FireBootCamp Retrospective

I have just completed 9 weeks of Firebootcamp, the code camp from hell which makes the SAS selection course appear like a ride on a Vespa with a decafe soya  late on the handle bars!
Despite this self inflicted torture, I have come to realise that no process, not even Agile is as effective as the synergies found in a well functioning team. I am reminded of the words of an old boss, the former CTO of Telstra Bigpond who told me “if you get the people stuff right, the technology will take care of itself”.

My team mates, Ludvik, Andrew and Michael all collaborated and shared. When one was down the others pulled him up, we shared each others pain and triumph.

Agile,Waterfall,whatever… , what is really important is working as a team for in working as a team the true nature of humanity is amplified.

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Is your website healthy?

You all know the feeling, you are stirred from sleep by the support phone. Arrrgggghhhhhh says the Director! The website is not working fix it.

Enterprise websites are living things that exist in harmony with external entities such as databases, pricing feeds and identity services and like a person often the problems are external rather than internal,

HealthCheck is a package released by SSW, to provide a framework to list all checks needed to determine the health of websites components. It uses SignalR which extends multicast functionality into the web space and handles the degradation from Web Sockets for earlier browsers using IP keep alive packets.

In a sense it extends the concept of unit tests to interfaces and provides a web interface for such tests.

Examples of Healthcheck pages  below:

staging database check

local test

What Web Programming students can learn from Air France 447

Air France flight 447 was lost over the Atlantic Ocean on 1st June 2009. The autopilot disengaged from the flight management system due to icing of the Pitot tubes, these tubes measure airspeed using pressure differentials.. Without this measurement the autopilot was not able to correctly control the aircraft and defaulted back to manual control. The plane later crashed in part due to the aircrew lacking experience in flying without an autopilot. In fact if the pilots just left the controls alone the aircraft computer would have come back online in a few minutes once the pitot tubes cleared, however many hours of only flying an aircraft on autopilot caused the pilots to react incorrectly to a simple problem

As a Web Developer I have logged most of my recent programming hours using Visual Studio with the MVC template. The rich Visual Studio environment automatically provides me with integrated Bootstrap, Jquery, and HTML view engine RAZOR. Like an autopilot on an Airbus Visual Studio provided me with a stable platform without needing to be aware of libraries and style concerns.  Like the Airbus pilots I was found lacking in solving simple problems with scripting and styling as I had relied entirely on the framework to manage my applications previously.

Airline pilots often will fly small Cessna class aircraft to maintain the basic skills of flying manually, without an autopilot and with an awareness of the environment around them.’

Similarly I have found as a Web Developer that using simple “Sandboxes” such as “Jsfiddle” provide a means to hone the fundamental skills of developing a web page.

jsfiddle

 

The Jsfiddle enviroment provides seperate panes to focus attention on HTML,CSS and scripting issues and provides an awareness of what libaries have been added on the left pane. Most importantly as a web based tool, many programmer communities such as “stack overflow” use Jsfiddle  examples to post example problems and solutions . An example of one of these  “fiddles” can be found on my jsfiddle account at http://jsfiddle.net/bigcraig/82Gg7/ . This is an example of using the built in “event styles” to provide interactive highlighting on Kendo grids, I recommend JsFiddle to anyone wishing to greatly accelerate their web development learning.