• Replacing my Strut with a Spring

    My transition from Struts to Spring MVC

    I came to Spider Strategies having only known Struts 1.2.x, and I was excited at the prospect of learning a new web framework, namely Spring MVC.

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  • Development Debt, Part 2

    On Friday I blogged about the disconnect between Theory and Reality in software development. This disconnect is a perfect example of development debt, a topic that Scott blogged about in January. As we continue building our software, we keep building up more and more development debt. Lately I've been wondering: when is it going to be time for us to start paying down our debt?

    The best thing I can think of is that t here are 2 cases where it's appropriate to start working on development debt: 1) When there aren't any urgent new feature requests or bug reports that need to be addressed 2) When a bit of development debt starts to rear its head and manifest itself as one or more bugs

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  • Theory vs Reality

    Today we ran across an interesting problem in our software. It turned out we had accidentally hard-coded a bit of text in English instead of properly setting it up to be displayed in any language (this is called internationalization in geek-speak).

    When we went in to fix this, we discovered the hard coding was done in our data access layer. According to theory, the data access layer has nothing do with internationalization, so we should move the internationalization logic to a different part of the application. In an attempt to conform to proper theory, it meant changing the code in our data access layer. This in turn required several changes to the service layer. The changes to the service layer in turn required even more changes to the user interface layer. As you can see, this disconnect between theory and reality quickly ballooned to the point where a very simple conceptual change would require many changes to the code.

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  • Spider documentation wiki?

    During lunch I ran across an interesting article from CNN Money about Wikipedia and Wikia (a for-profit offshoot).

    This got me thinking, could we harness the power of wikis to help us generate and improve documentation for our software? Perhaps we could reformat Joe's user guide into a wiki format and then anyone within the company or outside the company can improve the documentation with tips, tricks, etc.

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  • Test as Side-effect

    I sometimes regard the term "unit test" as unfortunate. It's certainly important that test cases actually certify your code, but in many ways I've come view that as a pleasant side-effect.

    For developers unfamiliar with unit testing, the "test" aspect might be a tough sell. After all, they can actually see their code working once they've deployed their application. Indeed, prior to being hired at Spider Strategies, I found I had to disabuse potential employers of the notion that my unit testing experience was solely a function of QA.

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