Categories
Blogroll

2018 in review

Loch Lomond

It’s been a big, small year for me. Big personally with a new job, but smaller publicly, although I’m now in a position to make more time for conferences following DDD Scotland and CodeCraftConf this year.

I’m still adjusting to agency life, but that might be because it’s been a big, amazing year for Screenmedia.

Looking at my stats, it’s good to see web dev and security are high in my logs, as that’s where this blog started, although there’s a bit more tech leadership content these days as well.

I’ve also got an account over at dev.to, which is a community of developer bloggers, and a couple of posts got some interest over there, so I’ll keep cross-posting to there, please say hi 🙂

I passed my CosmosDb exam last year, so expect to hear a bit more about that. I also have some thoughts on technical architecture and team building I want to explore further. If there’s anything else you’d like to hear about, please let me know.

I’m looking at a technical leads meetup/support group in Glasgow. More details to follow, but ping me if you want to make sure you don’t miss the details.

I’m looking forward to the new year. Thanks to all of you for reading.

Here are my highlights from 2018.

Top older posts

Top 3 written this year (WordPress Stats):

Top on dev.to:

Categories
Blogroll

My 2017 in review

After the whirlwind of 2016, 2017 looked like a quieter year. Fewer talks, some interesting and rewarding challenges bringing a new product to market, and a chance to build and reflect on what it means to be a technical leader, to move jobs, and to be productively lazy. Although I notice there’s still a lot of interest in obscure bugs thanks to Chrome’s URL limit, and the User Experience when 2 factor authentication needs to be reset.

I’ve not had quite as many blog views as last year, but I’ve accepted I’m not here to be a blogging superstar. This is my scratchpad for the talks I want to give, and a place to share useful reminders and signposts for future me, and others. Thanks to all of you who have helped shape and refine these thoughts here, on twitter and via other channels.

I wasn’t planning a new job in 2017, but more on that next week (and many, many thanks to my twitter and LinkedIn connections on that front – I’ve been humbled), which means I have some more thoughts on the product life vs the consultancy life that I hope to share this year.

I got a few opportunities to think about applying Conway’s Law to build teams that make the right software, most notably in the Architecting Teams guided conversation I led for CodeCraft.

Looking to 2018

I’d love to keep up 2 blogs a week, playing with styles and topics, as I’ve started to do last year. I’ve got enough topics on my Trello board for a few years at that pace (including one describing the Trello board). I’ve got a new adventure, and some experiments in productivity that I’ll hopefully get more time to explore, as well as reflecting on design and the next generation.

I don’t do New Year resolutions. It’s always a bad day to start something. Always reflect, always refine. And if you leave it to New Year, you’re only giving yourself 70-odd chances to change. Why limit yourself?

Sláinte

Categories
Blogroll code development search

Microsoft Edge, ungooglability and a new class of bugs

Microsoft definitely has a naming problem. .net core was one thing, but calling a browser Edge was just trolling developers. Try searching for “Edge CSS” or “JavaScript Edge”. It’s a lesson in frustration, which means the bugs in the new browser are extra painful to debug because it’s that much harder to find the blog posts and Q&A for the last person to fix the problem.

And Edge doesn’t behave like IE, or Firefox, or Chrome. I’m sure Microsoft, like the other vendors, are updating OSS frameworks to help them target Edge, but there’s still a lot of Javascript and CSS that breaks silently, so no Console logs to help, no odd numbers in the calculated CSS, and no hacks to persuade Edge that it can render just like the big browsers.

I want to like the browser, I really do. Anything that brings the end of IE closer has to be welcomed, but even after the Anniversary update of Windows 10, it’s far from ready. If I try to open IIS failure logs in Windows 10, it opens up IE, and displays with the correct CSS, and then tells me I should use Edge, where the CSS is broken. It’s frustrating as a user, and as a developer. It’s an alpha product, and it should have been treated as such. Give it to devs, allow power users to opt in, and iterate it. Microsoft still needs to learn what it means to develop in the open.

Documentation

Unfortunately the problem is then compounded by Microsoft’s documentation problem. For all the faults of IE, at least Microsoft had a good reputation for documentation at the height of MSDN. Unfortunately, MSDN is starting to decay, and there’s a number of conflicting alternatives springing up. For us developers, the seemingly preferred route for latest information is blog posts (or the comments thereon – which were the only source of information for a knotty Docker problem we had), but there’s also GitHub, docs.microsoft.com and the occasional update to the existing MSDN documentation suite.

Microsoft seem to be trying to frustrate developers. Especially when they have evolving, and conflicting APIs (I’m looking at you Azure, and the Python vs PowerShell vs Node APIs, and the Portal experience). The documentation experience at Microsoft feels like the Google UI experience before Material Design. And it needs a similar overhaul.

I love seeing Microsoft trying to be more open and I see it working, to a certain extent, in the C# and .Net space, aside from the .Net Core RC release cycle chaos. They’ve come a long way from the days of alt.Net (although I agree that we need to recapture that passion, both for the sake of new developers, and for the sake of keeping Microsoft in check), but they’re in danger of alienating developers once more with the confusion, and the inconsistencies within certain platforms.

In that context, removing project.json and keeping .csproj was the right decision. One clear and consistent path. Now go and apply it across the board.

Categories
Blogroll

My 2016 in review

2016 was a big year for me. A new job, a new house and the first full year following the John Sonmez blogging course. I got back into public speaking, with my talk about APIs, and the follow-up usable APIs guided conversation at CodeCraftConf, although I missed out on the return of DDD Scotland.

I learned a lot. About leading and mentoring teams, about recruitment, about software design, about code quality, and a lot more things that I never had to consider in previous jobs. Things I was aware of, but now I have to make decisions about.

2016 has been my best year ever on my blog in terms of views, comments and visitors, so many thanks to all of you for your time and contributions here and on social media. My most popular post this year was “Don’t take your laptop home” – I don’t know if that struck a particular chord with people about work-life balance, but I know it’s something I’ve reflected on. I also see that my 5 year old post on the “Professional Development” and “Agile Is Dead” open discussions at DDD Scotland 2011 remains popular. I don’t know which, but either of them are great topics for reflective developers to consider : What does Professional Development mean? and What is Agile?

Looking to 2017

I’m not planning anything quite as dramatic for 2017 as a new job, but I still have some thoughts to share thanks to moving from consultancy development to product development and how things which once seems essential now no longer apply.

I’m also having more of a think about Conway’s Law as friends move into new companies and I reflect on the companies I have worked with. As a technical leader who wants a flexible, resilient software architecture and a passionate, always-learning team, how much can I influence one to affect the other. I’ve got a few thoughts on this, but I’d love to hear from anyone else who’s exploring this, as I’ve got a few bigger ideas here.

And I’d love to keep up 2 blogs a week, playing with styles and topics. Exploring old and new ideas. I’ve got enough topics on my Trello board for 18 months at that pace (including one describing the Trello board). If I manage to carve out the time to do that alongside my other commitments, you’ll see it here.

I don’t do New Year resolutions. It’s always a bad day to start something. Always reflect, always refine. And if you leave it to New Year, you’re only giving yourself 70-odd chances to change. Why limit yourself?

Sláinte

Categories
blogger Blogroll lifehacks

Scheduling Posts

image

Note : Family is important, so after this schedule, I’ll be taking a break until the new year.

I had a few problems with this bug in the WordPress Android client, but I’ve really come to find the ability to schedule posts for the future valuable. Although I always try to post at lunchtimes, I find my commute by train is a perfect opportunity to write. It gets my head in the right place in the morning and allows me to dump and forget in the evening.

Whether you blog or not, I’d recommend writing an agenda or a synopsis of your day. Nothing as formal as a task list, unless you want to, but something to reset your thoughts in the right direction. A train without WiFi is perfect as there’s fewer distractions.

Even if you do blog, don’t always expect to publish each dump you write, some prose is just between you and the trash. And some will take months, or years, to form into a coherent post.

If you don’t know what to write about, scan other blogs or news sites, write up a list of 20 topics to work through as recommended by Simple Programmer.

Most importantly, if you want to write, write. Write notes, write ideas, and mix them up. Write lots, and review it. And find a time that works for you, and schedule for the future, so it has a chance to surprise you and inspire you again.

Categories
Blogroll code richtext test

That’s right, I’m watching you

The image shown here is a PNG export of an original SVG icon I created in Inkscape. I’m still looking at the options for this at the moment, but I know that Gecko browsers support SVG properly (at least when loaded from file:/// links), but GMail messes up the link somehow so the same graphics are treated as bitmaps when sent via GMail, which isn’t very handy. I’m not aware of any blog hosting service that will host SVGs (although someone out there may be able to enlighten me), so I may be stuck with using PNGs for the moment, either at high-resolution and scaled down for smaller cases, or creating a bunch of pictures at different resolutions, which does sound very 21st century to me. Ah well.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Tags: , , , , , , ,