Category: Current Events

In a Fog – #NCDevCon Day 2 Live Blog 1

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NCDevCon North Carolina’s Premier Web & Mobile Conference

Day 2 of the the awesome tech conference #NCDevcon is well underway.  Participants were treated to a beautiful if not eerie fog which had settled over the area this morning.  Quite a few participants seemed to be in a fog too including yours truly.  Thinks are so much quieter this morning. After receiving all that amazing information yesterday it seems many are still processing. But who has time for that?!?  Still another day’s worth of learning ahead!

I kicked off my day with Building APIs in LoopBack by Raymond Camden.  Again, I am learning Node.js and have a few personal projects I want to build as APIs, so this was a natural.  It was a two session period with the first being discussion about LoopBack api framework and the second being a hands on session build an API.  To be able to do the handson stuff I needed to get my laptop set up with Node, LoopBack, and MongoDB.  I spent a good chunk of the first half trying to pay attention to the cool information and whip this old laptop in shape. The laptop refused to cooperate in the end…so I went “hands off” and bailed at the halfway point. Sorry @RaymondCamden!  Was looking forward to the hand on stuff. I am sure it was a blast!

So I hopped over to Git Source Control: for the Rest of Us by Nolan Erck (@southofshasta).  It was a great talk on using graphical tools like SourceTree to work with source control (Git in this case). I knew most of it of course, but still nice to see how other people set up their source control.  Big crowd. Lot’s of questions.  Good session!

Planning to wrap up the day with You Don’t Know Node.js by Azat Mardan (@azat_co).  I have some personal business to handle this afternoon so sadly I will be missing  the cool stuff planned for the afternoon.  I’ll split right after I grab lunch. So grab me there (and early into it) if you want to chat me up.  Otherwise, enjoy the rest of the day!  It has been a pleasure hanging out and meeting all of you.

 

ORM / CSS – #NCDevCon Live Blog #3

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NCDevCon North Carolina’s Premier Web & Mobile Conference

Apparently my afternoon sessions were all about three letter abbreviations.  Kicked it off with the ORM talk by Masha Edeler.  I’ve played with ORM, thought I knew ORM, but learned things I didn’t know! I especially learned about creating properties which were subsets of  a table and other properties that can be defined by a simple SQL statement, I also learned more about HQL I didn’t know. Nice job. Check it out online when available.

Wrapped up the learning day with  Thinking Outside the Box With CSS  by Brandon Kennedy. CSS is definitely cool!  But some of this stuff can make my head hurt!  Brandon demoed a ton of cool animations and showed how simple they can be!  I did feel better about myself when he talked about using and studying the Animate.css library.  I discuss my experiment with it in Episode 1: The Wind Up and the Pitch! Playing with HTML 5 Animation of my podcast.  HINT HINT!  Check it out!

Hey!  It’s After Party time!  Find me! I need people to help me record the new podcast intro!  Look for the dork in the red Mickey shirt!  Be nice to him!  I’m sensitive!

Live(ish) Blogging – #NCDEVCON – Report 1

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NCDevCon North Carolina’s Premier Web & Mobile Conference

Ok. So it’s not exactly LIVE blogging (as I am sitting here after an AMAZING BBQ meal)  stealing power and getting ready for the next session. But already, #NCDEVCON has proved to be a great conference!

I have always loved the clear as a bell tape lines helping streamline the checkin process (you guys should patent it).  Then things kicked off with a session on API’s by Elisha Dvorak from Adobe. Elisha talked about the future trends of apis and microservices and how ColdFusion is positioning itself to make those easier to handle.  It was 50,000 ft look at apis for sure but I left knowing more about an area I do find engaging.

Session breakouts after that. I can, of course, only cover those I actually attended.  For me, I kicked up Small Screens, Big Rewards! The Experience of Converting Desktop Websites to Mobile by Jessica Kennedy.  She was fun, informative and a great evangelist for mobile and CSS. I am one of those many developers that are driven mad by CSS…..hate it!  But Jessica really turned my thinking on it.  Looking how seamlessly and quickly it seemed she could make things rearrange, resize, and realign with a few simple code changes was awesome!  I left really jazzed about CSS!

My next session was one put on by Raymond Camden  called Everything They Didn’t Tell You About Hybrid Development.  Always informative and always entertaining, talks by Raymond are usually no-miss.  I learned a lot as he described some dos and don’t with regard to using Cordova to do mobile app development. He spent a great deal of time on the your persistance options (Indexed DB, WebSQL, SQLLite, etc,)  He also mentioned some great tools to use as well.  Kind of wished I had experienced using Cordova before attending but hey, I’ll keep the info tucked away until I need it.

And then lunch!  Did I mention the Carolina pulled pork BBQ and mouth-watering BBQ sauce?  And the baked beans?  Take it from a guy who thinks baked beans is the only side a meal should ever have….they were killer!!!

Well, ready to get my Node on…..Build Your Backend in Node.js  by Matthew Eash. That is assuming I can get my backend up and moving after that lunch!

#NCDevCon – What I am going to see!

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NCDevCon North Carolina’s Premier Web & Mobile Conference

I’m getting ready to leave today for NCDevCon, the fun, cool, and informative development conference taking place in Raleigh, NC this weekend.  As of this writing they still have about a dozen tickets left. So if you are going to be in Raleigh, buy your tickets RIGHT NOW (go ahead, I’ll wait).

Did you get them? Awesome!  Now lets talk agenda. There are some great sessions going on. It was really hard to narrow down what I am going to. But here goes. By the way, just because I don’t mention or did not select a particular session doesn’t mean it’s bad…it just means either it’s not applicable to my current or future work or that, more than likely, there is just a more applicable topic competing head to head with it.  The truth is there are some awesome speakers and sessions I will be missing because they compete with something more applicable.  The good news is these are all video recorded and made available online afterward…so I won’t be missing them!

Speakers, feel free to lobby for your talks because I could be convinced.  And fellow attendees, if you are in any of those sessions, come say hi!  If you list nearly matches mine, definitely say hi because it’s always cool to have a group to travel around with between rooms.

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Sat. 9am –  This is the opening presentation by Adobe Systems. A good chance to hear future updates and also see who else is at the conference!

Sat. 10am – UNDECIDED! HELP! – Torn between Small Screens, Big Rewards! The Experience of Converting Desktop Websites to Mobile by Jessica Kennedy, because I work with a site that could use a mobile conversion,  and Writing Highly Organized CSS by Tyler Benton because my CSS can be a mess!  Thoughts?

Sat. 11am – UNDECIDED! HELP! – Ok, this one I had nailed down a topic for weeks ago. But the schedule was changed and now I am unsure.  Probably end up at Everything They Didn’t Tell You About Hybrid Development with Ray Camden because….well…its Ray Camden

Sat. 1:30pm – Build Your Backend in Node.js with Matthew Eash. After picking on Node.js developers the last few years, I dove in and really like Node so far. So it’s a “node-brainer” that I would choose this.  Yes, my puns really are that bad.

Sat 2:30pmBuilding APIs – StrongLoop Session – Looks like another general session

Sat. 3:40pm – Why Your Next App Should Be Serverless by Todd Wacker.  Serverless….sounds intriguing.

Sat. 4:40pm – Thinking Outside the Box With CSS with Brandon Kennedy. I’m more of a backend guy, but keeping abreast with the frontend is not a bad idea.

Sun. 9:00 am – Building APIs in LoopBack with Ray Camden – I generally skip multi-period sessions, but it’s Node and Ray Camden. Hello!

Sun. 11am – You Don’t Know Node.js – Azat Mardan. Node…what more can I say.

I have some personal business to attend to while in Raleigh so I need to miss the afternoon sessions. But I would have gone to see Delivering the Dude: Continuous X – Brent Pabst because I really need to learn and embrace the CI concept.  Oh well, add that to my video sessions.

So that is my list.  See you there!

 

 

Different Strokes for Different Folks

In my search for new opportunities I have had a couple of interviews so far. The interesting thing has been the varying philosophies I have encountered with regard to development.  Things one firm swears by the other despises.  It has been an interesting exercise in trying to determine what these are and how to navigate the minefield without abandoning your own preferences. Here are just some of the differences I have encountered.

Source Control

First off, believe it or not, there are still quite a few shops that don’t use it.  Over 50% of companies I have talked with so far don’t use it!  To be fair, when I started my current position back in 2012, I had not used source control either.  So I had to quickly learn how to use Subversion (SVN).  Much to my boss’s chagrin, that learning curve was steep and deeply conflicted! But with time and discoveries like “bunny hopping” (for example merging Staging branch into your project branch first, then merging project branch into Staging) things got better.  Then when we decided to finally “Git” with the program things have really hummed along nicely.  I swear by Git for all my home projects. I have even tried to use Git to version my music compositions.

At least in most cases these businesses are saying they plan to move to source control soon.  But which one? Git or Subversion?  In my observation there is a feeling that Subversion is more in align with “corporate” and Git more in line with “startups”. I definitely don’t agree!  But again I am partial to Git so I may be biased.

Object Relational Mapping (ORM)

Watch where you step on this one!  Wow!  I have played with ORM and like it, but also recognize that it is not always appropriate, especially if your business model involves complicated queries.  Yet I assumed going in that you would not be considered a “modern” developer if you weren’t using it. In fact, many job postings include phrases like “MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH OBJECT RELATIONAL MAPPING”.

So imagine my surprise when in one interview I was asked “What experience have you had with ORM and are you comfortable with it?”  and when I finished explaining that I had played around with it and found it to be easy and useful, the interviewer snapped passionately about how much they HATE it. Lesson learned. Need to feel out my audience on this one.

Those opposed to ORM I have generally found to be people who love SQL. I know that when you are sitting elbow deep in a query with 70 joins on 50 different tables it is hard to believe there are people who love it, but trust me there are!  I can see why  people who eat stored procedures for breakfast would hate to use ORM.  It would be like telling classic car nuts who love to cruise around, that they can only legally use Google self-driving cars from now on.

Stored Procedures and Inline SQL

One of my personal pet peeves is seeing a SQL statement written right into a ColdFusion page.  Call me crazy, but I think SQL belongs on the SQL server.  So I do my best to move all inline SQL I find into a stored procedure on the SQL box and just call the stored procedure from CF.  Some places I have met with say “Right Answer!” when I lay that out. Yet others have suggested that they don’t like stored procedures at all and only use them when a query is extremely complicated.  Many said they prefer to put their SQL directly into a  DAO (data access object).  I guess at least this puts it outside of a CFM page and into a CFC.  That is more tolerable to me, but still not my preferred way of working.  But at least on this topic there does not seem to be as much passion.

Frameworks

The biggest differences here are not what you would expect.  I haven’t encountered any heated battles over ColdBox vs. FW/1 vs. Mach II.  The opinions are over whether or not a framework is needed.   To me, if you are doing anything remotely complicated that answer is yes.  But to a certain extent I can see the other side of the argument.  In most cases, those companies I have talked to who don’t use frameworks, admit that they have kind of put one together on their own.  I suspect that is usually the case in instances where no formal one is used as it is just a natural extension of good programming.

Languages 

Since I am a ColdFusion developer most of the opportunities I have explored have been in that realm.  But even in those cases, some companies are looking to migrate away from it.  Here there is a definite split!  Some are leaning toward the wonderful world of PHP. Makes sense. It’s open source, borderline free depending on what you are using it for, and has good solid applications like Magento.

Other companies are leaning toward .Net and C#.  I imagine a lot of it comes down to the same argument had about source control.  .Net for “corporate” feel and PHP for “startups”.  Time will tell I guess.  But I also see me needing to learn both in the near future!

What else?

So what other arguments have you encountered out there in the wild?  What are your thoughts on each of these above.  Leave your comments below and let’s get the discussion rolling!

 

 

WAKE UP SCRIPT VAN WINKLE!!!

An alarm clockIt seems I fell asleep again!  Well, not so much in my professional life….just with this blog.  Look at the previous post. It was on January 14, 2014!

Why did I dust off the old blog?  Well, because I just might be looking for “new opportunities”. Seriously, this talented (well, experienced anyway) programming dude is looking to charge ahead.

What does that mean for you?  Well, if you are looking for a new teammate…it could mean a ton!  Just let me know (see  About Script Van Winkle for contact info). But if not, it means you will be at the very least seeing more (and current) blog posts from me. I am learning a great many things…all at once. And I will be detailing them in the coming weeks.

And there just might…MIGHT…be a new podcast in the offing.  Short, informative, and hopefully quite entertaining episodes are rolling around this creative mind of mine. I might just need to dust off the old microphone. Stay tuned for that one!

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