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Which Path?

April 26, 2013 7 comments

Please peruse the graphic below and then answer these questions for BD00: Is it a forgone conclusion that object-oriented development is the higher quality path from requirements to source code for all software-intensive applications? Has object-oriented development transitioned over time from a heresy into a dogma?

SA vs OO

With the rising demand for more scaleable, distributed, fault-tolerant, concurrent systems and the continuing maturation of functional languages (founded on immutability, statelessness, message-passing (e.g. Erlang, Scala)), choosing between object-oriented and function-oriented technical approaches may be more important for success than choosing between agile development methodologies.

The Renaissance That Wasn’t

March 14, 2013 Leave a comment

In the thoughtful and well-written article, “The Rise and Fall of Languages in 2012”, Andrew Binstock rightly noted that the C++ renaissance predicted by C++ ISO committee chairman Herb Sutter did not materialize last year. Even though C++ butters my bread and I’m a huge Sutter fan, I have to agree with Mr. Binstock’s assessment:

In fact, I can find no evidence that C++ is breaking into new niches at a pace that will affect the language’s overall numbers. For that to happen, it would need to emerge as a primary language in one of today’s busiest sectors: mobile, or the cloud, or big data. Time will tell, but I feel comfortable projecting that C++ will continue to grow in its traditional niches and will advance at the same rate as those niches grow.

Nevertheless, if you buy into Herb’s prognostication that power consumption and computing efficiency (performance per watt) will overtake programmer productivity as the largest business cost drag in the future, then the C++ renaissance may still be forthcoming. Getting 2X the battery life out of a mobile gadget or a .5X reduction in the cost to run a data center may be the economic ticket that triggers a deeper C++ penetration into what Andrew says are today’s busiest sectors: mobile, the cloud, and big data. However, if the C++ renaissance does occur, it won’t take hold overnight, let alone over the one year that has passed since the C++11 standard was hatched.

It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future – Yogi Berra

Cpp Mkt Share

What’s The Diff?

February 10, 2013 3 comments

One of the problems I’ve always had with the word “agile” is that it’s so overloaded (like “system“) that anyone can claim “agility“:

Everyone is doing agile these days – even those who aren’t – Scott Ambler

Along this vein, check out this slide from a unnamed agile expert:

Tests first

Now tell me, how is this advice different from the unconscionable and anti-agile:

Reqs First

To define tests, you have to have some understanding of the requirements to test against in your cranium, no? It’s just that, in agile-land, you’ll be excommunicated from the cult if you formally write them down before slinging code. WTF?

Like “agile” was a backlash against “waterfall” in the past, maybe “waterfall” will be a circular backlash against “agile” in the future?

Waterfall Agile

Likewise, instead of creating an emergent Frankensteinian design with revered “TDD“, why not hop off the bandwagon and create emergent tests with “DDT“?

DDT

Holiday Cheer!

December 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Annoying And Disappointing

November 23, 2012 4 comments

Atego’s Artisan Real-Time Studio, Sparx’s Enterprise Architect, and IBM’s Rational Rhapsody are big and expensive UML  modeling tools. You would think they support all of the basic visual modeling elements of the UML, no?

On the left side of the figure below, I show the four fundamental, visual UML symbols for conjuring up (wrong, incomplete, and inconsistent) structural views of an object-oriented software system in the form of class diagrams, deployment diagrams, component diagrams, etc.

It blows BD00’s already incoherently twisted mind that Artisan Studio doesn’t provide visual elements for a UML Node or a Component. As can be seen on the right side of the figure, the work-around is to use stereotyped Classifier elements to fill the void. It’s annoying and disappointing, dontcha think?

But hey, not many people (especially extreme left-wing agile zealots) buy into the potential of the UML for shortening the development time and long-term cost of big, sprawling, long-lived software systems . So, “meh” to this irrelevant post.

Note: I’m a relatively newbie user of Artisan Studio. If you’re an advanced user and you know that I’m mistaken here, then please speak up and tell me how to find these two seemingly-hidden buggers.

Preventers, Not Managers

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment

The worst companies directly contribute to the physical and emotional deterioration of their DICforces by unceasingly imposing ridiculous schedules and ratcheting up the (unspoken) pressure to work massive amounts of unpaid overtime for long stretches of time. Average companies do the same under the tired old mantra of “it’s a hostile business environment“, but they take good care of their DICsters after much damage is done. The best of the breed are highly self-aware systems that actively practice “crisis prevention” – not “crisis management“. They diligently monitor the “system’s” vital signs and know when things are getting too toxic for their people. Unlike the worst and the average, the best actually take effective action to relieve the stress on their people before the wreckage accumulates. They’ll sacrifice some almighty dollars by relaxing schedules, or giving some extra days off, or frequently providing small tokens of appreciation to counter the toxicity of the operational environment. They are preventers, not managers.

Wouldn’t it be kool if the role of “manager” was jettisoned in favor of “preventer“? If anything, it would at least drive home what those in charge of others should really be doing – preventing, not managing.

A Real Renaissance

November 13, 2012 1 comment

For quite some time now, I’ve been hearing that C++ has been undergoing a resurgence of interest; a renaissance. However, until recently, I couldn’t tell if the claim was real, or just some hype coming out of the C++ community to fruitlessly combat the rise of a plethora of new languages.

Well, I’m convinced that the renaissance is legit. The slides below, pilfered from Herb Sutter‘s “The Future Of C++” talk at Microsoft Build 2012, introduced the formation of a new C++ trade group, the “Standard C++ Foundation“.

Note that there are some big guns with deep pockets backing the foundation along with a cadre of brilliant and dedicated directors at the helm.

It’s a good time to be a C++ programmer, so join the renaissance and start learning the new features and libraries offered up in C++11. Of course, if your technical management is not forward looking and it’s tight with training dollars, you’ll have to do it on your own time, covertly, behind the scenes. But it will not only be fun, it will enhance your marketability.

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