Software development

Making mistakes: Part 4

There can only ever be one common assembly, and it isn’t yours. This is my favourite, and it can be found in almost every bigger project. I’ve seen it with every single client without exception, and I’ve done it myself until a few years ago. Most of us know it as that dreadful assembly called Common, Core, Base, Internal or similar (I’ll use Common for the rest of this article). It’s also known as the dark spot in a project, that everybody is required to use and that nobody wants to touch. A place for coding horrors that just keeps on growing into a swamp of nightmares. Too graphical and exaggerated? It’s the place where developers like to put all the code that multiple components of a project… Continue Reading…

Software development

Making mistakes: Part 3

Never underestimate a coder’s pride. I did that a few years back, when I joined a project with a new customer. The team consisted of four developers on site, led by a senior software architect and a group manager. Three more developers were also hired from another country to help create highly encapsulated features. This was the first customer project where I was presented with continuous integration, gated check ins, automated tests and code analysis tools like SonarQube. The software architect – let’s call him Stephen – had put a lot of effort into this development process, and he had done a really great job with it. Naturally, I was very enthusiastic about the project and I immediately felt that this was going to be great fun. We… Continue Reading…

Uncategorized

First words revisited

My blog has been up and running for about an orca’s gestation period, so I think it’s time to check on the progress. In my first post, I mentioned some of my hopes and expectations. I also wrote that I’d come back to that to see what has worked out and what hasn’t, so here goes. The blog experiment has been a success so far. I’ve managed to write down quite a lot of things, which has freed up my mind a bit. There is still a lot of ground to cover, but it’s a start, and I’m glad I did it. I did manage to write a bunch of articles on work related topics, that I have successfully given to clients and co-workers as a sort of… Continue Reading…

Software developmentVisual Studio

Making mistakes: Part 2

Delete all your binaries before a release build. An incredibly easy way to mess up your project is forgetting to delete all your own binaries before building and testing a release candidate. It’s so easy to miss that most companies run dedicated build and test systems that enforce a clean environment before any meaningful action is taken. Not all developers can enjoy that kind of safety at work, and even less of us at home. But first, let’s go ahead and dig a little deeper into how Visual Studio treats assembly references, and why this is so important. There are three kinds of assembly references that I am aware of and each one has its specific behaviour. There is the project reference that we get a lot in… Continue Reading…

Food

Pasta sauce

I’m a big fan of pasta and pesto, and combining both into a delicious meal can easily make my day. But most manufacturers tend to deviate from the traditional recipes quite a bit. A good example is using cheap cashew nuts instead of pine nuts or almonds. The same goes for both cheese and oil used in the product, and there is a tendency towards a much higher amount of salt for flavour potentiation. But I’m a purist with those things, and I want my pesto to be what it says on the label. The only valid option short of moving to Italy is therefore, to make my own pesto using the correct ingredients in the correct amounts. Since pesto sauce is a very old tradition, there isn’t… Continue Reading…

Software developmentWPF

Value conversion in WPF

WPF is the top-notch UI technology from Microsoft, that finally enables us to properly separate business logic and UI from each other. There is plenty of material and documentation about it on the internet, so I won’t bother giving a general overview in this article. If you know WPF, then you already know what it is. You may have noticed that the initial learning curve of WPF is crazy steep, since it’s such a huge and powerful framework. Especially the part where backend and frontend are separated cleanly is very hard to get right in the beginning. The concept behind this is called MVVM, where the goal is to design the entire UI in XAML, using as little code-behind as possible. One of the techniques that WPF offers… Continue Reading…

Software development

Weapons of mass construction

Last time I wrote about how to use interfaces to their full potential, but I never really mentioned factories beyond the fact, that we probably need them. This is going to be another chapter to the previous post with a more in-depth look into the matter of encapsulated object creation in C#. Again I will start with what I usually find in a client’s project, and then I will move in small steps towards a progressively more mature implementation. Every step will include a bit of code to demonstrate the changes that were made. Making up a good example to demonstrate factories is surprisingly hard. There is a multitude of possible scenarios available, but most are too complex to be useful in a blog post. I have settled… Continue Reading…

Software development

Interfacing in style

I tend to give the same talks to clients whenever I enter another project, mostly to get everybody up to speed when there are deficits. In writing everything down, I hope to make the knowledge transfer a little easier, so that I can refer to this and other similar articles in the future. Interfaces are a very useful and important construct in C#, and I believe that any developer worth their salt is going to agree. But they can also be one of the biggest flaws behind an error-prone architecture or a hard to maintain code base. I will start by describing the two basic kinds of interfaces and then describe the typical situation in the code base of most clients. The focus will be on how to… Continue Reading…

Software developmentSoftware testing

Nuclear testing done right

This is a post that I had hoped to write for almost a year and that has been burning under my finger nails. It’s about the latest release of my test platform Nuclear.Test, that I uploaded a few days ago. I’m talking about that magic version 2.0, the very first product grade release. Version 1.0 was made available to the public last summer, but that wasn’t much more than a documented prototype. There were bugs and quirks, and it was a quick and dirty state that I just wanted to get out the door quickly before my son was born. But the first public version of a software is hardly ever any good. It’s there to give the project some traction and for getting to know it a… Continue Reading…

E-Mobility

Enhancing E-Mobility

I bought an e-bike for my daily commute to work roughly four months ago. This blog entry is an update on the topic and a little rant on product quality and tubeless wheels on bicycles. First impression I love the bike! It works like a charm, and it keeps my armpits dry, which is exactly what I had in mind when I got it. The bike has seen almost 1,600 kilometres during the first 2 months and I enjoyed all of it. The aluminium frame creaks a little on rougher terrain and on bumps, but that was expected. It’s not exactly a top quality bike, but it’s not bad either. The tires are a different story. It feels as if they slammed the cheapest and crappiest rubbers in… Continue Reading…