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World Class Help

I’m currently transitioning from one software project to another. After two years of working on a product from the ground up, I will be adding enhancements to a legacy system for an existing customer.

The table below shows the software technologies embedded within each of the products. Note that the only common attribute in the table is C++, which, thank god, I’m very proficient at. Since ACE, CORBA, and MFC have big, complicated, “funkyAPIs with steep learning curves, it’s a good thing that “training” time is covered in the schedule as required by our people-centric process. 🙂

I’m not too thrilled or motivated at having to spin up and learn ACE and CORBA, which (IMHO) have had their 15 minutes of fame and have faded into history, but hey, all businesses require maintenance of old technologies until product replacement or retirement.

I am, however, delighted to have limited e-access to LinkedIn connection Steve Vinoski. Steve is a world class expert in CORBA know-how who’s co-authored (with Michi Henning) the most popular C++ CORBA programming book on the planet:

Even though Steve has moved on (C++ -> Erlang, CORBA -> REST), he’s been gracious enough to answer some basic beginner CORBA questions from me without requiring a consulting contract 🙂 Thanks for your generosity Steve!

  1. Mark Wilson
    March 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

    CORBA …. Blech! Use Ice (zeroc.com)… The OTHER name on that book was the Chief Scientist during its development.

    • March 20, 2012 at 8:58 am

      Blech – agreed wholeheartedly. I’m actually connected to Michi on LI too. But I haven’t tried to ask him any questions yet. Steve’s been great.

  2. Mark Wilson
    March 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Oh, and Boost.ASIO, Boost.Thread, etc. do everything ACE does much better. Unfortunately, you are working on legacy stuff and probably can’t do anything about the horrible old-dated technology…

    • March 20, 2012 at 8:55 am

      LOL!. I have no choice. It’s a “big”, existing, fielded product and a customer is paying for enhancements to it. Like COBOL, CORBA will be around forever. However, I doubt that many new systems are being designed on top of it – unless “forced” to.

    • March 20, 2012 at 9:00 am

      The project I’m “leaving” has a nice, thin, simple to use pub-sub abstraction layer API that we built on top of Boost.asio. Boost is great and it fits right in with “normal” C++. ACE and MFC are fugly, macro-centric APIs with all kinds of ragged quirks and gotchas. But hey, can’t work on new stuff all the time. Someone’s gotta keep the old stuff working to bring in the dough. C’est la vie!

      • Mark Wilson
        March 20, 2012 at 9:30 am

        ACE and Doug Schmidt are due a lot of respect, even so. It implements a lot of cool stuff in a platform independent way, which back then was a pretty big challenge. Never had to program with MFC, thank fate…

      • March 20, 2012 at 10:58 am

        Yeah, I agree with you there too. Did you know that Doug now works at PrismTech? They sell CORBA, but their star product is an implementation of DDS. They also have open sourced a low end version of their DDS product: OpenSplice “community edition”.

  3. decoder-ring-fish
    March 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Who’s kidding who–you old-schoolers are the ones responsible for this.

    http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2012/03/duqu-espionage-malware-authored-by-old-school-developers.ars

    Stop hiding and admit it. Legacy Systems my Tailfin.

    • March 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      Ah yes! My old buddies Igor Skochinsky and Igor Soumenkov. That was when BD00 went by the code name of Igor Bulldoffarova00 (a.k.a IB00). We all chose “Igor” as our first name cuz we loved the “Here’s my brother Darrell and my other brother Darrell” bit on the Bob Newhart show.

    • Mark Wilson
      March 20, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Bet they used vi and make!

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