Diversity in Technology

Must watch video by Jez Humble – Continuous Delivery in Agile. The Last 20 minutes on Diversity are very impactful.

This was presented at Agile2017, and was primarily about Continuous Delivery. Jez does an excellent job explaining why this can be done anywhere, and debunks 4 common reasons given for not being able to do it ‘here’.

The last 20 minutes are very powerful. It needs to be it’s own talk on Diversity in technology as it is so compelling.

The talk was driven in response to James Damore’s letter to Google. Jez did a lot of research, and tears apart the letter, while providing his own explanations for why the lack of diversity exists.

The main determination is this. People believing that a skill is innate, and propagating that belief leads to alienation. Alienation drives people elsewhere.

This exposes itself as “This is too hard for you”. “You weren’t born with this ability” and similar thoughts.

He then shows a chart of female percentages in the Medical, legal, physical sciences and Computer Science fields. All 4 have been steadily increasing since the beginning of the chart. Then the 80’s arrive and it’s all down hill for CS. The others continue upwards and are close to 50%. Why? Please watch the video to see Jez’s explanation.

Everyone knows about the shortage of software developers. Here’s a large portion of the potential workforce, but they have no interest. This MUST change and it starts with each and everyone of us!

Use your commit history to tell a story

I always try and keep my commits focused on one thing. This was brought to my attention recently as I was doing a code review. A number of refactors mixed in with code changes.

Makes reviewing much harder to perform, and harder for both developer and reviewer to ensure things are correct.

Git has many features for helping with this. Find a refactor part way through a change, then pull out the refactor portion so it can go into its own commit, and continue with your code changes.

Doing a large refactor and want to make it smaller? Again, git supports that.

When coding, think about both your validation of the changes as well as a code reviewers view. As soon as there are more than 100 lines of code in a commit, and especially if there are a number of contexts, the review quality goes way down.

Why aren’t you contributing to Open Source?

An interesting take on why your employer should support you contributing to Open Source, and why contributing to Open Source doesn’t have to mean using personal time.

If you’re a programmer today, you’re almost certainly taking advantage of Open Source libraries. These libraries are saving you (and by extension, your employer/clients) much money, time and effort.

Therefore your employer/client should be ok with you contributing to the libraries during working hours. Obviously it will be easier if you focus on libraries that are in use for the project, and preferably addressing issues you’ve encountered, or adding features that are valuable to you.

The other benefit is exposure to other’s code, peer reviews, and all around improvement of your own design and coding abilities.

Something to think about, and talk with your employer/client’s about if they don’t currently allow it.

Why don’t you contribute to open source?

Groovy as your primary language

Groovy is fantastic. Remind we why I still program in Java?

I’ve been watching some Groovy videos from the recent SpringOne2GX conference. I’ve always really liked Groovy, and use it for all my personal projects. It’s so much more succinct, and the tools around it are very powerful.

After watching these videos, and seeing even more power available, as well as the fantastic enhancements around Type Checking and static compiling, I’m left asking myself why I code in Java at all.

Almost all valid Java code is valid Groovy code, so it’s easy to transition at your own pace. Groovy then allows you to remove so much ceremony, plus has so many powerful additions. AST transforms for creating an Immutable object. Defining a POJO while only having to define the properties. Powerful DSL’s that if written correctly, are Type checked at compile time, rather than at runtime.

Spock testing framework combines all the power of Junit, Mockito and JUnitParams in an even easier to read and use DSL for testing.

Even if you use Spring Boot, there is very good support for using Groovy everywhere. The main language, as the templating language (the new Groovy MarkupTemplate DSL is fantastic. Type checked at compile time rather than runtime, and optimizations performed by the compiler to improve performance at runtime).

Replacing Spring Data with GORM (from Grails). Spring Data allows for reflection based methods, BUT these aren’t checked until run time, and are limited in their functionality.

Using the latest GORM DSL, the queries are checked at compile time, and are much more flexible and readable. Instead of relying on a very long method name, a closure is used to define the request.

This will ensure the People object has a name property and an adult property at compile time.

DSL’s written correctly, are type checked at compile time, and your IDE can provide code assistance. Very powerful tool.

Watch the videos below and learn more about Groovy. I intend to incorporate it into my next project, and don’t want to code Java again.

Groovy after all these years at Mutual Life
Advanced Groovy Features
Modern approach to writing DSL

Site security: Use pass phrases and not complex passwords

An excellent article on how to enforce pass phrases and why they outperform traditional ‘secure’ passwords with complex rules.

It’s also much easier, and less frustrating for your users.

Why passphrases are more user friendly than passwords

I recently had to change my Atlassian password. The password input placeholder read ‘A few words you’ll find easy to remember’. Nice to see they’re following this advice.