Monday, September 14, 2015

Weekend Reader, Week 37

Security: How a bug in Visual Studio 2015 exposed my source code on GitHub and cost me $6,500 in a few hours

Wow! Amazon and the Hackers are both continuously scanning public repositories for passwords!
This story should make you reconsider where you leave your credit card information… things might get out of hand, even if you think that you are just using a free service …

Agile: Avoiding the most common pitfall of large-scale agile

Gojko wrote an interesting article about the current trend of scaling Agile. Unconventional as always, he draws anaglogies with “The Lord of the Rings” and escaping a concentration camp in WWII.
He argues that our industry is obsessed with effort instead of focusing on outcome.
His main explanaition why Agile does not scale in most attempts is:

On a small scale, effort does boost outcome.[…] On a larger scale, effort no longer directly relates to results.

Salary in IT: An endless topic on Quora

Interesting to see different perspectives. Although I have a hard time to take the second answer seriously. In my experience not many enterprises are looking for the mythical “10x engineer” and are willing to pay these extravagant figures …

Stack overflow has also some info about salaries.

SwissJS: Videos of the sessions are online

If you missed SwissJS last July, the recorded sessions are now available on YouTube.
If you just want to watch one session, I recommend “Creating UIs for the WebA Audio API” by Stephen Band. His usage of the browser to create music is impressive and its a refreshing non-enterprisy topic.

Video: How to make your code sustainable

Christin Gorman is adressing the problem of over-engineering in typical business applications. This one is more serious than previous presentations by her, but she kept her refreshing way to present …

How to make your code sustainable - what they don't teach you - Christin Gorman from JavaZone on Vimeo.

Community: First JS Community Meeting in Berne

Four intereting talks. I am looking forward to this event …

Tweets of the Week

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Weekend Reader, Week 35

Web Dev: Stop pushing the web forward

Peter Paul Koch of QuirksMode argues that we are maneuvering the web into a dead end. Instead of trying to compete with native apps by cramming more and more features into browsers, we should focus on the web’s strengths: simplicity, URLs and reach.

We get ever more features that become ever more complex and need ever more polyfills and other tools to function — tools that are part of the problem, and not of the solution.

Web Dev: A hex editor in the browser - Just another instantiation of Attwood’s Law:

Any application that can be written in JavaScript will eventually be written in JavaScript

Work: Long Hours Backfire for People and for Companies

In sum, the story of overwork is literally a story of diminishing returns: keep overworking, and you’ll progressively work more stupidly on tasks that are increasingly meaningless.

JavaScript: Angular 2 Migration

The supported migration scenario from Angular 1 to Angular 2 will not be based on the Angular New Router (aka. Component Router) any more (it seems as the New Router has been killed as a standalone project anyways). The Angular team posted a sophisticated plan how migration will look like. It looks interesting, but as far as I gather it’s still only a plan, the bits are not available yet …

WebDev: Phoenix Framework 1.0

The hype moves on: Elixr seems to get traction. And the Phoenix Framework is certainly worth having a look at for modern web development …

Online Education: A lucrative business

Online courses are sprouting out of the internet like mushrooms in autumn … I for myself have currently a subscription to Pluralshigt and to But there is so much more …
The business seems to be lucrative, at least for some teachers …

Funny: Readable code - and the long lost secret of how to achieve it

(funny and provocative … see the comments)

Readable code - and the long lost secret of how to achieve it from JavaZone on Vimeo.

Tweets of the week

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Weekend Reader, Week 34

A look at the United States Digital Service (USDS) - An agency to save government IT projects that got on the wrong track

The original enrollment system cost $200 million and would have required $70 million a year to maintain. The new version of the site cost $4 million to produce, with annual maintenance costs also $4 million.

There is a lot of debate whether the 10x developer is reality or not. But this article proves that the 10x team is definitely reality.
But the article also points out that it does not (only) depend on the people in the team, but also on the project setup: Is the team in a position to make a difference, or is it helplessly entangled in bureaucracy.

The biggest foe is generally risk aversion. People in government are trained to not do things differently because there’s often really bad consequences when you try something differently and it fails. We run up against this all the time

I also find the philosophy how the USDS attracts people and forms teams very interesting:

We don’t make career hires. We’re not building a career organization. […] We are relentless about trying to hang onto the ruthless mission focus here. We are built for short term appointments.

Agile: No. Agile Does Not Scale.

At small scale, Agile is great. At large scale, Agile is stupid.

Jurgen Appelo, the author of Management 3.0, gives his thought about the recent attempts to scale Agile and the fundamental flaw that at the base of all those methodologies that want to apply existing Agile practices at large:

Scaling Agile is indeed a problem, because the Manifesto doesn’t scale
in the first place. It was intended to describe small projects, not
large enterprises.

Agile: It used to be simple

It is sad where Agile has ended up:

Today consulting companies position themselves to help other companies to choose an Agile framework that fits their specific Agile needs:

Agile: Simplicity and Unscaling

As we introduce agility into larger instances, we’re losing the very essence of agility that made it attractive in the first place.

We don’t have a scaling problem, we have a “trying to throw too many people at it” problem. We have a “love of size and scope” problem.

Work: Living in Switzerland ruined me for America and its lousy work culture

So, I guess I should feel privileged to be born in Switzerland …

Funny: Snapchat murders Facebook

… an intro to Snapchat, ideal for old people like me who are still blogging and can’t stay up to date on the latest fashon in social networking:

Tweets of the week

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

JavaScript vs. ECMAScript 2015

JavaScript, it might have been botched but we loved it because it was simple: Write the code and press reload.

ECMAScript 2015, formerly known as ECMAScript 6 … to use it today, you have to understand transpilation and module loading and deal with all the accidental complexity around Node.js, npm, webpack, babel, traceur, jspm, SystemJS etc.

ES2015 … for nerds that love toys?

The slides are from my JavaScript courses.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Weekend Reader, Week 33

Tudor Girba on .NET Rocks

.NET Rocks is still one of my favorite podcast. In this episode my colleague Tudor talks about his ideas of modern software development, especially about reading code an source code analysis.
A very interesting conversation, Tudor is eloquent as always. But Richard also cuts to the chase at the end: “This all sounds very academic” … listen to the conversation and judge for yourself.

No Estimates: A critique by Steve McConnell

The NoEstimates movement is a new trend in Agile that critizises many Agile methodologies that set heavy focus on planning and therefore spend a lot of effort for estimating.
The proponents of the NoEstimate movement argue that Software Development essentially is nothing like building housese but rather like building a science theory (do you think Einstein estimated how long it would take him to figure out relativity theory?).
As a conclusion software estimation is mostly a farce according to NoEstimates:

It seems that the NoEstimates movement now gained momentum, as the famous author Steve McConnell deems to reply with a video:

No Estimates: The Reply of Ron Jeffries

Ron Jeffries, one of the main proponents of NoEstimates, has an elaborate reply to Steve McDonnell where he shows flaws in the arguments of McDonnell and defends the ideas behind NoEstimates.

NoEstimates: More Resources

The only way out of the estimating nightmare is to call “bullshit” on it, and publicly accept - indeed, embrace - the uncertainty that’s inherent in what we’re doing.

JavaScript: Universal JavaScript at Netflix

Netflix introduced JavaScript on the server to reuse the same logic on the server and the client.

Context switching between languages was not ideal.

After PayPal announced switching all their Java code to JavaScript, this is another big company investing heavily on JavaScript on the server.

JavaScript: Building a desktop application with Electron

A very detailed tutorial on how to build a desktop application with JavaScript and web technologies.
After the browser and the server, JavaScript sets out to conquer the desktop …

JavaScript: Using Server Side Javascript with Wildfly

JBoss, the traditional Java server, jumps the bandwaggon and introduces support for server-side JavaScript. Interesting … probably the first sensible usage of Nashorn I have seen so far (after Project Avatar was killed by Oracle)

But what I find even more interesting, is the new hot deployment mechanism that allows you to map the web content root to your local workspace. This migth be a huge productivity boost for Java web development … so I might have to revise my tweet:

Oldie but Goodie: Gavin King about ORM

It turns out that ORM is a difficult problem, in subtle ways. It always looks simpler from the outside than it turns out to be once you start getting your hands dirty.

People try to apply ORM where it is not really suitable.

Tweets of the week:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Weekend Reader, Week 30

SwissJS was Great!

Here are some good summaries:
- SwissJS 2015 - The JavaScript Conference To Meet and Socialise by
- Impressions of swissJS 2015 by Chaosmail Blog

History of Icons

A visual brief on icon history through different graphical user interfaces in different operating systems.
A neat site that reminds us how time is passing …

Startup Timelines

Another site that reminds us how time is passing …

Assessing Employee Performance: You’re Doing it Rong

Some interesting thoughts about tracking value and a lot of bashing of issue trackers.

Ironically, the best way to get fired for underperformance is to be a 10x developer.

Feature Toggles are one of the worst kinds of Technical Debt

Feature toggles are a (better) alternative to excessive feature branching, but guess what, they have their own problems … so we keep looking for the silver bullet.

Why you might not need MVC

React.js was critizising MVC from the beginning. I never understood the argumentation against MVC, 2-way-binding and the need for the Flux architecture. This article helped me to understand some of the concepts behind that argumentation.

The container revolution

A good writeup about how container technologies evolved and the consequences.

That means your developers can move faster, you can ship faster, you can iterate faster, your business grows faster – speed improves everything.

This Developers Life is back

After almost two years of silence they released a new episode … it does not top my favorite episode, but it’s well done.

The ??!??! operator in C

No joke: ??!??! is a valid operator in the C programming language …

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Next Speaking Engagements

I will hold my workshop “JavaScript for real Developers: A survival Bootcamp” on September 1st at the “ch/open Workshoptage“.
I have been holding workshops at the “ch/open Workshoptage” for the last 9 years, and I think it is one of the best tech event in Switzerland.
It’s the third time I hold the “JavaScript for real Developers” workshop at the “ch/open Workshoptage” (but I have held the same content at many in-house trainings). The last two years the workshop was always fully booked in a short period of time.

Update July 31: The workshop is almost full, a re-run is scheduled.

I am proud that I was invited for the fifth time to speak at the annual SBB Developer Day on September 9th. I will give an introduction to TypeScript.

On August 3rd I will hold my course “Einführung in die Frontend-Entwicklung mit JavaScript und AngularJS” at DigiComp for the first time. The course is not yet fully booked, there is still time to register …

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