What is a Design Pattern? (Answered.)

I recently answered that question: The entire concept of Design Patterns for software was popularized and maybe invented by the Gang of Four. This is the book. It's an amazing artifact, organized differently from any other book I've seen. It's worth checking it out from a library and reading at least the introduction and a … Continue reading What is a Design Pattern? (Answered.)

Setting up a Docker dev environment for Elixir+Phoenix

Benefits One-line setup and bootup: docker-compose up. It creates the database, does the Dialyzer pre-work (if the project has Dialyxer installed), etc. A true development-oriented config: Source code is mounted so that changes in the container appear on the host, and vice-versa. Fast re-builds because the DOCKERFILE is written to help Docker cache the images. Syncing with the … Continue reading Setting up a Docker dev environment for Elixir+Phoenix

What my top students had in common: they asked questions.

First in a series about successfully learning to program. When I say, “they ask questions”, I mean literally, truly, a string of words followed by a question mark. Not implied questions like, “I don’t know what to do here!” I realized this after mentoring dozens of students, online and in person, at many code schools … Continue reading What my top students had in common: they asked questions.

The Economics of Programming: Externalized vs. Internalized Costs

Many days I feel like my work as an agile consultant is simply internalizing (externalized) costs. First example that comes to mind: software development done too quickly which creates technical debt as it goes. In the short term, a project like that can seem very successful, exceeding expectations for delivery time and customer satisfaction. And then … Continue reading The Economics of Programming: Externalized vs. Internalized Costs

Python vs. Haskell round 2: Making Me a Better Programmer

Another point for Haskell In Round 1 I described the task: find the number of "Titles" in an HTML file. I started with the Python implementation, and wrote this test: Very simple: I had already downloaded the  web page  and so this function had to do just two things: (1) read in the file, and then (2) parse … Continue reading Python vs. Haskell round 2: Making Me a Better Programmer

Python vs. Haskell round 1: Test Output

The point goes to Haskell On the surface, it may sound silly to compare these two languages because they're about opposite as you could get: Python is interpreted, dynamically typed, and slightly weakly typed as well. Haskell on the other hand, is compiled, statically and strongly typed. But they're both open source, and they both … Continue reading Python vs. Haskell round 1: Test Output

Engineering with Empathy: how do we decide when to fix?

It's a sappy title, but bear with me. I'm wondering if the best lessons of diversity and inclusion can be applied to software development? For example, if something is offensive to others, then it's worth looking for an alternative — even if I'm not personally offended. I witnessed an interesting disagreement on a software project: … Continue reading Engineering with Empathy: how do we decide when to fix?