Friday, November 28, 2008

Bad news packaged well

Ofcourse I never have bad news....

But if you do, make sure you package it well...

Make damn sure you are able to explain - plain and simple - how we got there, what the benefits are of our current unwanted situation, and how to get out.

Packaging does make a difference...

I guess I made my point... ;)

Unity versus Microsoft Workflow Runtime

Being a true Framework designer I love Inversion Of Control (IOC).

Microsoft's current tool of choise for IOC is Unity.

The other Day, I wanted to use my IOC-container inside the Microsoft Workflow Runtime. The reason for this is that I wanted my custom activities to support IOC;

Although the implementation is straightforward, it might save you some time.

public class UnityDefaultWorkflowSchedulerService: DefaultWorkflowSchedulerService
  private IUnityContainer _container;
  public UnityDefaultWorkflowSchedulerService (IUnityContainer container)
      _container = container;

   protected override void OnStarted()
      //wrap the container in a singleton to make it global

Please note that the example uses the IUnitityContainer directly. However, I like to wrap unity in my own IOC-container thus making the Inversion Of Control Container Inversionable. Get it?

Happy Inversioning.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Anger is a gift (quote)

if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention. If you witness someone suffer undeservedly, that ought to madden. If you see someone profit through malice or fraud, that ought to infuriate. When you see cruelty, when you see pain, when you see injustice, and you know it would sacrifice nothing of moral consequence to end that cruelty, to soothe that pain, or right that wrong, and yet it persists, something has to explode inside you if you've got anything resembling a soul.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stop Unittesting Its A waste Of Time!?

Ever noticed that some professionals (dedicated people most of the time) can have fatigues for certain attitudes or situations?

You know what I am talking about... Just think of Gordan Ramsy for example.

Today, I noticed that I am about to have some fatigues myself!
  • Don't tell me that working with a version control system takes way too much time making it impossible to meet your deadlines! Just don't!
  • Don't tell me that spreading (not adding) your code out over an interface, baseclass and factory takes way much more time! Don't!
  • Don't tell me that managers won't give you extra time to write unittests for your project! Don't, Don't, Don't!
In a desperate attempt to lose these fatigues and, to be honest, in the unrealistic hope to not have these discussions over and over again I will try to explain why this just is not true!

"Managers won't give you extra time to write unittests...?"

If you don't get extra time to write unittests it is probably a very good thing! I mean, why do you ask your manager for this in the first place? Are you asking your manager for extra time to have sensible variable names in the code you write? Are you asking for extra time for something "exotic" as comments? Ofcourse you are not! Same goes for (unit)testing! When your manager asked you how long it would take to develop that piece of software he ment "How much time will it take to develop the software in a sensible way!". Asking for extra time for comments or testing  or anything else that is normal when it comes to software development is your own attempt to get everybody frustrated... If this would be your attitude I bet that if you would get this mysteriously needed extra time in the first place , your software would still not meet quality standards only to find another excuse... but that's a different story.

"Unittesting takes way too much time?"

The first thing that pops into my mind is what do you compare it to? Changes are that you are comparing a well (unit) tested software system with a hardly tested at all software system. Sure testing takes a fair amount of time but this has nothing to do with unittesting or any other testing methodology.

To make this point extra crystal clear I will give you an example:

Today is your lucky day! Your are asked to extend your Acme-company's intranet with a way too simple news-part. 

Your current "timesaving" scenario:

You create the table in your database, write some queries and code to get the data in and out the database, some helper functions probably and finally the User Interfaces. Not using any sensible (unit)testing strategy you probably test the application by inserting, updating and deleting minimal news articles (subject=a, body=a, startdate=select from calendar, department=select from list) as long as it takes for the simple scenario to work. Tired of "testing" you do another test with a large newsarticle. You call it a day and a finished application ready to take into production... only for the nightmare (maybe not your nightmare but definitely mine). When users start using your application bug reports are being made to the helpdesk by phone and by email to be answered, added and forwarded via the bugtrackingsystem only to be discussed with the manager what to do and when. You find the bug, change your code again you do some simple and random testing, do a release (with all the overhead that comes with), close the bug and tell the manager and helpdesk for them to inform the original user.

Why did all these bugs hit you in the face? Because you did not test at all... If this is what you call testing I suggest you buy a book about testing software... I call it a waist of time....

Your new "timesaving" scenario:
Instead of doing those random dataentry scenarios that usually involve endless logins and selecting the needed menu buttons and options... I will write three simple test that do a "way too simple" insert, update and delete. I know that doing those will save me a lot of time compared to your scenario. I will run the tests and modify my code until it works. The time I have left I spent on writing some extra simple tests for my code (test principle: find defects early). Now that everything works I tie things up to my user interface and do some simple but serious Blackbox testing because the user interface contains hardly any code (test principle: software that is easy to test is easy to maintain).

Now when a bug report comes in I check it against my unittests to see why that situation is not covered. If it is covered it's simply a user interface problem easily fixed.

Unittesting does not take extra time if you don't do extra testing. It does save time because you can just repeat and repeat your tests with one press of a button untill things work.

Of course, even if you would compair proper repetitive manual testing in comparison to proper unitesting, unittesting will saveyou time right from the strart (even before you start refactoring). Not to mention that unittesting not only results in less defects but also leads to better designs....

Happy UnitTesting, Today !

P.S.: I know the example is not UnitTesting by the book its more integration testing but that's not what this article is about...

Friday, November 21, 2008

What is Architecture (Quote)

"Architecture is the continues quest for finding, keeping and sharing the perfect balance between philosphy and pragmatism through continuous evaluation of all stakes in blind justice by utilizing all available creativity and knowledge ."

Marcel van Eijkel -Eindhoven, 21 November 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Whats new in DotNet 4.0 (pdf)

Take a look at this .pdf to get a good but quick impression about the new types and namespaces included asof Dotnet 4.0 (and 3.5 servicepack 1).

I think there is enough for everybody to benefit.

For me I particularly like:
  • the new biginteger datatype that is part of the new core;
  • the new concurrent-collection;
  • the mvc framework that is included;
  • the many new classes for the workflow framework;

What I like less about this release:

  • the entity framework seems part of this release. My experiences sofar before it was included in this release were disappointing;
  • in my opinion, the unity should have been part of the core;
  • new ajax stuff, but i would bet my money on jquery. No microsoft ajax for me anymore for a while;

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Favorite Code Snippets (Visual Studio)

Below, my ever growing list of my favorite Code Snippets:

happy Snippeting!