good philosophy, that works when you’re getting just the people involved in something together – and nobody else. The problem is that that’s rarely how these situations play out.
About a month ago, Bronto released single-send API aggregation for deliveries. Full disclosure – I work for Bronto, but on the apps team, not the main product (by the way, buy Socialite), and I certainly don’t speak for them – everything here is my personal opinion and observations. This was a good change that improved the performance and efficiency of what was 1 of the more expensive API operations. That’s fantastic, but it also impacts the API in ways that Bronto developers are going to need to be aware of.
While working on an app with my current job, I wound up touching some code that didn’t have any unit tests associated with it. Since we’re a small team (but growing), any automation in testing really helps (not to mention just being a good thing to do). The issue was the code was all in a request handler for a Netty server, which meant I needed a way of either running a Netty server during the Maven build process, or I needed to simulate 1 via some type of mocking library. Ultimately, I settled on the latter. Here’s how I did, and the things I learned along the way.
TechCrunch had 2 articles last month on “Secretly terrible engineers.” Reading the articles makes it sound like there’s a serious problem with how we interview software engineers. Personally, I just don’t see it. Software engineers are like every other profession, the people in it range from terrible to amazing, and the which engineer is which is hardly a secret. Likewise, having just gone through the interview process within the past year, I haven’t really encountered the issues Danny Crichton described. Granted, I wouldn’t interview anywhere near Silicon Valley, so my geography could be affecting what I observed, or I could just be absurdly lucky, but somehow I doubt it.
Facebook released version 2.3 of their Graph API 1 week ago, on March 25. Earlier this week, after encountering errors claiming I was using a deprecated version of the API (a bug in Facebook that I’m pretty sure is long since fixed), I tried switching to the latest API version to see if that solved the problem. It did, but exposed a couple of things missing from their changelog, because what’s Facebook development without incomplete documentation?
In 1 of my posts about social networks, I harped on the idea of the social network itself being an open platform, with apps running on that platform. What I should have pointed out is that email has been operating as apps on a platform, and they’re a perfect example of what I was talking about.
This post was originally going to be something marveling at how StackExchange only has 25 servers, but could probably run on 5 as well as wondering why nobody else seems to be able to do that, but the more I thought about that, the less convinced I was in that premise. With all the advances in cloud-provided servers, I’m less and less convinced about the need for people to run their own servers exclusively in a physical datacenter.
1 of the last projects I worked on at my previous job involved aggregating, storing, and querying log data into and from Elasticsearch (yes, I know that Logstash does that – and in reality I should have gone that route). That, along with some lookups on the data outside of the code, gave me a chance to start playing with Elasticsearch. After my brief experience with it, I can tell you there’s a lot of power in Elasticsesarch, but it’s going to take you a surprisingly longer to figure out how to tap it than you would expect.
I was listening to an old Java Posse episode, when the topic of a 5-year plan came up, only to be immediately be met with disdain and contempt. In fact, nobody took the idea of long-term planning seriously. What I don’t understand is, why? What’s wrong with having a plan beyond the next iteration or 2? Personally, I think with agile development we’ve gotten so used to short development cycles and rapid release and pivots that we’ve completely lost any and all sense of the point of having a long-term plan. The fact is, if you don’t have any type of long-term plan, then your entire business strategy can be summed up as “we’re putting out this fire and hoping for the best.”