Literature and inspiration

I am currently in the process of putting together a draft literature review as part of my PhD research. Initially this is intended for my primary supervisor, as some indication of whether I am progressing in a reasonable direction, and at a reasonable pace. Once it has achieved acceptable quality and quantity, the next step …

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Searching Literature for Technical Key Texts

A literature review is a key part of postgraduate research. To start with I’m attempting a broad literature search to try and find anything I can which sheds light on my topic area. In particular I’m trying to locate some “key texts” which align fairly closely with my planned research area, and could help inform …

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Old stuff still has value

I was just surprised, and somewhat delighted, by a LinkedIn connection request. Not that receiving connection requests from LinkedIn is in itself an unusual thing – I get several a week from various sources. This one was unusual because the sender made reference to liking a Java Ranch forum post I made over sixteen years …

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Introduction to my PhD Research

It’s the nature of research, and particularly of doctoral research, that approaches change and details become clearer only over time. With that in mind this is an introduction to the topic area of my research as I see it now, right at the start of the process, borrowing heavily from the proposal document I submitted …

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Lecture Review: “The study of American literature” by Dr Owen Robinson

University of Suffolk holds an annual series of free evening lectures. The first since I started at the university was on the topic of American Literature – not at all germane to my particular research, but potentially interesting nonetheless. Much more appropriate, however, for Kat, who is aiming to take Creative Writing (which includes, of …

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Functional Testing, BDD and domain-specific languages

I love Test Driven Development (TDD). If you look back through the posts on this blog that soon becomes apparent. I’m pretty comfortable with using TDD techniques at all levels of a solution, from the tiniest code snippet to multiply-redundant collaborating systems. Of course, the difficulty of actually coding the tests in a test-driven design …

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This blog may be a bit quiet, I’m busy elsewhere

Sure, quiet is relative. Over the years I have gone through enthusiastic patches and months with nothing but the occasional scrap of a link. At the moment, though, the quietness here has a reason: I’m too busy having fun messing with software and hardware on my Raspberry Pi. If you don’t know already, Raspberry Pi …

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Charles Moore on Portability

Portability Don’t try for platform portability. Most platform differences concern hardware interfaces. These are intrinsically different. Any attempt to make them appear the same achieves the lowest common denominator. That is, ignores the features that made the hardware attractive in the first place. Achieve portability by factoring out code that is identical. Accept that different …

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Tracking configuration changes in Jenkins

Continuous Integration is a pretty common concept these days. The idea of a “robot buddy” which builds and runs a bunch of tests across a whole codebase every time a change is checked in to the source code repository seems a generally good idea. There are a range of possibilities how to achieve this, and …

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Kent Beck on incremental degradation (“defactoring”) as a design tool

Thanks to @AdamWhittingham for pointing out a great post from Kent Beck in which he suggests an “if you can’t make it better, make it worse” approach to incremental development. This is a habit that has been a part of my development process for a long while, and I have needed to explain it to …

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Baruco 2012: Micro-Service Architecture, by Fred George

A fascinating presentation from Barcelona Ruby Conference. Fred George talks through the history and examples of his thinking about system architectures composed of micro services. I found this particularly interesting as it has so many resonances with systems I have designed and worked on, even addressing some of the tricky temporal issues which Fred has …

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Assembla on Premature Integration or: How we learned to stop worrying and ship software every day

An excellent article from Michael Chletsos and Titas Norkunas at Assembla, which reminded me how important it is to keep anything which might fail or need rework off the master branch. It’s a truism about software development that you never know where the bugs will be until you find them. This can be a real …

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Do You Really Want to be Doing this When You’re 50?

I just read an article (Do You Really Want to be Doing this When Youre 50?) from James Hague, who describes himself as a “Recovering Programmer“. I understand his experience, and his reasons for deciding that it’s not the job for him. I even like that he has blogged about it. What I really don’t …

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Experimenting with VMware CloudFoundry

Yesterday evening I went along to the Ipswich Ruby User Group, where Dan Higham gave an enthusiastic presentation about VMware CloudFoundry. The product looked interesting enough (and appropriate enough to my current project) that I decided to spend a few hours evaluating it. On the whole I’m impressed. After poking around the web site a …

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The 2012 JavaZone video is out and it’s absolutely brilliant

The JavaZone conference has a reputation for the quality and cleverness of its promotional videos, but this year’s takes it to a whole new level. Don’t watch this if you are offended by some (OK, quite a lot of) swearing. It may be coarse, but it’s very much in keeping with the style they have …

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