Developer War Stories and Lifestyle

Google AdSense: Loved It. Hated It. Ditched It.

I’ve ditched Google’s AdSense and hopefully, others will too. Here are the events and backstory leading up to my decision. Back in the early 2000s, I developed a popular online hunting and fishing forum. This was before mainstream browser advertisement blockers and iPhone mania. After only six months, the site went viral. Traffic, popularity, page rank, participation, and membership (free) grew dramatically. I was the first user (patient zero) of at least 20,000 members. The community was strong. Members willingly helped other members. Word of mouth, not paid search or guerrilla marketing tactics brought more visitors than I could imagine. I was an active member and recruited other daily (sometimes hourly) active members to help moderate. Google AdSense was my friend. More importantly, other members became my friends. We would frequently meet up (physically) to group hunt and fish.
Read More...

How to Not Suck as a Software Developer

The following are not enforceable developer rules. I did not climb a mountain and receive the following laws from a higher power. And they are not industry shattering new ideas or techniques. Rather they are common sense guidelines we are all guilty of breaking once or twice (hopefully not too much more) throughout our professional careers. They were born from informal peer discussions on how we can each improve individually (and as a part of a team). And most importantly - not suck.
Read More...

Top 5 Signs You Are Working with a Cowboy Software Consultant

Cowboy (or rogue) software consultants are not difficult to spot once you start working with them. This applies to both small and large companies. Gradually along the development life cycle you learn that cowboy code slingers require a lot of supervision, hand holding, and lassoing. They come into a project riding on their horse full steam ahead with guns blazing in order to appear that they will get things done. They get things done of course, usually the wrong things. Unquestionably they will end up costing you money. So how do we wrangle ourselves out of this position? Yes, fire them. Terminate the contract. But how did we get here in the first place?
Read More...

The Smartest Guy in the Room is Not the Best Developer

I started my programming career 20 years old ago. Sometimes I still cannot believe that it’s been that long. Come August 2016 it will be exactly 20 years since I accepted a Software Test Engineer job after finishing my undergraduate degree. I completed my degree in August rather than June because I needed to finish a difficult Discrete Math course at Rutgers University while delivering NAPA auto parts part-time. I drove those little trucks with the baseball hat on top while secretly peeking over the shoulders of the store counter employees using a terminal based inventory management system. I couldn’t help being drawn to a computer screen. Any screen. Even ugly green and black ones.
Read More...

Consultants Ate My Unit Tests

About six years ago I was working as a solo software developer consultant for a web-based product at a small company. The backend piece involved some ETL from ancient 16-bit FoxPro into SQL Server which helped to provide an easier data schema and robust reporting. This project was not seeking to replace FoxPro since it’s been running the back office business for 10+ years without issue. Rather we opted to perform a nightly data dump into SQL server, since the data would be a lot easier to work with using ASP.NET, a requirement determined by the business, a traditional .NET shop. With this architecture, the webserver was not directly dependent on FoxPro. In the end, each could be maintained individually. Each could fail and not impact the other. Hopefully, neither fail but things happen. On second thought things are going to happen, plan and be prepared.
Read More...