It's been a while

 I don't put the effort into this that I thought I would.  Regardless, I thought I would just say "out loud" that I think Elix...

April 25, 2014

Casting Doubt

So, I'm going about my day when I see this come across Twitter.  So I go and read it.

Wow.  Let's go through it.

It opens with:
Are you trying to bring modern development practices to a… less-than-modern software development environment?
Uh, yeah, I have been for over 2 years.

Then he lists the warning signs:

  • Silos
    • Yup, this kind of "bigger picture" stuff is rarely shared, and only after there's been an issue.
  • Visibility
    • Surprisingly no.  Most everything we have is at least in SVN.
  • "We're too busy for maintenance"
    • That's a definite "yes".

Does my current employer have a problem?  Yup.

I've been trying to just get simple things accomplished for over two years now.  We're talking little things, like upgrading Perl to something in the last decade and writing unit tests.

Of those two, only the Perl upgrade has any traction (also strangely with a move from Windows to Linux).  However, we are on year two of the upgrade and are in exactly the same place with it as last year.  This time, I"ll work harder to not let it drop.  Of course there are still outstanding items, like integration testing, using web frameworks, using an ORM, PSGI, etc.

So, moving on to strategies.  Well let's see, top down?  Nope, that has gone no where.  Management poo poos any and all new ideas, with the exception of the upgrade.

Working bottom up, certainly seems like the ticket.  Oh, he starts with testing.  Well, having spent time teaching Perl classes and showing a few coworkers how Perl tests work, you'd think this would be a no brainer.  Nope, the few that would listen to me went "uh huh", and moved on.  I still write them of course, but it's lonely being the only one.  Instead we spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME, clicking on our web app to test stuff.

Well then Jay talks about CI a bit.  Um, yeah.  I guess I should focus on his last sentence: "Small and simple is infinitely superior to nothing".  Of course that's easier said than done in an environment of hostile sysadmins, but I suppose those are stories for another day.

Jay ends with the investment angle.  That's how I've tried to see these things...investing in our future.

As you can probably tell, I work in a very backwards development environment with closed minded "we've always done it this" way people.  It is super frustrating and I'm at my wits end.

I could give all of this another shot, but that means time and patience.  I don't think I have the patience, and my time is likely better spent learning stuff I can use somewhere else.

That's where my head is at.  Perhaps yours is in a different place.

April 10, 2014

...and it begins

Ok, let's let the cat out of the bag, today I ran the following in my Cloud 9 workspace:

rails new name-that-book

Exciting isn't it?

One idea I had was to recreate something like the old "Name That Tune" show.  In the show, contestants had to name the tune in as few of notes as possible.

I intend to recreate that with music, but let's start with something that might be a bit easier.

So, I still need to start fleshing out all the ideas, features, and details, but at least I've got a repo to hold some of my original thoughts and code on this.

The first step, I think, is to ignore the front end and get a backend RESTful thingy working with tests.

May this be my first baby step into a new job.

Wish me luck.

April 3, 2014


So, I said earlier that I was out to become a "Rubyist".  This is still true, and I'm finally ready to get back on that wagon.  What have I been doing?  Well, I've been spending time on CodeSchool.  I found a Groupon a while back and just went for it.

I'm pretty happy with CodeSchool so far.  According to them I am now a master in HTML/CSS and Javascript.  Since most future work is probably going to be for the web, I thought this was a good investment.  I like the modern HTML elements, I learned a bit about SASS which I knew nothing about before.

The other "win" is with Javascript.  I could get simple things done in JS, but I feel much more equipped to do something "real" with it.  They even had courses on Bootstrap and Ember (with an Angular course coming).  Although I probably couldn't write an Ember app from scratch without a lot of help, I did learn quite a bit and it solidified some concepts.

So, with those two tracks accomplished, I'm excited to get back to Ruby and Rails.  I've even thought of a couple of ideas of apps I want to of which should be really fun if a few details pan out and when I get it working.

So, I'm going to get busy with Ruby, but I might just make the Rails project to provide the backend for an Ember app. We'll see where this all leads.

One last thing that I'll probably put on twitter also: I'm bummed that I'll never use this at my employer, so yes, I'm on the market for a progressive Perl or Ruby or Python shop.  I'm ready to experience agile, pair programming, and modern web techniques.