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Code Camps this weekend!

April 11, 2008 1 comment

CodeCampLogo There are two code camps this weekend:

I will be speaking at the Pittsburgh Code Camp on Refactoring – a topic that is very dear to me.

Register now and come along to talk code.

 

We are hiring!  Do you want to write beautiful code in a Test Driven, Refactored, Agile .NET software company in the heart of Washington DC and work on cool products?  Take the code test and send your resume along with why you want to join Thycotic to tddjobs@thycotic.com.

Don't miss the Nova Code Camp South this weekend!

March 28, 2008 Leave a comment

The NoVa CodeCamp South v1 will be held on March 29th 2008 in Woodbridge VA.  The speaker schedule has been posted here.

 

I am presenting two sessions:

9:00-10:15:     Refactoring in C#

1:00-2:15:        Web Application Testing in Watin

Register now!

 

We are hiring!  Do you want to write beautiful code in a Test Driven, Refactored, Agile .NET software company in the heart of Washington DC and work on cool products
Take the code test and send your resume along with why you want to join Thycotic to
tddjobs@thycotic.com.

NoVa CodeCamp South v1 speaking schedule has been announced!

March 8, 2008 Leave a comment

novacodecampsouth The NoVa CodeCamp South v1 will be held on March 29th 2008 in Woodbridge VA.  The speaker schedule has been posted here.

I will be presenting on two topics:

  • Refactoring in C# – bad code to better code
  • Web Application Testing in Watin

There are lots of great sessions from WPF, TDD, SSIS, jQuery, SQL Server 2008 and more…

You can register now.

 

We are hiring!  Do you want to write beautiful code in a Test Driven, Refactored, Agile .NET software company in the heart of Washington DC and work on cool products
Take the code test and send your resume along with why you want to join Thycotic to
tddjobs@thycotic.com.

RockNUG tonight – Geoff Snowman showed off BizTalk Server

November 15, 2007 Leave a comment

RockNUG [Rockville .NET User Group]I attended my first event at the new Rockville .NET User Group (RockNUG) in Maryland tonight.  Geoff Snowman, our local Microsoft integration specialist showed off the latest BizTalk Server (BTS) technology and talked about the future of BTS and its related products.  As Geoff pointed out, BTS is a niche product that works well for large customers that have unique or complex integration requirements.  The power of BTS was clearly in its mapping/transformation abilities, flexibility in talking to various endpoints (on various platforms) and the scalability of dynamically handling large amounts of orchestrations.  My take was that it was especially well suited to integrate different applications especially when they are on different platforms and speak different languages (text vs XML vs EDI etc.).  If you are interested in BTS and more on integration, don’t miss Geoff’s MICSUG group which has upcoming presentations on WWF and ESB.

Don’t forget the NoVa Code Camp this Saturday in Reston, VA!

Also Thycotic is still hiring – so come take a look if you live for Test Driven Development, Pair Programming and C# in the Washington DC Metro Area.

Agile Estimating and Planning with TargetProcess – RCC4

October 8, 2007 25 comments

On Saturday, the Thycotic crew (well, only three of us this time) went down to Richmond to the forth Richmond Code Camp. It is a 2 hour drive but my new handy TomTom GPS did well – asides from one occasion where it decided to re-route us back through Washington DC when we were only 30 minutes from the event!

Kevin presented on “C# 3.0” and the audience seemed very pleased with the content. We had seen the presentation the day before at an internalThycotic meeting so we knew it would be interesting – there are lots of new interesting language constructs coming in 3.0. As many on our team pointed out, it seems that C# is starting to look a little more like Javascript and Perl these days.

I presented at the very end of the day on “Agile Estimating and Planning with TargetProcess”. This is a new presentation for me – we have been using TargetProcess for about 6 months now and I wanted to share our experiences with the community. Mike Cohn’s book was invaluable in my preparation for the topic – a definite must read.

TargetProcess has been used to manage the lasttwo releases of Secret Server. It has taken a little time to get accustomed to the user interface and the location of various features (there is a lot of functionality in the product!).

My favorite things so far:

  • The iteration planner – as product owner of Secret Server, this is the screen where I can prioritize and make tradeoffs so it is definitely my favorite.
  • Assigning tasks to a pair (we actually used TargetProcess back at version 0.9 – about 3 years ago but it didn’t support pair assignments which was a big deal for us)
  • The burn down chart – this let’s me easily see that we are on track to release Secret Servrer 3.2 on 22nd of October 2007.

ss32burndown

There are more things I like but those are the most obvious …

The presentation seemed to be received well (download presentation) and there were quite a few questions.

Here are some of those thatI can remember:

  • Q: How do you account for one developer being more productive than another when planning?
    A: Simply track velocity at the team level. Then it is all leveled out. If the team does 30 points per iteration then it does not matter if one individual contributesmore than another. By knowing the team’s velocity you can plan your release.
  • Q: How do you assign tasks to individuals and fit that within your plan?
    A: Agile teams should strive to be self organizing – this encourages team “buy in” to project goals and ultimately responsibility for the success of the project (the most important outcome, right?). A self organizing team can assign tasks through discussion. The collective decisions of those who know the software, tasks and skills available should be the best. Note that this may take some work, especially if they are accustomed to being told what to do … but the empowerment with a little coaching should be good for the team.
  • Q: How do you plan when an individual is only available to a project for a portion of their time?
    A: I recognize that this is a valid concern for many people in their environments. In our environment it is less of an issue. Why? Because we don’t specialize … anyone on the team can do more or less anything that needs doing. This makes it easier to assign resources completely to a project. Example: If I need two developers to finish a project … is it better to have 50% of four developers or 100% of two developers? Many choose the four since the available skill set is larger. The problem is that those four will have to context switch frequently between their various tasks. Obviously this idea will not work for everyone but in my experience agile teams tend to be less specialized in their individual tasks.

Richmond Code Camp 3 reviewed

This last Saturday morning, the Thycotic team headed to Richmond at a bright and early 6am. This alone wouldn’t have been too bad but some on the team had been busy until 2am on a client project! For the first Richmond Code Camp ever, it actually didn’t rain (it rained all day for the last two).

John started out withhis presentation on NHibernate which drew alarge audience. I watched Hal Hayes (of Acritech) present on XQuery which is an interesting session that I have somehow missed at the various local usergroups over the last year. Then I caught upwith Frank at hisTablet PC session – he confirmed my suspicions that the handwriting recognition has been greatly improved in Vista. He also pointed me towards these great tablet applicationswhich I just had to try –Ink Artallows you to paint in oil on your tablet! Frank was showing it on Vista but it doesn’t seem to be included in the Experience Pack for Vista … Frank?

I did find ArtRage2 in my quest which seems to do a similar job. There is something incredibly cool about painting on a tablet.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to attend any further sessions since I was presenting for the last two slots of the day. Which also meant that I missed John’s second session (Lucene.NET) and Kevin’s first presentation at a Code Camp where he covered Cryptography and Hashing which is something he knows a great deal about – Kevin did the second round of Cryptography work in our Secret Server product. I also heard wonderful stories about our other presenting team member, Bryce, whose laptop wouldn’t cooperate and he had to wing his entire session on Code Access Security with no code or slides (this was also only his second Code Camp presentation ever – nice job Bryce!).

My two sessions were Refactoring (a hands on session using Bob Martin’s Prime Generator example) and Unit Testing with RhinoMocks. Session slides should be posted on the Richmond Code Camp website soon. The Refactoring session worked out really well with the sizeOfArray and primeCandidates variables naturally emerging as the instance field candidates – the audience also got very involved and yelled out lots of ideas. Working with code line by line and generating discussion is always fascinating.

Thanks to the folks at the Richmond Code Camp for organizing another fine event.

Jonathan Cogley is the CEO and founder of Thycotic Software, a .NET consulting company and ISV in Washington DC. Our product, Secret Server is a enterprise password manager system for teams to secure their passwords. Where do you keep your passwords or do you still use the samepassword everywhere?

CMAP Code Camp Sessions are posted

April 12, 2007 24 comments

The CMAP Code Camp is being held on Saturday 4/21/2007 from 9AM to 7PM – you can register here.

The sessions for the day have been posted here. It looks like a great spread of SQL, Web, future stuff, alterative languages and some Agile.

Also don’t miss the NovaCodeCamp in Reston, Virginia this Saturday.

I think April is most definitely the Code Camp month. 🙂

Jonathan Cogley is the CEO and founder of Thycotic Software, a .NET consulting company and ISV in Washington DC. Our product, Secret Server is a enterprise password manager system for teams to secure their passwords. Where do you keep your passwords or do you still use the samepassword everywhere?