Tools and Tricks for Jumping into a Pool of Unknown Code

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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...]

Performance Trends: Finding Value Amid the Hype

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At a recent event, I took advantage of having some of the world’s most notable APM experts all in one place by convincing them to be interviewed on camera. What I wanted to know was whether or not the hyped-up technology trends that we see constantly in the news were really being implemented in companies. We discussed the state of cloud, mobile, big data and the process trend DevOps. I read plenty of articles on this stuff so it was surprising to … [Read more...]

Rapid Application Development: How Fast is Too Fast?

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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

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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!

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“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...]

How to know when code is complex, Part 2: McCabe Complexity Metric

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In my last post I discussed code complexity and the advantages of breaking complex code into smaller blocks. But how can we judge the size of these blocks?  How can we quickly know the number of decisions in each block?  If we think in terms of the delicate balance in a Calder Mobile, how do we ensure the blocks are similar in size and we get the “balance” that we need? This is where the McCabe Complexity Metric comes in. The Metric was … [Read more...]

Big Blue’s Watson Group Selects Big Apple Home Base

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IBM’s Watson Group – the effort to take IBM’s brainy, Jeopardy-winning technology into new commercial realms, has dropped down in the East Village section of Manhattan on a mission to change the world. And it just might. To be sure, Watson (the name a nod to the former chairman of IBM – but also evocative of the famous Sherlock Holmes sidekick) is embarked for mostly uncharted territory with its plans to supplement human intelligence. … [Read more...]

3 Big Data Lessons from a “Big 3” Company – Ford

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In a recent interview from Gigaom Structure Show podcast, Ford Data Science Leader, Michael Cavaretta discussed lessons learned in harnessing the power of big data, (large complex data sets requiring advanced processing), and how to best put it to use. “Big data” at Ford can mean anything from data coming off the car and truck production lines to customer feedback at dealer locations and customer service centers. In this interview, he talked … [Read more...]

Top 3 Blunders Found in Developer Résumés

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Are you afraid of being sucked into the “resume black-hole”? Well, I’m here to tell you the infamous “black hole” doesn’t have to be so scary IF you can avoid a few ever so common technical resume blunders. Before we begin, as we go through these “blunders” keep these things in mind: The minute you release your resume into cyber space, you’re relying on it to sell all your accomplishments and the talent you can bring to an organization. … [Read more...]

Is IT Still Not Stepping Up in the New Normal?

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Wanted: Programmers who act like customer service representatives and IT managers who think like business majors. Job descriptions may not actually be written that way, but these “additional” skills are becoming mandatory for many companies when they hire technologists. Netflix gets it: “You seek to understand our strategy, market, customers, and suppliers.” “You are broadly knowledgeable about business [and] technology….” “You … [Read more...]