Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Austin Java User's Group March 29th, Android and OSGi

We had a great meeting - it never hurts to start with free pizza.
Only five of the fifty two people attending were looking for jobs, and lots of jobs were being offered. Charles Schwab had a few dozen jobs available; HP and NetSpend also had positions to fill. Jeff Hennigan from KForce was also present - it's always a good sign to have recruiters come to the JUG.
Sam Griffin gave an excellent introduction to Android programming. He gave a demo on how to create and publish an app to a phone. Sam said it was very easy to access features like GPS, Speech Recognition, TextToSpeech, OpenGL for 2 and 3d graphics. Android also has SqlLite builtin.

Simon Chen talked about the basics of OSGi - which is a good thing since before the meeting I couldn't even spell OSGi. Simon described OSGi as a fancy classloader that manages components of a java application. It's like Service Oriented Architecture within an application; you call components embedded in bundles and you only have to load them once.

Thanks to Georgina Chen for the pictures.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to prevent NUnit from running some tests on the build server

Certain NUnit tests you only want to run on your local machine and some you only want to run on the build server. To make this easy NUnit offers the "Category" attribute.
public void ReadFromLocalWebServiceTest()
    var qdbBrandHttpReader = new QdbBrandHttpReader();
    string xml = qdbBrandHttpReader.ReadFromLocalWebService();
On your build server, when you invoke NUnit console add the option "/exclude:DoNotRunOnBuildServer", then it will not even try to run these tests.
Typically this is used with a category like "LongRunningTests" to prevent tests from running on your local box.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Where do good ideas come from?

Good RSA video. Reminds me that our tech culture needs more "coffee house" type meeting spaces.

Also see the TED Talk.

AutoMapper for C#

I finally got around to using AutoMapper from fellow Austinite Jimmy Bogard. I watched Jimmy's helpful video and the rest was easy.
AutoMapper is a Data Transfer Object (DTO) helper framework that can map your domain objects to view objects.
In my case I wanted to add extra formatting to render my domain objects as HTML, but realized a "ToHtml()" method on the domain object doesn't smell so good. I created a View Model directly from the domain model via Automapper (with only the attributes I needed to display) and added the HTML rendering code there.
Is that the smell of a pine forest after a Spring rain?

Pine Forest by ®DS
Pine Forest a photo by ®DS on Flickr.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

David Anderson in Austin - "Driving a Kaizen Culture Using Regular Operations Reviews"

David Anderson on March 17, 2011 spoke to a joint meeting of Austin SPIN, Lean Software Austin, IEEE CS Austin, and Agile Austin about a missing component of Kaizen culture, the Operations Review - what can your department do, how much of it did you do, and are you any good at it.
(I thought it appropriate since he espouses lean methodologies that he was wearing skinny jeans.)

Now this picture is not creepy because the girl in the cartoon is hugging David.

The Agile-Lean-CS-Spinners:

The main benefit of the standup meetings at a job was the after-meetings that allowed small teams of people, instant quality circles, to discuss and solve problems. This also struck me as a real benefit of this meeting - a chance to catch up with long-lost tech friends in the Austin community.

My random jottings:
Since academic software is seasonal, they share "Classes of Service" with car racing.
At the StandUp meeting only manage exceptions.
Many organizations only have a shallow implementation of Lean.
Real Kaizen is people just doing their jobs.

The meeting was a success - thanks to John Heintz for buying meals for everyone.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Good Idea From Outgoing Chairman of the FDIC

In a recent speech outgoing FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair says,
"I would like to propose to you a radical-sounding notion. And it is that increasing the size and profitability of the financial services industry is not - and should not be - the main goal of our national economic policy."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pragmatic Programmers' Magazine

magazine cover
If you haven't been over to see the Pragmatic Programmers' magazines lately, I'd highly recommend them. The concepts are usually applicable to many languages and development environments. The tone is upbeat and the articles are easily read in a sitting.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Austin's Microsoft WebMatrix to ASP.NET MVC Web Camp

Last Monday Scott Hanselmann and Jonathan Carter presented a seminar some new Microsoft technologies to a packed, standing-room-only crowd.crowd
I love Scott's podcasting so I was eager to hear him in person and I was not disappointed. Although the technical details were sometimes dry, Scott's personality and the banter with Jonathan were fun. Scott has the rare ability to be very technical and yet sociable.
Especially humorous were the Windows7 popups declaring, "You may be a victim of software counterfeiting."
My jumbled notes:
  1. The emerging standard with jQuery is to present metadata about an xml element as attributes prepending "data-" so jQuery can easily pluck it off the element with the "data" function.
    ... data-xvalue="30.0" ... $('xvalue')
  2. Modernizr is a package to help simplify writing javascript for older browsers.
  3. preface fiddler's url with "ipv4.fiddler" to use in a browser.
  4. elmah is a usefullogging framework supported by nuget. See
  5. VS2010 now has a Package Manager
  6. PM>Install-Package AddMVC3ToWebForms
  7. WebActivator
  8. PackageMangerConsole has MVC Scaffolding
  9. PM>Scaffold Controller Post
  10. Linq to SQL is now complete. No new features planned. The future is Entity Framework.
  11. Web Platform INstaller
  12. Razor is a minimalist templating framework. Viewbag is dynamic.

Scott and Jonathon made the day fun, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking, "with all this new technology the .Net community is now only five years behind those cool Ruby-on-Rails kids."

Book Review: "The Big Short" by Michael Lewis

This is a great story about the collapse of the sub-prime housing market and how clueless the Wall Street mavens were. Michael Lewis, author of The Blind Side, makes the story eerily compelling. Three items stood out to me:
1. How the fund managers were paid well to be ignorant of the true details; they were making lots of money with no thought to the future ramifications of their actions other than their annual bonus.
2. Almost all the people responsible for this terrible catastrophe actually came through the debacle making tons of money, which, for the most part, the taxpayers ended up paying.
3. The problem really was OPM - Other People's Money. Once the brokerage firms went from partnerships to publicly owned companies, the risks they were taking were not with their own money, but the stockholders money. Hence the temptation to gamble with Other People's Money in a way they would not have done with their own. If they bet right, they'd make a ton of money, if they bet wrong, well, they will lose their bonus and the stockholders will lose money.