Showing posts from 2018

Review - TFS/VSTS - Great Product, Ideal for Small Development Shops

This is a report a short review I provided for G2 regarding TFS:

What do you like best?

If you use Visual Studio for development, TFS, or its online equivalent VSTS, you can have a fairly seamless end-to-end integration. Out of the box, it provides code management, testing, work hierarchy in agile formats, automated build, and deployment.

What do you dislike?

Branching and merging can be a bit painful, in that it needs to be planned, and is not natively part of the process. Code review also needs to be planned and only recently has it become part of the process.

Recommendations to others considering the product

My only concern regarding TFS and VSTS is that Microsoft itself recommends using Git.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

In my current role, I've joined a shop that has application development as secondary to their role of desktop OS and app deployment/maintenance, so their code management practices are minimal.…

Complexity: A Guided Tour

Complexity: A Guided Tour by Melanie Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy reading in systems and complexity, and this was a nice addition to my shelf, with a slightly different take than other books. I found a few areas in the first half a bit tedious, overly long, repetitive, and not illuminating, but generally, it's a great overview of seminal work and very thought-provoking. The first half overlaps but nicely differs from other books I've read, covering things like chaos and information processing, and the latter half of the book I found more engaging, focused on models, computation, network science, and scaling. As mentioned, although I found the first half a bit of a slog at times, the second half was very engaging.

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Do Algorithms Make You a Better Developer?

Responding to a question on HashNode, Developers who practise algorithms are better at software development than people who just do development. Is it true?, I wrote the following:
My feeling is that algorithms help make one a better programmer, but that is likely true of many coding concepts. I did not have algorithms as an undergraduate, so my knowledge is acquired through reading and practice, but after reading and applying Algorithm's in a Nutshell, I felt the quality of my work improved. That said, my development work increased more after understanding Design Patterns, or after consuming books on database design.  Since many types of knowledge improve developing and architecting abilities, one has to consider how it helps and to what degree. Algorithms are coding-in-the-small, often narrowly focused solutions, but which can have a great impact at scale. For many applications, a focus on algorithms would be overkill as data sets and requirements do not require it. In this con…