July 2003 - Posts
One of the things MS is returning to VB with the Whidbey release is Edit and Continue Debugging feature. I for one do not see why this is such a great thing, and I was a VB 3-6 programmer. I never used this feature, and don’t encourage its use. I talked to a couple developers last night about this, and they were all in favor of it. They were trying to say that it saves them time coding and debugging, but if it takes you that long to build and step thru code to get to the area of code you are trying to debug, maybe the problem is your architecture, not the debugging tools. I break my apps into logical and physical components, and create test harnesses for each component. This way I get true unit testing, and only have to concentrate on debugging one component at a time. Once I get the component working correctly, I rarely have to step thru it while debugging another component. It makes my life so much easier, and eliminates the crazy spaghetti code that can occur if you try to put everything in one project. If I have to go too deep into a component, I trying to see if I really need it all in one component. Sometimes I do, but more than likely, I didn’t, I was just lazy, and didn’t split it out. Without Edit and Continue, it forces me to evaluate if I really need that code in the same project. Just my opinion.
[Listening to: I Don't Care (So There) - The Donnas ]
I’d like to add to the group of blog entries on Women Speakers at tech conferences, and along with the others mentioned, I’d like to add Becky Dias to the list. She helped Chris Sells with the XMLDevCon, did some impromptu presentations, and participated in the speaker panel. I was really impressed, and during the conference I was thinking that I’d like for my two daughters to see Becky do a presentation or two. She would be a great role model for girls that are interested in IT.
[Listening to: Left Coast Envy - Starting Line ]
During drinks and hanging out with the other .Net bloggers in NYC, the strangest of topics came up, JCL. Anyone under 30 probably has no idea what JCL is/was (not my quote), but it stands for Job Control Language, and it is used on IBM Mainframes to control batch job processing. There were only two of us there that had any idea of what it was, the rest were baffled. JCL had to be one of the funkiest “languages” I’ve ever learned (and one of the first). Any language that uses reverse logic should buried and forgotten. JCL if statement equivalent has no associated else, and the statements within the if only run when test is NOT true. How wacked is that?
[Listening to: She Was Dead - Sr-71 ]
If you ever need to create a batch processing subsystem, I’d highly recommend checking out the Async Invocation App Block. If you are willing to adjust your architecture to match its design (requires SQL Server and adding a specific interface to your batch components) you can easily add it to your system. Otherwise, you can do as I did and modify it to meet your architecture. I had to remove the SQL Server sections, and replace it with business objects and an Oracle backend. My only compliant is the lack of a business layer. The data access layer us used directly by the thread processing, but considering all the other good things it is well worth using. It also makes us of the Exception Management Block.
Just a reminder, if you live in the NYC area, we are all getting together at the NYC.Net User Group Meeting @VSLive. Tim, Rob, Samer and I will all be there, and will be going out for dinner afterwards, and everyone is invited to hang out as long as you want.
Finally got some time to delve deeper into Rory’s web site, and came across this hysterical quote in the The Neopoleon Guide to XML For Non-Tech Types section. If you read all the way to the bottom (trust me it is worth it), he has the quote to end all quotes:
Most bald programmers aren't bald because of any biological reason: They're bald because they've been pulling their hair out for years over how to get to very different systems to communicate with each other. XML is the Rogaine of the developer world. It's what makes it relatively easy to get disparate systems to talk to each other. When this happens, programmers grow their hair back, and everyone is happy.
Is this why my hair has grown to shoulder length since I got the nickname DonXML back in 2000? If so, what happened to the hair of Doug Purdy and Don Box?
XMLDevCon was great, but one of the unexpected highlights of the conference was Rory Blyth’s blog entries, and his skewed perception of life. Rory has really out done himself with his latest idea, RSS for Charity. What it is? A very unique use for Amazon’s Web Service (presented at the XMLDevCon by Jeff Barr) that can generate some money for charity. You definitely got to stop by Rory’s site and check it out. Expect to see this button all over the web:
A great way to see into the inside of a company is to check out their public job postings. With all the rumored work being done on the Longhorn UI, I was surprised to see this posting on the MS job site. It is one hell of a job req, and this person will be critical in developing the future architecture of Graphics on the MS platforms. Here’s a section that would be of most interest to the general developer:
The Windows division is in the process of essentially replacing the Win32 API and the new graphics architecture is truly the “center” of this effort as it is the one area that it is changing the most dramatically when compared to other technologies within the company of indeed across the industry overall. The Graphics Architect will play a strong role in defining and architecting the vision for Windows Graphics.
All the info I’ve seen on this topic has been “leaked” reports. This is the first time that I’ve seen it out in public and on a MS website. That’s the problem with developing new technologies, is you want to get anyone from the outside you basically have to advertise your future goals in your job postings. You have to put stuff there that you wouldn’t even consider releasing to the media.
So if you want a glimpse into where a technology company is heading, check out their job postings site, you can get some really good inside info.
Brad Abrams put up a post a while back asking for feedback on the initial PDC Session list, and I added my comments, but never posted them here.
Must see list:
1) Graphics in Longhorn
2) Exploring What's New for Developers in "Yukon"
3) Visual C# "Whidbey": New Language Features
1) Exploiting "Longhorn" Features from within Your Existing Win32/MFC Application
2) Rights Management for Content and Media in "Longhorn"
3) Exploring Adhoc Collaboration in "Longhorn"
A session on the (formerly Whidbey only) VS.Net XML Tools. It went over so well at the XMLDevCon, this must be included at the PDC. And if you can get SVG support in the VS.Net XML Tools, even more of a reason to have a session at the PDC.
Joe Beda (a Longhorn Graphics API Dev Lead) mentioned that he will be at the PDC, and to look him up if you want to talk about the new Graphics APIs. Since the Graphics in Longhorn is the first in my must see list, you know I’ll be looking for him.
Here’s the last in my series of non-coding blogs. As someone who has done some hiring of programmers over the last couple months, I can say from experience that it is not just a case of too many programmers and not enough jobs, or outsourcing causing the problems in the current tech job market. It's a multilevel problem that starts with lots and lots of inexperienced programmers (who flocked to IT during the dot com boom) looking for jobs. These inexperienced programmers are flooding the market with resumes, just trying to make something stick. These resumes are making it impossible to try to find the good quality programmers' resumes. To make matters worse, you can't even go thru a recruiting agency or a consulting firm, because any recruiter that was worth anything got out of that field when the jobs got scarce. So the recruiters aren't doing their jobs and just push the bad resumes along.
I can't tell you how many bad resumes I got from recruiters, and it took a long time to find the diamonds in the rough. For 1 position I must have received about 100 resumes from recruiters (which were on the corporate “approved” list”, of which 10 were decent enough to warrant looking at. Out of the 10, I gave 5 phone tech interviews, brought 3 in to interview in person, and hired 1. Now, I've got very good relationship with some of the recruiting firms, so those guys did their best to only send qualified candidates, but the rest of the recuiters just were pushing paper. And I know from others that it is even worse trying to hire full time employees. HR thinks that because there are so many people looking for jobs they can skip the recruiter and save money, but all they get are lots and lots of resumes for candidates that are not anywhere nearly qualified.
So things just get worse, not better. In times like this it is not only what you know, but who you know. I tell all my friends, you should be networking with others in your industry at least 1 hour a week. Plus, there is usually finders fees, so you help a friend find a job, and get a little extra money, too. Don’t wait until it is too late, network now. Conferences are a great place to expand your network. So are User Groups. And so is blogging.
By the way, if anyone knows of a SQL Server Development DBA positions in the North Jersey area, let me know. My wife’s been out of work for a while, and is finally itching to get back to work. She’s not a support DBA. She does the stored proc/database design stuff, and also loves working with OLAP and SQLXML. Shoot me an email if you have any leads.
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