Ruby

Speaking at Code Writers Workshop 2017

The Code Writers Workshop is taking place outside Washington, DC on June 9th with the theme “Software Leadership in a New Era.” The speakers are a diverse, distinguished array of industry leaders who have done great things around the world. The keynote speaker, Kara DeFrias, was Director of UX for former Vice-President Joe Biden! The surprising thing is they’re letting me speak too. I have the honor of speaking on the topic “Here’s What’s Trending in Software Engineering.

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ScrumMaster++

Anyone with a basic knowledge of Scrum, and certainly everyone who has taken Agile Software Project Management With Scrum, knows the role of the ScrumMaster–to be a servant leader, to act as guardian of the Scrum process, to remove obstacles for the delivery team, to negotiate any tension between the Product Owner and the delivery team, to encourage the team to self-organize and be cross-functional, and so on. These are so well understood they’re almost clichés.

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DevOps Hooray

Please take a look at my latest column for Government Computing News where I drop references to Brangelina and Kimye to explain why DevOps has become so popular in business and why it needs to be a thing in government as well. Just to give you an idea, here is the unedited introduction. Terms like service-oriented architecture and big data have long been part of the pantheon of buzzwords that have captivated us while eluding any kind of real understanding.

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The Play's the Thing

Please take a look at my latest column for Government Computing News where I explain how to apply the guidance found in the White House’s new U.S. Digital Services Playbook, which embraces agile software development and open-source for building better government applications. Just to give you an idea, here is the unedited introduction. Software engineering is my passion--not just the technologies but the art of building software the right way.

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Know Your Options

Imagine a method in Java that retrieves an Employee entity from the database by the employee id. Something like this: That’s pretty straightforward. You’ve probably written hundreds of methods like this one. The problem is what to do if there is no employee with that id. Java developers usually consider two options for this scenario: Throw a checked exception Return null Sure, you could also apply the Null Object Pattern, but no one ever does that.

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4 Game Changers

Please take a look at my latest column for Government Computing News where I describe the four technologies that have most revolutionized software development in the last decade–with one notable absence. Just to give you an idea, here is the unedited introduction. In his blog post The Great Works of Software, Paul Ford enumerates five applications that excel in longevity, popularity, and usefulness. Pac-Man made the list, so you know it’s a good one.

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Getting Started With Hadoop

Please take a look at my latest column for Government Computing News where I gently introduce you to the basics of Hadoop and describe cool technologies that build on it. Just to give you an idea, here is the unedited introduction. It’s a funny word. You have only a vague notion of what it is. You’ve heard that it takes a lot of work but is potentially really beneficial. Maybe if you learned more about it you too could enjoy its benefits.

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Beyond Relational Databases

Please take a look at my latest column for Government Computing News where I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of relational databases and describe circumstances where document databases or graph databases may actually be a better fit. Just to give you an idea, here is the unedited introduction. One of my current projects is to review an application built by a contractor for a major federal government agency. The code relies heavily on queries and stored procedures against a relational database management system (RDBMS).

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You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned

While in the middle of his Jedi training with Master Yoda, Luke Skywalker discovers his ship has sunk into the Dagobah swamp. Ever the whiner, Luke complains about how difficult it will be to salvage the ship. That’s when an exasperated Yoda bestows some unforgettable wisdom. The iconic line from this scene in The Empire Strikes Back is “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” That’s an awesome line worthy of every t-shirt and Big Bang Theory reference.

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Idiom Savant

Idioms are a big deal in any language. They represent deep knowledge beyond syntax and grammar, a feel for getting the most out of the language. For example, when non-English speakers become fluent in English, they usually speak in a “textbook” way. One might see a celebrity receive a light punishment for a major crime and say, “That individual most assuredly did not receive a punishment commensurate with the gravity of the crime.

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