Archive for the ‘development’ Category

A better reader than writer
January 26, 2008

I’ve been a better reader than writer.

After reading about personal essay writing, I still haven’t felt inspired to write. Perhaps I don’t have the inspiration – do I need more drama?

I wish I could write personal narratives about the tech stuff I do. I’m not working on personal products, as much as I want to get back to open source development. I can write my opinion on tech happenings, but I reallly want to write original material.

There is a lot of interesting tech at work, but I won’t say anything about it.
Fortunately, I’m able to share some of the good stuff with PinoyJUG, the Filipino Java Users Group. Perhaps I could develop my posts into articles.

I’ve been reading a lot of tech, blogs and books. The most noteworthy book is O’Reilly’s Beautiful Code. I bought the PDF edition, the only way I can easily get books when I’m working abroad. I was hoping for inspiration. And I got it. It’s among the most artistic books you can get in the field of Computer Science.

I have also been reading books on testing – an important part of software development that I’ve been taking seriously in the past few months.

The paper books I want to read, I just add to my Amazon wishlist, until I either get to buy them from Amazon or find them in the Philippines.

Product and Technology Innovation
October 3, 2007

One great frustration I have with myself is that I can’t think of an original product to build.

So while I urge people to build “the next hot product,” and put up “the next hot Pinoy startup” (a topic I’ve discussed in the past), I find myself unable to follow my own advice. To this end I’ve studied different technologies that could help me “build something better,” but to this day all that’s done for me is getting to know more technologies in a deeper way. Which is what has interested me ever since I got into tech.

It’s fortunate that I get employed and make a career out of building things for people who have either: the product ideas, or the relationships with those who have got the ideas and those who need them. And permutations thereof.

I’ve been working in tech for a long enough time, so I think I’m OK with the technology innovation. I need to be content with my own lack of product innovation. I must stop thinking that I am a failure for not having accomplished what I set out to do. Perhaps I can build products in a vicarious way – by helping those who have the bright idea plus the interest and means to execute it.

Making Fresh Software Developers Productive
June 1, 2007

How to make fresh software developers productive has long been a concern of mine, through various jobs in my career. At my current job, the concern is how to make tool-oriented Computer Science graduates productive. These are people that by the choice of their school or their own decision, orient their education on certain tools or technologies.

This is not good. We need them to think logically and clearly, regardless of what they studied.

They could start in school. I received this email from my alma mater, the Ateneo Department of Information Science and Computer Science (DISCS):

DISCS will have its annual planning session soon and we are trying to gather some data for this meeting. We were thinking you might have some answers/thoughts on the following questions.

1. What are the current technologies that IT students (CS and MIS) should learn?

2. What are industry trends that IT students (CS and MIS) should be aware of?

3. What do you think are the important skill sets IT students (CS and MIS) should have?

4. DISCS is exploring the idea of offering Minor concentration, currently we have something like ‘Games Development’ in mind (i.e. BS CS Minor in Games Development). What do you think of this idea? Do you think there are other areas we could consider developing a Minor in?

Notice that the questions pertain to skills and knowledge of both CS and MIS students. You may specify unique requirements for CS and/or MIS students as well.

Now this makes me feel, “the kids of today have it so much better” – they have the Internet, faster PC’s, better languages (Java, not Pascal!) But of course that will always be the case.

This is related to Winston Damarillo’s (Exist Software) lecture on global opportunities in software development – as covered by Sacha Chua. His ideas are good, but how can Philippine software companies be competitive if the talent is lacking?

Time and again, industry/academe cooperation has been full of wasted opportunities. The cause may be related to what a colleague of mine believes: that academic institutions in the Philippines are profit-making institutions. In the Western world, universities do not make enough money from tuition but get their needs from grants.

The result is that the fresh software developers need to be trained by their hiring companies. That is, if they make the grade at all. User groups can help as well. For Java developers, there’s the Pinoy Java Users Group which I help with.

This is a serious situation, but there’s still room for fun.
Jayvee has coverage of the Exist “geek cocktails”, an event I missed.

Quality and the Software Developer MBA
April 12, 2007

MBA for Software Developers. Sounds like an oxymoron. Most software developers would probably consider a MBA only if they are in or moving to a management role, changing careers, or starting up their own business.

Why this topic? No, I’m not taking a MBA (yet?) It’s because I’m studying Software Quality as part of my job in a software development shop. I read discussion on Lean Software Development, based on Lean Manufacturing and Kaizen (Continuous Improvement). Even if this method is not in use, the principles still apply.

Quality code comes from quality people, the proper application of their skills, with quality tools and processes. People need to be hired and trained. Tools may need to be bought. Processes learned and trained – how are these paid for? From the increased profits of a quality product delivered on schedule and ahead of the competition.

Of course, Leadership is necessary for the developer. Both people leadership and thought leadership. An MBA is not required for this.

Where are the Pinoy Open Source Developers?
March 27, 2007

I was a Pinoy Open Source Developer, years ago. Now, I’m trying to get back, to contribute to the open source tools I use for work.

Where are the Pinoy Open Source Developers? A few years ago this was a topic at PLUG. The discussion back then was that Pinoys are too busy working. If they have free time, they would rather get a sideline for extra income. (I already brought this up earlier: what’s next in Pinoy tech.)
Now that there are jobs that pay you to work with open source (common with Linux system administration), is getting paid to work on the code itself far behind? There is at least one local company where people paid to hack on open source code, but this is just maintenance work as far as I can see.

Is there a Filipino company that will dare build a product as open source? Or less dramatic: build a components product out of open source components?

Where are the Pinoy Developer Bloggers?
March 19, 2007

I went through the Philippine Blog Awards entries. The Technology category has a number of web design, photography, and even open source blogs.

But no developer blogs. Where are they? Or they don’t know about the contest?

I don’t know many Pinoy Developer Bloggers. Some are hosted on devpinoy.org. Others are aggregated at Pinoy Tech Scene. The rest – there is no comprehensive list or aggregator.

My Hobby Programming
February 20, 2007

I went to a Book Sale branch in Cubao yesterday, and I bought Effective C#.

Why this, when I use Java for work? It’s confusing to work with both Java and C# at the same time since they are too similar.

There were Java books at that branch, mostly from APress. But they were about specific technologies, stuff you can pick from the web. Effective C# is something you would need to read leisurely.

But why C#? It’s part of my quest to learn other languages – partly for practical purposes, partly as a hobbyist. I was a programming hobbyist long before I did it for work.

I did use C# and .NET for practical purposes once in my life, back in 2004. I even bought a licensed copy of Microsoft Visual C# 2003 that came bundled with a book on learning the language.

Now I have Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Express Edition, but it’s waiting for a time I could use it. When is that? Maybe when I’m bored and want to build a Windows program. Maybe if I’m away on a foreign trip and have nothing to do in my off hours.

Ruby on Rails is another “hot” technology I’ve been meaning to pick up. I bought an ebook of Pragmatic RoR programming. This is for the time, if and when, I get to build a “web 2.0” style app. I do have the host after all and it’s only used to host blogs at the moment.

The main issue here is focus. Since I already do some coding, architecture and planning for work, it’s hard to “work some more” when I get home. This is the reason I can’t help some friends at the moment. They have some ideas on new killer apps to build, but they are not developers. I am the one meant to do the implementation. But, I can’t take on “another job” with what I’m doing right now for work.

Other programming work can only be a hobby for now, and even that, I’m challenged.

The SCJP Review Process
February 5, 2007

I’m reviewing for the Sun Certified Java Programmer exam, version 5.0.

In my IT career, I have never taken any certifications. I was never asked for them when applying for a job.

I’m now taking it because for my current job, our outsourcing customers might look for certified people to handle their projects. We have plans to have the team certified. I’ll go first so I can coach the crew.

I learned Java in 2002, and started serious work with it in 2003. (This makes me a relative newbie in the PinoyJUG Java User crew.) Despite knowing Java for four years, I still make mistakes in the exams I’m taking. The nuances are really nasty. And, for SCJP 5.0, you need to know Generics. I have not used that language feature yet.

The best references I’ve found are Kathy Sierra + Bert Bates’ certificate review book, plus Marcus Green’s online exam at examulator.com.

I’m writing notes about the study process, and I might just blog about it. (Not here, of course! I’m trying to keep this blog non-geek-friendly.)

Java Concurrency In Practice
January 9, 2007

I wanted to say a lot about this book but fortunately this guy said it already. This is a very little-understood topic, especially among Pinoy Java Developers. Reading it came at the right time, just when I’m starting to write some real concurrent apps.

This book helps even if you never plan to DIY concurrency, and are happy to rely on app server functionality. If you will never use concurrent or multithreaded Java – doubtful – JCIP is still useful because it helps you understand some Java concepts in a practical setting.

If you haven’t, reading Joshua Bloch’s Effective Java first is recommended.

Java, Rails and programming for fun
November 29, 2006

Despite its flaws, Java is the most practical language to use in the enterprise, mobility and telecoms stuff I do. Now that the Java core will be open source, it’s more useful now.

I’ve been looking at Java ESB, JBI and SOA. I’m now reading on EJB 3.0 again, and going through Joshua Bloch’s Java Puzzlers. But Java is no longer fun – though Bloch’s book helps.
I’ve been looking for the next thing for my personal projects. I need to keep my programming edge.
I think Ruby and Rails is become the tool to use for the web. I got Agile Web Development with Rails, Second Edition. Some of it is shocking, coming from a “rigid” Java background. I hope to deploy it for something, soon.

I expect that some clients might ask for Rails for work-for-hire jobs.