This category contains 47 posts

Automation ensures quality beyond tech

Last week I wrote how automated systems build (e.g. Puppet, Chef and Ansible) improves quality as well as speed. By coincidence, this week I’ve been involved a great demonstration of the same idea, but applied to wider business. We’re moving house. As a consequence there are an awful lot of organisations that need to be … Continue reading

Automation improves systems quality

Here’s another example of improving both speed and quality. A while back I talked about how productivity tools improve software quality. The same is true of automation and productivity tools at the system level, as a recent experience reminded me, and as anyone in the devops movement will attest to. I was speaking to a … Continue reading

From Year of Code to digital literacy

The Year of Code is good, but digital literacy is more fundamental, more valuable, and more embracing. Once upon a time our schools in the UK taught our children how to use word processors, spreadsheets and PowerPoint. This is now regarded as an embarrassing low in our recent educational history. In effect, we taught our … Continue reading

Do you really know your toolbox?

How much do we really understand the tools and techniques at our disposal? The other day I found myself explaining to someone that a particular project sponsor didn’t understand Agile, but that they would readily see the value of delivering value incrementally. Since the project in question didn’t involve software development, I had to stop … Continue reading

A practical definition of “legacy system”

I’ve been concerned a lot recently with so-called legacy systems: what they are, how to work with them, and so on. I think they get a bad rap, and one of the major reasons is because the concept of a legacy system is so badly defined. I find a lot of people and organistions are … Continue reading

Git quiz: Answers

Last week I presented a quiz, which I’d created as part of an “introduction to git” day I’ve been running. This week, as promised, the answers. Of course, by presenting answers I realise I’m setting myself up to be corrected on any number of fine (or not so fine) points. So by all means chip … Continue reading

Git quiz

As part of an “introduction to git” training day I’m running I prepared a quiz for the group. After all, what else would you do over lunch? I thought I was okay with git, but the old adage is true: if you really want to learn something, get a student. I found out a lot … Continue reading

Be frustrated, and act on it

Over on Dr Dobb’s, Andrew Binstock recently wrote an article giving “Advice to a new programmer”. Among all the good advice was this, which I want to pick up and take a bit further: Learn your tools thoroughly. I think the greatest loss of programming time is not in debugging or rewriting code, but in … Continue reading

COBOL, and the gold dust of business process

A couple of events today dovetailed, and provided some food for thought. As the day was beginning, and before the office really started to fill, I was speaking to a developer who was enthusing about testing and refactoring old code. After he talked about incrementally bringing out the intent of the code he rounded off … Continue reading

You can criticise if you’ve been there

If you’ve got a bit of development experience it’s easy to criticise the technology efforts of others. If you’ve got more than a bit of development experience then it’s harder. In short: criticise if you’ve been there; be careful if you haven’t. I was reminded of this a while back when I saw a retweet … Continue reading