Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sticking with the design...

A software project is like a giant recipe where the slightest modification can alter then end user experience.  Seriously, I'm not joking, it's a big deal.

Any software development will require thousands and thousands of line of codes to create a tool that will automate some kind of process.  It can be as simple as keeping your notes into a database, to implementing a full accounting solution.  There is no easy way out on this, like it or not.

In a team, everybody has to comply by the design put in place by the software engineer.  It's not about a power trip or some kind of magic dream.  A good software design is the foundation of any software solution.  

Some of you may have had the experience of having to comply with proper naming of variables and functions.  A design is more than using the same coding style.  It's a philosophy that all team members need to understand and praise.  This design will ensure many thing when properly defined:

- diminishing the risk of creating bugs by mistake
- ensuring the clarity of the API so that any developper can easily use the framework 
- establishing the limitations of what can be done without having to tweak the code
- avoiding to duplicate code and routines throughout the solution
- making sure that there is only one way to do a process
- keeping the exceptions to a minimum level to ensure homogeneous coding 

I could go on and on with the reasons a design is a good thing.  There are many ways to implement a routine such as saving some data into a database.  Some are better than others but in the end, the best way is the one that all team members are using without exception.

What is a good design?  It's the one that makes coding easier by removing the hassle of figuring out what to do.  There is nothing worse than confusion in a team.  

As Othello said: A bad design is the worst poison...  No?  I you having doubts about your design?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Apple is moving to Open Source!

I just watched the WWDC 2015 from Apple and as usual there was a lot of great stuff and less great stuff.

Everywhere, everyone is talking about the new music service, the multitask feature with apps side by side or the performances improvement that Apple made in in OS X and iOS.

But something major happened today. Something bold and surprising.

Apple is open sourcing its new development language Swift. This is big news, bigger than Microsoft this time. I was surprised when Microsoft released Visual Studio for Macs and Linux a few weeks ago. I wondered if this was the day that "Hell is freezing over".

As soon as saw that Swift was moving into the Open Source World, I understood Microsoft's move. Love it or hate it, when Apple is tackling a new market, they usually get it right and build a strong community.

Is Apple just releasing the specs or will it commit and contribute to the open source community? It's one thing releasing the source code but if Apple is dedicated to developers as they are to the music industry, great things could happen.

The future will tell us more...

Patrick Balleux

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

List Your Minecraft Server

In the last few weeks, I've worked on my latest project, The main goal is to learn about HTML5, CSS and JavaScript in the real world. I do enjoy coding but most of all, I enjoy finding new features to add on the website.

From the main site, another one was created specifically for Minecraft where videos related to our favourite game are shown:

I was looking to add new features and then it hit me: have a list of online Minecraft servers, submitted by the fans. The code was modified and updated to be able to add new functionalities and Servers was the main new feature added today.

Go check it out and submit your server, it's free!

Patrick Balleux