Application Architecture and the elusive Right Answer

I often listen carefully to Chris Scott, one of the authors of ColdSpring. He has a keen mind for Application Architecture and Object Oriented Programming. Recently, while responding to a post on the ColdSpring-Dev list, he made a point that bears repeating. Rather than rephrase, I'd like to quote him directly:

There are tons of developers out there working on small teams that really don't need to be going crazy trying to protect their code against themselves. Larger projects, larger teams may very well set different standards[...]
-Chris Scott

So often, the 'right answer' depends on all the elements in the equation. Architecture decisions are about effectively managing trade offs. The 'right' answer could be Extensibility over Simplicity, Performance over Maintainability, Clarity over Convenience.

A shop with 4 developers delivering lots of little projects has quite different needs over an enterprise with 50 developers supporting years of mission critical code. The cost of a mistake are not equal. The contributions of an individual is not equal. The measure of success is not equal. The 'right answer' is also not equal.

It is up to you, developers and architects to constantly educate yourself on technologies and standards. Be mindful of your environment. Challenge your viewpoints. Ask questions.

As for the 'right answer' I'll quote the ever wise Mr. Corfield, "It Depends".

Automate Your Work. Do More With Less. Go Home Earlier. Jim Priest @ TACFUG Tonight

Do you dread testing your applications? Do you get bored typing 'asdasd' in the First Name field of your forms? Have you ever accidentally forgot to test functionality in your application only to have it all go down in flames when you launch to production?

While that has never happened to me, (looks around shifty), there are ways to reduce testing effort while gaining test coverage through automation.

The Triangle's own Jim Priest will give a talk tonight about Selenium. You need to be there.

As an added bonus, Jim will also give an encore presentation on ANT.

RSVP for the meeting at TACFUG.org

Meeting Details:
Location: Pstrat / http://www.pstrat.com/who-office.cfm
Time: 6:30pm
Food: Pizza / drinks

TACFUG and RDAUG are also looking for a new meeting spot. If you have meeting space available in the RTP area, please let us know.

Silverlight ups the Ante - Flex still rules

On October 24th, Rob Zelt presented Silverlight to the Raleigh Durham Adobe User Group. I blogged about this on Nodans.com and promised to keep an open mind.

Silverlight is an impressive piece of technology in its own right. I was impressed by a number of features in the technology. A number of misconceptions I held were dispelled and I throughly enjoyed the presentation.

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Fixed error in SQLLite Administration tool

Christophe Coenrates, a man I deeply admire (and whose job I covet) released a sweet SQLite Administration tool. I downloaded it last night and was playing with it. It is a very nice example of an AIR application.

When using the tool, I attempted to execute several sql statements and received an error. The error was caused by single quotes in my sql statement.

view plain print about
1insert into [ContactType]([ContactTypeID], [Type]) values(1, 'Friend');


Thankfully Mr. Coenrates included the source code for the application so I fixed the error.

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SQLLite Administration Made Easy

I am working on some AIR projects now. AIR has SQLLite embedded into it. While looking around for a good way to manage SQLLite databases, I came across a post by Critter Gewlas titled Easy Administration of an SQLLite Database.

There is a freeware version with a very solid feature set. The professional version adds a trigger management UI, a Query Builder and some other enterprise level features. View the features for both editions on the SQLite Expert website Here are some screenshots:

A data transfer wizard

Index Manager

Trigger Interface

An Image Editor for columns containing images

In short, this is a no-joke program for managing SQLLite Databases. I plan on evaluating this program in the near future and will post my findings.

6830 Views Print Print Comments (1) Flex, AIR

Toshiba Satellite A215-S7428 on Windows XP

I recently purchased a Toshiba Satellite A215-S7428. This well-equipped notebook computer comes with Windows Vista Home Premium. I planned to remove Vista Home Premium and replace it with the venerable and less annoying Windows XP. Let this post serve as a warning to others with similar ideas.

Removing Vista was easy enough. Installing Windows XP was easy enough. Finding and installing drivers has been the bane of my existence.

Update: This has been solved. See: XP Drivers for Toshiba A215 - S7428

Predictably, the Toshiba site was no help. I understand they shipped the computer with Vista Home Premium, and likely feel their support obligations only extend to OEM configurations. However, I lost confidence in Toshiba when I read the following on their Detailed Specs for the Toshiba Satellite A215-S7428: "This product specification is variable and subject to change prior to product launch."

If anyone sees Toshiba, please remind them the product Toshiba Satellite A215-S7428 has launched.

A few of the problems I am currently working through:

Realtek allegedly provided the WLAN component. The driver listed at The Realtek WLAN RTL8187B Support Section is not recognized by Windows XP as a valid driver. RTL8187B is listed by the Windows XP device Manager.

The Display Driver listed by the Detailed Specs for the Toshiba Satellite A215-S7428 is ATI Radeon X1200M. This is not even an option at the ATI driver download site. I tried the Radeon X1200 driver (in the Windows XP > Professional/Home > Integrated/Motherboard > Radeon X1200 but the install aborted when it found no compatible hardware. I guess the 'M' in ATI Radeon X1200M makes a HUGE difference.

As a consolation prize, there is no driver listed for the ATI Radeon X1200M in the Windows Vista section either.

Network and Display adapters are KEY. I haven't even tried to figure out what Base System Device is, or PCI Device....

Final Thoughts

I've swapped OS versions in the past and do not recall these types of issues. If I am overlooking something, please point it out to me. Meanwhile, I issue a word of caution for those who plan to purchase the Toshiba Satellite A215-S7428.

While this notebook comes well equipped on the hardware side, it is severely lacking for those who wish to swap Operating Systems. Think twice if you choose to go this route. There are plenty of computers that will still ship with Windows XP. Choose one of those.

Update: In case you missed the inline announcement, this has been solved. See: XP Drivers for Toshiba A215 - S7428

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

My personal BS meter went off the charts when I read the following:

( source: BBC )

The US Federal Emergency Management Administration has apologised for having its employees pose as reporters at a hastily arranged news conference.

No actual reporters were able to attend Fema's televised briefing on the fires in California on Tuesday because they were only been given 15 minutes notice.

Instead, press officers asked questions many described as soft and gratuitous.

Fema employees posed as reporters at Tuesday's "news briefing" with Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson because an agency was providing a live video feed to US TV networks, according to the Washington Post.

Six questions were posed by the Fema officials and Mr Johnson even used the typical practice of calling for a "last question".

While the press conference was for a briefing on the status of wildfire fighting in California and not a vital National Security Matter, I take no comfort.

I really don't know the quality or quantity of lies I am spoon fed daily. Catching officials red handed is embarrassing to the administration and embarrassing to the American Public. I expect more from my elected officials and appointed bureaucrats.

Aren't we overdue for a revolution?

My Tutorials are now on DZone.com

Dzone.com is a great resource for developer related content. As a clever way to share interesting links, anyone can submit content to be voted up or down. I've recently added all my tutorials to date on dzone.com

Feel free to vote them up or down as you see fit. Dan Wilson's (nodans.com) Tutorials On DZone

TACFUG Meets Tuesday November 6th - Jim Priest On Selenium and ANT

Tuesday November 6th, Jim Priest will present on Selenium IDE and ANT. I am a big fan of both of these tools for Rapid Development. I was out of town when Jim gave his initial ANT presentation so I am pleased he is giving an encore.

Selenium is a framework for testing web based UI. ANT is a framework for scripting and automation. Both are very easy to learn and extremely powerful. Proper use of Selenium and ANT will increase the quality of your production software, reduce repetitive work and save you time. You need to have these tools in your tool chest.

The meeting starts at 6:30 PM, details are at the TACFUG Website. You may RSVP here.

BTW, If you do not know Selenium, watch this 3 minute clip.

Four software development guidelines

The only thing I hate worse than making mistakes, is repeating a mistake. Yesterday I was working through a very frustrating set of circumstances and had gotten myself micro-focused. This is a mental equivalence of painting oneself in the corner. Bassil Karam, one of the coolest guys you will ever meet and a very talented programmer, helped me out of my mental hole. I made several problem solving mistakes and I want to share them with others.

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