Application Development Articles

We hope you’ll both enjoy and benefit from this inside look at web and enterprise software application development. The authors do their best to educate & entertain while highlighting best practices, processes and methodologies for the application life-cycle.

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Going Au Naturel: Comments as a Complexity Metric


I’ve written a lot about metrics as a means to gauge the complexity of a program including SLOC and the Halstead and McCabe metrics. An often over looked metric – and one I haven’t touched on before – is one that’s in plain sight: comments Comments are added to programs presumably to explain things that aren't clear. And sometimes they’re enough just to get the gist of how complex it might be. While you could start with a simple count of the … [Read more...]

Why You Need Current DB2 RUNSTATS


Not surprisingly, one of the questions I get asked most often asked by customers is how much CPU could they be saving – and how do they pinpoint the not-so-obvious sources of inefficiencies that might be using excess CPU. I tell them for DB2 applications, executing RUNSTATS is a good place to start. RUNSTATS is a DB2 utility that captures detailed information about the DB2 objects, tables, indexes, etc. and stores that information in the … [Read more...]

How to Know When Code is Complex, Part 3: Using the McCabe Complexity Metric


The McCabe Complexity Metric, as discussed in my last post, relates to the number of decision points (points where the logic path splits) in a section of code.  When used along with the Halstead Metric, the McCabe Metric can help you objectively assess and compare the complexity of new programs and applications. By using a threshold you can focus on the areas of greatest complexity, which you can then break into smaller, more manageable, logical … [Read more...]

Three quick steps to prepare for the mainframe retiring work force


The retiring mainframe work force issue has proven to be a slow erosion over time rather than some type of drastic drop off. No matter where your company sits in that continuum, here are three simple steps you can take to help reduce the impact moving forward: 1. Get Current “When is the best time to buy a Kirby vacuum cleaner? When the Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman is here!” That was the last ditch effort sales line of a door-to-door salesman … [Read more...]

Mainframers: Older and Wiser


“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” ― Jimi Hendrix I recently spent two days with our mainframe sales, consultants and technical field staff – those who are in contact with our customers every day – for our annual fiscal year kick off. I looked around the room and thought, “Another year older, but another year wiser.” We all have our own notion of what it means to be wise in our personal lives. In “The Science of Older and Wiser,” … [Read more...]

Should Defensive Programming be Used When Code will Never be Public?


In a recent Programmers Stack Exchange Q & A session discussed on Ars Technica, codebreaker asks: “Why follow defensive programming best practice when code will never be public?” After writing a card game for Java, the developer described how they used “a method in the Zone API, move(Zone, Card), which moves a Card from the given Zone to itself (accomplished by package-private techniques).” They continue, “This way, I can ensure that no cards … [Read more...]

Tools and Tricks for Jumping into a Pool of Unknown Code


Many developers have found themselves in this potentially challenging and frustrating situation: taking over someone else’s code project. Where to begin? In a recent Q & A session on the Programmers Stack Exchange, this question was explored: “What tools and techniques do you use for exploring and learning an unknown code base?” Following are some methods that will hopefully keep the struggling programmer afloat in their pool of unknown … [Read more...]

Rapid Application Development: How Fast is Too Fast?


Although there has been tremendous progress over the years, application development remains something of a black art. Results aren’t always quite what were expected, development costs may get out of hand, and at the end of the day, even the brightest guru may have difficulty pinpointing the problem. Rapid Application Development (RAD) – one of the most prominent attempts at taming development challenges -- has become an established piece of … [Read more...]

The Mainframe is All Grown Up

Classic mainframe

During my IT career, I've found myself in various roles across multiple platforms. In that time, there's been one constant that I've observed: There is often a disconnect between different IT teams and across environments. We need to work to bridge those gaps, particularly in the evolving relationship between the mainframe and distributed worlds. Over time, I've seen a lot of change in the mainframe landscape, though probably none as seismic … [Read more...]

Happy 21st Anniversary Ruby!


“Who’s Ruby?” you might be asking yourself. Not who, but what is Ruby? The Ruby celebrating an anniversary this week isn’t your Aunt Ruby and Uncle Don, but a programming language created by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto. Over two decades ago, Ruby’s creator had a vision of forming a language that brought together the best features of both functional (declarative) and imperative (procedural) programming. He combined portions of his preferred … [Read more...]