Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Jamie Madison, Dalibor Siroky, PagerDuty Blog, Stackify Blog, Matt Lonstine

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Design Docs, Code Comments, and . . .

We need to treat our projects more like research projects, and keep a “notebook” somewhere

When first you build a bookshelf from raw wood, on your own, you learn a lot. While the first may be the only one you ever want to build, by the time you’re done, you know you could have done X, Y, or Z better. This is true of so many crafts. You get better by doing, in large part because you learn new tricks, figure out how to make useful tools, get more efficient because you purchased more useful tools… I know that while I would never consider myself an artist, painting models and miniatures has made me progress to where some have called me one. (Picture is a battery of M7 “Priest” artillery I painted up – models by Brittania miniatures)

The thing is, when it’s a hobby, or you’re a one man shop, or the job is not particularly taxing, this knowledge is easy to keep around. You have that jig you built to make cool shelf angles hanging on the wall, or the box of perfect fasteners is still on the shelf. The glue or stain you settled on is what you kept when the last shelf was built, etc.

But when the job is complex, and the problems increasingly so, it is not so simple. When the tools used to achieve a solid solution – the things used to learn and used to improve your productivity – are on a disk somewhere in the org, things get a little more complex.

But not irretrievably. You just need to pay a little more attention.

When you’re developing an app or configuring a network, there is the design, showing what is to be done, the code comments describing what was done, and the finished product for use by the enterprise. You have accumulated knowledge, which is good for you and the organization, but you also did some other things that normally fall through the cracks. That tool you cobbled together to check the validity of file formats, or the browser plug-in that helped you resolve network issues, or the DNS tool you downloaded that helped you get redirection correct… These things are important. Just as important as the tool I discovered to make the mud up the side of that vehicle. More important, because in a hobby I have time to mess around and reinvent the wheel if I must. in the enterprise, I’ve never met the IT staffer that went “you know, I did this seven months ago, I think I’ll just go figure out how to do it all over again, I’ve got the free time”. Never.

So what you need to do is keep track of these things. Put them in version control, store them on a special share for just such tools under a heading/directory that associates the tool with the project it helped with. Even silly little things. And put them in a word document if they’re things like links to a web page. Sure the page may be gone when next the word doc is opened, but that’s true of bookmarks in your browser too, and your word doc is likely to have greater longevity. This is for you – because in many orgs if you created it, it’s your problem for eternity – but it is also for the organization, because eventually it will not be your problem, and it will save the next poor person from figuring out how to do the same things. I’m not talking about tools like lint, if you don’t have a corporate standard to use that type of thing though, you could include it. I’m talking about that library you found that does what you wanted, but was a nightmare to configure. So document it. While you’re celebrating that you got it going. Save someone else the headache. Or yourself, should something horrendous happen and you have to configure it from scratch again.

Devops has helped in this regard with networking, by stressing repeatable processes, but developers are asked to do something different almost every app. Patterns are great, but it’s rarely patterns that trip us up, it’s some weird exception case that only occurs in this language/environment/requirements document. Much more difficult to turn into repeatable, when if it was simply repeatable you’d have found source or used a library to achieve it quickly.

What we do is more science than art. We need to treat our projects more like research projects, and keep a “notebook”. somewhere. Those tools, random observations, difficult to discern but very profound solutions… All of that could be part of the intellectual property of the app/tool/network in question, making everyone more productive. But document it in English (or the tongue spoken by the bulk of your coworkers, for my international friends), not in your “from here I understand a ton, I’ll write about the bit I just learned”.

Sometime soon – hopefully next week – I will be writing up my solution (and recommended more generic solution) to the several issues found in Android SSL. By writing about it out here, I am documenting what I went through, and have to write about it in plain English. You need to do the same (but normally internally only, so you don’t have to explain the entire environment/problem-set), so that five years from now, the local Intern can figure out how to work on your app/network. Or you can remember what the heck you did to make it work. ;-)

You’ll thank yourself. Most good developers I know have forgotten more coding projects than they remember, and this might provide the clues to get back up to speed when it circles around and you have to work on the solution again. I assume network admins have the same problem. Your employer will thank you, because you (and potentially anyone else asked to work on it) will be more productive, just like using that jig over again is more productive. It’s not necessarily part of the solution, but it makes building the solution far easier.

Meanwhile, keep building the next generation of apps and networks, we’re expecting lots, and even though complaints are louder than compliments, no one can argue that developers and network admins as a whole haven’t responded in astounding ways over the last 30 years. Unless you prefer disconnected mainframes I suppose...

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is founder of Ingrained Technology, A technical advocacy and software development consultancy. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing,DevOps, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.