Going Au Naturel: Comments as a Complexity Metric

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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...]

Three quick steps to prepare for the mainframe retiring work force

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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

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“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...]

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...]

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...]

How to know when code is complex

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“Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.” This quote has been attributed to different people, from Albert Einstein to Pete Seeger. Whatever the origin, I think it really applies to code. When given a task to accomplish developers should all be able to code something that will work. But how will it be understood and maintained in the future?  How can you objectively measure something as complex... as … [Read more...]

Breaking Down the Walls for Faster Application Problem Resolution

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Throughout my career, I’ve seen a lot of mainframe technology experts who did their job extremely well – but simultaneously had little or no collaboration with the other technology experts in their organization. And not just across environments, like distributed and mainframe, but often between groups, like operations and development. But it’s not always their fault. These are not just different environments or different teams we’re talking about … [Read more...]

Santa Has a Mainframe

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Just think about it: “He sees you when you’re sleeping.  He knows when you’re awake.  He knows if you’ve been bad or good.” – how can Santa do all that?  Consider that these events alone would generate over 600 million transactions per day. Let’s do the math.  There are over 200 million children in the world.  Assuming each child only wakes up once per day, that would be 2 transactions.  In addition, we can assume that each child would create … [Read more...]

‘Tis the Season . . . For High Mainframe Performance

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(Jump to infographic) As the holiday season approaches and online consumer activity increases, the performance of your business-critical, customer-facing applications becomes exceedingly important. In a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive, on behalf of Compuware, 2,025 U.S. adults age 18 and older – among them, 1,191 smartphone and/or tablet users – were asked about online shopping habits and mobile devices in relation to the … [Read more...]

Institutional Knowledge — or What Lewis and Clark Didn’t Know they Didn’t Know

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The weather of the Pacific Northwest is controlled by the Pacific Ocean and the local mountain ranges, the Olympics and the Cascades.  This combination gives way to a phenomenon known as rain shadows, small geographical areas that get much less rainfall than surrounding areas. The most extreme example is Sequim, Washington. It gets less than 16 inches per year (roughly the same as Los Angeles). About twenty miles away is the Hoh Rain Forest that … [Read more...]