DevDay 2015, Inspiration, and a quick look back…

So far this year, which is obviously nowhere near finished yet, I have had some amazing experiences. From .NET Fringe, Polyglot 2015, Progressive .NET Tutorials 2015, to Dev Day 2015 and more. I decided to add a little bit more of a personal note in this blog entry because of inspiration I just got from Michał Śliwoń (@mihcall) on his Dev Day 2015 Aftermath write up.

Just as Michał writes,

“Inspiration is like a spark. It can be one brilliant presentation at the conference, one sentence at some session, one hallway conversation with another attendee and I’m excited, coming back with a head full of new ideas. Every conference has this little spark”

and I completely agree. At .NET Fringe I got back into a few things on the .NET CLR stack, namely F# and a little toying around with Akka .NET and micro-services using those technologies. I also had a hand in organizing and the origins of the conference, which I wrote about. At Polyglot 2015 my desire increased to become more familiar with and comfortable with functional programming languages. At the Progressive .NET Tutorials I was again inspired to dive deeper into functional languages and take a look more closely at everything from Weave and other container and virtualization based systems.

Thrashing Code News

One things that this led me to, is to start putting together a list of people who are interested in these types of conferences. I’m talking about the really down to earth, nitty gritty, get into the weeds of the technology, and meet the people building and using that technology everyday conferences. This list, you can sign up for here and do read the article just below the sign up page, as this is NOT some spam list. I’ll be putting in real effort and time to put together good content when the list officially kicks off! I will blog about, and of course get that first email out about Thrashing Code News in the coming months.

Again at Dev Day I was also inspired by many people and got to meet many people. Which leads me to the number one thing that makes these conferences absolutely great. It’s all about the people who attend.

The People

I got to meet Rob Conery (@robconery / http://rob.conery.io/). We hung out, had beers, talked shop, talked surfing, talked tech and training screencast, discussed future bad ass conferences (again, sign up to my list and I’ll keep you abreast of any mischievious conference Rob & I dive into) and tons more. It was seriously kick ass to meet Rob, especially after not getting a chance to at what must have been a gazillion conferences he and I have both been at before!

I finally met Christian Heilmann (@codepo8) who I also think we must have both been at a gazillion of the same conferences and somehow managed to not meet each other. Good conversation, talk of Seattle, other devlish code happy things – and hopefully a beer or two to be had with good Christian in the near future in Seattle or Portland (or thereabouts).

I had the fortune of running into Alena Dzenisenka (@lenadroid) again doing what she does, which is tell, teach, and show people a whole of awesome F# handiwork. For instance at Dev Day she was throwing down some machine learning math and helping to get people started. She’s also got some talks lined up near the Cascadian (that’s Seattle and Portland, but also San Francisco and Dallas!!) lands if you haven’t noticed, so come get inspired to sling some functional code!

On day one the keynote by Chad Fowler (@chadfowler) was excellent. I’d not realized he was a fellow who escaped the south like I had all while playing a bunch of music! I was able to catch Chad and chat a bit on day two of the conference. His presentation was great, and he’s motivated me to give his book Passionate Programmer a read.

Another individual who I’d been aiming to meet, Mathias Brandewinder (@brandewinder), was also at the conference. I even attended some of his workshop and learned a number of things about F# and machine learning. I’m definitely inspired to dig deeper into many of the machine learning realm and start figuring out more of the truly amazing things we can do with computers and machine learning algorithms – I honestly feel like we’ve only skimmed the surface for much of this technology. Mathias also has a book, that is truly worth buying titled “Machine Learning Projects for .NET Developers“. If you’re curious, yes, I have the book and am working through it steadily!  🙂

Gary Short (@garyshort) provided an amazing talk on digging into crop yields via the European Space Agency Data Science Project. I also enjoyed the multiple conversations that I was able to have with Gary from the talk of “really really really awesomely excited Americans” vs. “excited Americans” all the way to the talks on the matter of data science and crop yields themselves. Gary’s talk is linked below, so get a dose of the crop yields yourself, and any complaints be sure to send to his @robashton twitter account!  (But seriously, you should follow Rob Ashton too as he’s got a lot of good twitter nuggets).

Another person I was super stoked to run into again is Tomas Petricek (who I hear might be in the Cascadian lands of the Seattle area in a month or so). I met Tomas at Progressive .NET Tutorials in London and enjoyed a number of good conversations, and his general awesome personality and hilarious demeanor! Not sure I mentioned, but he’s got some wicked F# chops too. He spoke about Understanding the World with Type Providers, which is something that you should watch as it’s an interesting way to wrap one’s mind around a lot of ideas.

I also, after many random conversations about a whole host of conversation in Functional Programming Slack (follow the link to sign up) chats, got to meet Krzysztof Cieślak (@k_cieslak). Krzysztof (and if you can’t pronounce his name just keep trying, you’ll get it right sometime around 2023) was great to meet and catch up with in person. Also great to hear tidbits about what he’s working on since he’s driving some really cool projects, including working on projects like Ionide Project for the Atom Editor.

There are so many people I enjoyed chatting with and getting to meet, which I really wish I had more time to hang out and chat or hack with everybody more. I met so many other individuals, that I already feel like a prick for not being able to write something about every single awesome person I’ve had a chance to speak with at Dev Day and the subsequent days after the conference. To those I didn’t, sorry about that, drinks and dinner are on me when you’re in Portland!

…on that note, get subscribed to Thrashing Code News so I can update you when the rumblings and dates of the next kick ass conferences, hackathons, hacking festivals, or other great materials, learnings, or such come up. In addition, get inspired to speak, or get involved in some way and help make the next conference you attend as kick ass as you’d want it to be! It’s easy, just fill out your name and email here.

…and to Michał and Rafał I’ll be following up with you guys on some of my next confrence efforts coming up in the Cascadian Pacific Northwest (i.e. Seattle/Portland area)! Cheers!

Composite Code

Leadership of a Team: Progress and Backlogs

I’ve been checking out a number of teams and what their workloads look like. I’ve of course worked on more than few with completely disparate practices and policies. Some where really good at making great progress and others were absolutely horrendous. I’d argue one team actually went backwards in progress more than a few times. Suffice it to say, I’ve seen a whole lot of the bad and a fair amount of amazing teams. I’ve been fortunate in doing so as it really helps to have a solid perspective in both arenas.

To summarize, it’s nice to know when the ship is sinking and when the ship is sailing full steam toward the destination! Continue reading

Oh Snap, Got That Kanban w/ Github Integration!!

A recent issue came up on the team yesterday. We needed to increase the visibility of what we’re working on without dragging ourselves into more one on one or team communication. As anyone that has spent more than 5 minutes with a team knows, meetings kill productivity and morale, so the idea to get a kanban board going was brought up.

That raised the second issue of a remotely distributed team. We can’t have a real kanban board and the literal presence that it provides by being physical. The next best thing though is to have a virtual kanban board that integrates well into our workflow. With integration we get to look at it regularly and work around it to communicate where and what we’re working on without it becoming a major interruption.

That left the need for a kanban board with github integration. I thought to myself, “this exists right?” I checked the ole’ Internet tubes and sure enough someone had posed the question on StackOverflow! The question read, “What’s the best kanban tool to use with github?” Unfortunately there wasn’t a whole lot of answers or information following that up. However, the one answer that did exist provided an interesting solution.

Hubbard

The simple one page site is located here: http://huboard.com/ and on Github here: https://github.com/rauhryan/huboard. This describes the product a bit, and Ryan Rauh(@rauhryan) has a blog entry on Los Techies titled “Huboard – Github issues made Awesome“. You can also follow Huboard on Twitter @Huboard.

(Screenshots courtesy of Ryan’s Blog Entry, click any of them to go to his blog entry)

Huboard

Huboard

Huboard #2

Huboard #2

Where I’m At…

At this point I’m just checking it out, forking the code, and seeing how it works. This tool looks very promising however and fits into the workflow in an extremely seamless way!

Ward Cunningham Presenting “Missing from the Beginning: The Federation of Wikis” @ #nodepdx

This is the seventh in a series of posts about the individual speakers lined up for…

Ward Cunningham Presenting at CyborgCamp. Photo: Mark Coleman http://markcolemanphoto.com/

Ward Cunningham Presenting at CyborgCamp. Photo: Mark Coleman http://markcolemanphoto.com/

I’m extremely happy to introduce Ward Cunningham. He’ll be presenting “Missing From the Beginning: The Federation of Wikis” at NodePDX. Here’s a description of what he’ll be presenting on in his words.

Our new wiki innovates three ways. It shares through federation, composes by refactoring and wraps data with visualization.

The Smallest Federated Wiki project wants to be small in the “easy to learn powerful ideas” version of small. It wants to be a wiki so that strangers can meet and create works of value together. And it wants to be federated so that the burden of maintaining long-lasting content is shared among those who care.

Ward's Art Image, Click to Checkout His Site

Ward's Art Image, Click to Checkout His Site

Ward has a list of awesome insights and projects he’s worked on, including a little agile manifesto contribution. 😉  Here’s a short bio of Ward,

Ward Cunningham currently serves in a one-year appointment as Nike’s open-data fellow. He has been CTO at CitizenGlobal, a growth company enabling the co-creation of media. Ward co-founded the consultancy, Cunningham & Cunningham, Inc. He has served as CTO of AboutUs, a Director of the Eclipse Foundation, an Architect in Microsoft’s Patterns & Practices Group, the Director of R&D at Wyatt Software and as Principle Engineer in the Tektronix Computer Research Laboratory.

Ward is well known for his contributions to the developing practice of object-oriented programming, the variation called Extreme Programming, and the communities supported by his WikiWikiWeb. Ward hosts the AgileManifesto.org. He is a founder of the Hillside Group and there created the Pattern Languages of Programs conferences which continues to be held all over the word.

If you’d like to come and check out Ward’s Presentation and the other kick ass presentations lined up, get involved in some coding, hear what Node.js is all about, or just hang out please RSVP and get the event on your calendar! Besides, what better reason to come visit the amazing city of Portland, Oregon than to come hack some node.js and chill for the weekend!

Urban Lean Agile Tech Breakfast Meetup, Be There This Wednesday!

Are you hard core into technology and software development like Node.js, JavaScript, Ruby, Rails, .NET, Java, Clojure and more?

Do you like the ideas behind the agile manifesto, lean startup, kanban, and thinking outside of the box?

Are you digging that ASP.NET MVC Framework or waiting for the next ALT.NET meetup?

Loving that ease of Ruby on Rails to wow your user base with ease, to implement with Sinatra those clean JavaScript & jQuery enabled UX for your clients?

Want to talk shop, eat some grub, have a beverage, and get a nerd kick start in the morning?

In that case meet us for Urban Lean Agile Tech Breakfast Meetup at Mod Pizza @ 1302 6th Avenue @ 8 am on Wednesday, August 3rd.

Iteration End, Velocity++, Chart Awesomeness, Contribute Back Plz K Thx!

Here’s a few charts and such from the end of an iteration that the team I’m on just wrapped.  I’d love to see any TFS charts of this nature or other solutions in JIRA, TeamCity, or whatever is used.  Anyone else out there want to get a blog post up about it, I’ll add a link at the end of my entry here.

Lots of Tests, Good Continuous Integration Build

Lots of Tests, Good Continuous Integration Build

Gotta have solid test coverage for any reasonable expectation of maintenance.  When I mean tests, I’m talking about properly abstracted, mocked, stubbed, faked, or otherwise built so as they don’t depend on all sorts of nonsensical external dependencies like file systems, database, or other things.

Code Coverage, in general keeps an upward trend!

Code Coverage, in general keeps an upward trend!

100% is a little fanatical, but an upward trend after the beginning of a project and the initial work beginning is one of the best things to see.  Code coverage with tests means you’ll be able to get all sorts of goodies:  maintainable code, non-increasing tech debt, faster refactors, etc.

The Few Fixes Needed, Get Fixed Pretty Quick!

The Few Fixes Needed, Get Fixed Pretty Quick!

Unit test fixes.  Should be quick, should be furiously done, and shouldn’t take more than about an hour on the infrequent times they occur at all.

Unit Test Coverage Up...

Unit Test Coverage Up...

Increasing Count

Increasing Count

…and of course, the burn down.

BURN baby BURN!

Burn Down

Burn Down

Don’t Give me Rework Refusal!

Over the last few weeks I’ve seen a few comments regarding rework. One of those comments was Julie Booth’s (@uxsuccess) comment on Twitter regarding rework,

“Do not fear rework!!”

That kicked me off with a response of,

“Do not fear rework!! /via @uxsuccess so true, plz plz don’t cower before rework!!! :). Listen to @uxsuccess!

Then just recently I stumbled onto a book I’ve been meaning to read called Rework.  This book is written by the crew at 37signals.  This company is best known for SaaS Offerings Basecamp, Highrise, Campfire, and Backpack.  All of them created with high quality, solid UX (User eXperience), probably great code quality, maintainability, and the list of goodness goes on.  In addition, the other thing that 37signals is widely known for is their efforts around Ruby on Rails (created by DHH @dhh).

Rework is a fundamental requirement to actually getting an elegant solution.  It might seem chaotic or disconnected at first, but it quickly becomes a vastly superior way of doing things instead of the “Do it once, do it right the first time” nonsense.  Things need to change, doing things right the first time is almost impossible anyway.  That is why you practice playing guitar before becoming a virtuoso, you learn to hammer before becoming a carpenter, you sketch and draw before becoming an architect, and the list goes on.

Don’t expect perfection, expect creation.  That’s what I’d say.  If you can’t tell, I agree with the Ruby on Rails mindset, with a lot of what DHH/@dhh writes, and I especially respect what 37signals has accomplished and the revolutionary business ideas in the book Rework.

These types of ideas – simple rework and the open minded approach to rework – makes a business faster, more agile, and responsive to their customers’ needs.  These ideas, these mentalities are what have created great companies in the past and will build great companies in the future.  The companies that suffer the traditional approaches and mindsets are at significant risk of being eliminated from the market altogether.

There are many others out there also, that push these types of ideas and mentalities around rework, refactoring, and agile practices.  If you haven’t checked out who 37signals is, the book Rework, or Ruby on Rails you should stop whatever you’re doing and find out about this company and its products.  Especially find out how their products were built with business agility in mind, with a strong dose of Agile ideals.  With that I bid adieu for the day.  Happy coding, and don’t fear the rework.