Category: "general"

Alchemy: Benchmarks and Optimizations

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A continuation of a series of blog entries that documents the design and implementation process of a library. The library is called, Network Alchemy[^]. Alchemy performs automated data serialization with compile-time reflection. It is written in C++ using template meta-programming.

Benchmark testing and code profiling is a phase that can often be avoided for the majority of development. That is, if you develop wisely. Selecting appropriate data structures and algorithms for the task at hand. Avoiding pre-mature optimization is about not getting caught up on the minute details before you even have a working system. That doesn’t mean to through out good decision making altogether. Well I have reached the point in Alchemy, where I have a feature-set that is rich enough to make this a useful library. This entry chronicles my discoveries for how well Alchemy performs and the steps I have taken to find and improve the areas where improvement has been required.

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C++: Type Decay

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I have previously written about code rot (code decay). This post is about decay in a different context. Essentially there are three sets of types in C++ that will decay, lose information. This entry will describe the concept, the circumstances, and in some cases ways to avoid type decay from occurring. This is an important topic for me to cover because the addition of support for arrays in Alchemy would have been much more difficult without knowledge of this concept.

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Can One-size Fit All?

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What does one-size fits all mean? I suppose there are two way to answer that question, 1) How well do you want it to fit? 2) What do you mean by 'all'? For example, a clothing manufacturer is content with the percentage of the population that their product will fit, such as a T-shirt, hat or Snuggie. All in this case is just a sub-set of the actual population. It should also be stated that the Snuggie will only fit perfectly and look stylish on the most charismatic of cult leaders.

Snuggie - One Size Fits All

Next time you read an article about programming best practices, consider if the one-size fits all mentality is used by the author. What is their experience level, programming background, project history, or even industry? These are some of the factors that determine how well their advice can be applied to your situation. Especially, if their article only seems to consider situations similar to theirs.

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What Is a Software Architect?

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There is so much confusion surrounding the purpose of a Software Architect and the value they provide and what they are supposed to do. So much so, that it seems the title is being used less and less by companies and replaced with a different title such as principal or staff. I assume this is due to the perception there must be a way to distinguish a level above senior, which is handed out after only about three years of experience.

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C++: SFINAE

general, adaptability, CodeProject, C++, design 5 feedbacks »

This post will focus on the concept of SFINAE, Substitution Failure Is Not An Error. This is a core concept that is one of the reasons templates are even possible. This concept is related exclusively to the processing of templates. It is referred to as SFINAE by the community, and this entry focuses on the two important aspects of SFINAE:

  1. Why it is crucial to the flexibility of C++ templates and the programming of generics
  2. How you can use it to your advantage

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Are You Mocking Me?!

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It seems that every developer has their own way of doing things. I know I have my own methodologies, and some probably are not the simplest or the best (that I am aware of). I have continued to refine me design, development, test and software support skills through my career.

I recognize that everyone has their own experiences, so I usually do not question or try to change someone else's process. I will attempt to suggest if I think it might help. However, sometimes I just have to ask, "are you sure you know what you are doing?" For this entry I want to focus on unit testing, specifically with Mock Objects.

  

Are you sure you know what you are doing?

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I Found "The Silver Bullet"!

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I found the metaphorical Silver Bullet that everyone has been searching for in software development and it worked beautifully on my last project. Unfortunately, I only had one of them. I am pretty sure that I could create another one if I ever have to work with a beast that is similar to my last project. However, I don't think that my bullet would be as effective if the circumstances surrounding the project varies too much from my original one.

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Whats Wrong With Code Reviews?

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Code reviews seem to be the bane of many developers. Very few developers that I know like to participate in code reviews. Once they do participate, the criticisms about the code are superficial. Some examples are criticizing the lack of comments, violations to the naming conventions in the guidelines, and even the formatting of the code.

To top it all off, if you work in a shop that first presents an online code review to become familiar with the code, then a formal meeting to discuss the code, little to no prep time is spent by the reviewers. This is an enormous waste of time. How can a code review be valuable. More importantly, what can you do to change your companies culture, to not think of these as meetings of despair?

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Why Computers Haven't Replaced Programmers

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When I first started my college education to become a Computer Scientist (Programmer) an ignorant acquaintance of mine told me with some uncertainty, "Computer programming, don't they have computers write the programs now?" I thought he may have been thinking of the compiler. Alas, no. He continued to become more certain, while he told me that computers were writing programs now, and in ten years I wouldn't be able to find a job. I no longer know this person, and I, along with millions of other programmers make a living writing computer programs. Why aren't computers writing these programs for us?

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How I Avoid Making Mistakes

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No one likes to be wrong, except maybe the class clown; even then, I'm sure they don't like it if their incorrect answer does not get any laughs from the others. I especially hate when someone breaks the build, and the cause turns out to be a change that I made. I learned long ago not to try to chase perfection. However, I also learned there are many things that can be done to improve productivity and success.

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