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Showing posts from 2011

Planning, Estimating and Monitoring a Dev Project - Before Planning

Estimating and Planning and monitoring day to day development is a lot of what's involved in the job of a team leader. This is the approach I take to this, I don't claim to have created any of this, rather it's just the collection of agile methods and tools that I find useful. This is what I do for sprint planning every 2 to 3 weeks. When doing ball-park planning for a longer period I follow the same basic process but at a less granular level with corresponding drop in accuracy.

Before Planning There are a couple of questions that really need to be answered pre-planning. This is the side of planning that's often not visible to the juniors in the team. It's the bit that gets forgotten about and contributes to that wonderful "I don't know what my manager does, but when they're away it all goes bad" feeling in so many well run development teams.
The two questions you need to answer are How much time do you have?What are you trying to do? How Much Time D…

Automating WebApplication Screenshot Capture

I recently contributed some introduction to the Gerrit Project. This included some screenshots and understandably the project maintainers are concerned about the overhead of keeping these screenshots up to date. So just for my own interest I've started looking in to how to automate the generation of these screenshots. This is not a working solution yet, just a collection of the ideas I'm playing with.

This first thing I started looking at was how I could automatically create a screenshots of the browser. After a bit of googling these seem to be two broad techniques. There are a few tools that given a URL will generate an image. Khtml2png and webkit2png seem to be good examples of these tools. While these are fine tools I really want to be able to capture pictures of the application as I modify it, so they don't quite serve my purpose.

The second technique seems rather more promising, starting a headless X Server using xvfb, starting firefox in it and then creating an image…

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

What is the first thing you do at work once you log into your computer? No really think about it, is it the same thing you were doing a year ago. I can almost track my career by the changes in what I do first thing in the morning.

When I was a junior developer, bright eyed and bushy tailed I checked my email first thing. It was a bit of a novelty to receive professional email and it made me feel a bit like an adult. Email seemed like the corporate information channel, so I thought as a responsible professional I should clear my email first thing and check it regularly during the day. The thing is though I didn't really get that much email as a junior.

As I started to become more senior I started to get more email. I also started to get more interruptions during the day. The morning started to be that really nice period where nobody talked to me. So I started to code first thing. Email could wait till I was being interrupted anyway. So my morning routine became code until I was int…

What's wrong with Hg? A philosophical discourse.

I use Git everyday. I can't imagine using anything else. But I have a soft spot for Hg. For all the awesome power of Git it feels messy & complicated. Hg just feels like a cleaner model, a simpler transition, it's easier to explain and seems like it should just work. But for all that I find it gets in my way a lot more than Git. What's going on?

I initially started my dvcs journey using Hg. I was predisposed to Hg from reading Hg Init, which was the first time I really got dvcs. With Hg I found all the usual benefits of associated with a dcvs. The freedom of local commits, branching and local history. But for carious reasons I gave Git a try, once I got my head around the way the different commands worked I really enjoyed Git. These days find I hard to use anything else.

But I can't put my finger on what is wrong with Hg. Perhaps it's just like wishing for the simpler times that never really were. Hg's insistence on immutable commits feels a bit purist and …

Is Linux Ready for the Desktop?

I wanted to be a Linux user since I first heard about it, and over the years I've made several attempts failed attempts to switch with various distros, Redhat and Mandrake mainly. All of these started the same way, I'd create a dual boot, I'd set Linux as the default with all good intentions of only booting Windows when needed. But these attempts always ended with me rushing to select Windows on every boot, finding using Linux day to day just too hard.

I did finally make the switch and have been using Linux as my primary OS at work and home for several years now and can't imagine switching back. Thinking back there are a several things that changed from those early attempts, few of which are directly attributable to improvements in Linux. The trigger oddly was Vista, or more specifically Peter Gutmann's analysis of the cost of the Content Protection in Vista. This set me to worrying and raised questions about whether I wanted to support what I still consider to be …