Welcome to Marcie Robillard (a.k.a. Datagrid Girl)

I've had the pleasure of getting to know Marcie over the past 53 days. It's great to be working with her and I look forward to winforms enlightenment :)



Arrived in San Diego @ TechEd

One Uneventful pair of connecting flights, a car rental pickup and a check in at the hotel. It's the calm before the storm....you know, the calm associated with hotel internet access actually working. You know it's a computer conference when you can see 5 wireless access points from various people's hotel rooms, and I'm on the corner of the hotel!

I kind of drove in the back way and haven't been near the convention centre yet to check out the buzz, but I will tomorrow. The MCT day starts at 7:30am at the Marriott next door. I better get to bed.

There is a bit of a buzz on email right now - stuff I'm not allowed to talk about until Monday - but it's one of my speculations. More about that on Monday. There will be a lot of announcements on Monday. Stay tuned.

When RFID goes bad.

You never know how your technology is going to be used.


VS Live Party

We threw a party on Thursday night after VS Live Toronto to help blow off some steam. VS Live in Toronto was a good time. A few people agree.

  • Jay Roxe was one of the speakers and joined us for a night on the town.
  • Datagrid Girl Marcie Robillard too. Turns out we share some PowerBuilder history from back at her days with Anderson Consulting. Marcie was also one of the speakers. I watched her presentation to see if I could pick up any public speaking tips, but I left learning some technical things. A) You can do a DataSet.ReadXml and pass it an url, not just a filename. B) The file/url you point it at can be any reasonably formed xml document - not just a previously saved dataset. She loaded the RSS feed from the Code Project. Cool. In practice, an untyped DS does lots of inferring which can be problematic so stay tuned for a fully fleshed out tip on doing some typed DS loading of XML docs.
  • Mike Flasko has posted some pictures from VS Live. Mike is on the Imagine Cup Canadian winning team. Be sure to check out the sub folder from our party. Elisa Johnson and Jason Kemp also from the team were there. A very nice group of people I was glad to meet.
  • Thanks to Billy Hollis, Keith Pleas, Paul Yucknovic??, Rob Windsor, David Totzke, Chris Kinsman and of course the rest of the ObjectSharp clan for coming out on the town.


Delegation through NUnit Testing and TodoFixtures

Usually I'm the guy who all the other developers are wiating on to create some reusable framework widget or other. I usually have 10, 000 things on my plate so when somebody asks me to do something or reports a bug with some of my code, I need to find a good way to delegate.

But if you are the subject matter expert (SME), it's tough to delegate the task of making the fix or adding the feature. If you flip that on it's head though, when you find yourself in this situation, by definition you are NOT the SME of the “feature request” or “bug“. Those are external to the actual implementation which is probably what you are really the SME for. The SME for the request or bug, is of course, the finder of the bug or the requestor of the feature. So in the spirit of getting the right person for the job (and delegating a bit at the same time), get the requestor to create the NUnit test that demonstrates the bug or explains (with code - better than english can ever hope to) the request or how the requestor expects the feature to be consumed.

Case in point:

Random Developer A: Barry, there is a bug in the foobar you created. Can you fix it? I know you are busy, want me to give it a go? Do you think it's something I could fix quickly?

Barry: That's a tricky bit but I think I know exactly what I need to do to fix it, it will take me 10 minutes - but I have 3 days of 10 minute items in front of you. Why don't you create an NUnit test for me that demonstrates the bug, and  I'll fix it. Then it will only take me 2 minutes.

I also find NUnit tests a great way for people to give me todo items.

Random Developer B: Hey, I need a method added to FoobarHelper that will turn an apple into an orange, unless you pass it a granny smith, in which case it should turn it into a pickle.

Barry: Sounds reasonable. I can do that - but just to make sure I got all of that spec correct, would you mind creating an NUnit test that demonstrates that functionality you require? Thanks.

I do have to admit though that this requires a certain amount of charisma. On more than one occassion this technique has been met with some friction and unusual and jestures and mumbling. :)

You know you're a geek when...

The other day while sitting on the couch eating some M&M's with my 5yr old daughter she asks me what “MGM” means....and starts to try to pronounce “megum“ - she hasn't quite got the idea of acronyms yet.

I explain how “&” means “And” and it's “M and M's”. Claire comes back at me with “well why didn't they just use plus (+)”. The next 10 minutes are me explaining concatenation to her and how it differs from addition. I'm pretty sure she's going to answer her kindergarten teacher's question of  “What is 4 AND 5” with “45” next week at school....”and that if you really were looking for 9 you should have asked properly 'what is 4 PLUS 5' not AND”. I can hardly wait for parent teacher interviews.

Hmmm, maybe I should teach her what “and” means in terms of boolean logic.

Design by Blog


I'd like to add to this new methodology...

  • "Programming by Googling" or "Progoogling"©

I also think that “Consensus Architecture“ can be automated on a world-wide basis by using the google api.

©Copyright Barry Gervin, 2004 - All rights reserved.