Friday, October 31, 2014

It’s an extra Freaky Friday at IDV Solutions on Halloween

The team got creative during Freaky Friday 2014.3 today, and we celebrated Halloween with a costume contest.

Freaky Friday gives developers the chance to work on a project of their choosing for the day, and next week, they will show it off to the team. Some of these projects may end up in future versions of Visual Command Center or Visual Fusion – or they may be the start of a whole new product.

Halloween costume winners:

First place: Yusuke (who dressed up as South Park’s take on Lorde)
Second place: Matt (hobo knight)

Third place: Khemal, in our Orlando office, who dressed up as death.
Check out more photos in our Facebook album, and stay tuned for what came out of Freaky Friday when we hold Reckoning Monday next week! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Software Development: Good reads!

At one time I used to be a voracious reader and often touted that ‘real’ books (books made out of paper and hard cover) are gems, to be owned, collected, appreciated and read. Well, I admit embarrassingly that I no longer adhere to such claims. Maybe coz’ times have changed and lot of good software related educational videos are available online. Apart from videos and MSDN free e-books, Kindle has replaced several books on my shelf. So yes, I guess I do read books, but now the pages fit on the screen of my cell phone.

As I was reading one of my Kindle books, I thought of sharing some of my favorite reads in recent years. Usually I read books that are more, well, concepts and principles. I am interested in a book when it talks about the ‘whys’ behind a practice or technology instead of how. There are plenty of resources online that talks about specific implementation details but why we are doing what we are doing is what gets me hooked!

Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code by Kent Beck:
In the last 3 years this is by far the most useful book I have read. This book opened my eyes to several things at once and I was immediately able apply the concepts to work. SOLID principles, code smells, clean coding, agile development, unit testing, all became important things in life. Before reading this book I had no idea how ‘stinky’ my code could be. Now I had the knowledge to spot a code smell and get rid of it for good! A liberating feeling indeed.

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C Martin
Though this book was highly recommended in software community, I was initially skeptical. I was not really interested in a book that that tells me how to format code in 10 different ways. Well of course I was wrong. This books served as a good complement to Kent Beck book on Refactoring. Things started to get interesting from Chapter 11. Uncle Bob, starts taking about clean Systems and Emergent Design. I never really thought about software this way before.

Test Driven Development: By Example by Kent Beck
I feel, this book together with Roy Oshorove’s Art of Unit Testing has greater impact than alone. This is a great intro to TDD and thinking required behind developing testable code.

Agile Software Development: Principles, Patterns and Practices by Robert C Martin
I am still reading this book and in the process wondering why on earth I did not buy it earlier. A classic Robert C Martin. Uncle Bob talks about end to end software development using agile principles. He discusses a host of design patterns. Patterns are discussed in context of real software development, which makes it an interesting and relevant read.

Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Martin Fowler
I am currently reading this book. There isn't anything particularly new about the content if you are an experienced application developer, but everything is put together well and ideas makes sense. Martin Fowler is great writer and even better teacher, and that shows. I am reading this book as a reference material.

Finally, Coders at work: Reflections on the craft of programming
Nothing technical here. One day when I was drowning in despair and lacking motivation, a friend recommended this book. It was an interesting read. I relished the stories of ancient haloed programmers and realized I have big shoes to fill :-)