Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No more regions on implementing interface

Something that has been irritating me tremendously lately, is that when I implement an interface using Visual Studio all the members of that interface get surrounded by a region.

After poking around in the C# Text Editor options a little while, I found the switch that enables that behaviour.

A little less friction every day..

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Should we get this tool?

This is a decision that often needs to be made by middle management. For managers the most natural way to make this call is by evaluating the return on investment. To calculate the ROI, you need to compare the gain of an investment relative to the amount of investment. And this is exactly where things get hard, if not impossible. Measuring developer productivity is one of the unsolvable problems in our industry.

If a developer wants something which he feels will improve his productivity, not a lot of questions should be asked. The investment is probably ridiculously little, compared to the risk of depressing one of your codemonkeys. Developer happinness is at least as important as developer productivity. Happy developers tend to get passionate about their profession, and therefor ship better software as a result. And that's what we are all after, right?

I also find that peers saying something along the lines of "What's wrong with notepad?" are foolish. If you are most productive and happy using notepad, that's perfectly fine, but don't go belittling people who enjoy using more rich and intelligent editors. Your ePenis is probably large enough as it is.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Book review: More Joel on Software

I was lucky to pick up a copy of More Joel on Software for only 5 euros at a bookfest last week. Turns out the book ships pretty cheap on Amazon as well.

More Joel on Software was written by Joel Spolsky, already a legend for launching The Stack Exchange Network with Jeff Atwood. Although it's hard to not know him, I admittedly hadn't read a lot of his material so far. Starting my professional career in late 2008, the Spolsky writing high days were mostly over.

More Joel on Software is the second blook which bundles the best of the digital content of the Joel on Software blog into a dead tree. Although you can find every part of the book on Spolsky's blog, it was well worth the money. I love how he has, next to amusing anecdotes, a very opinionated view on our industry which really challenges you to broaden your thinking. His writing is also extremely enjoyable, I think he must be one of the best writers in our field.

Here is, for your convenience, the content of the book with links to the original articles online. Might be useful if you are the owner of one of those reading devices.

Part 1 - Managing PeoplePart 2 - Advice to Potential Programmers Part 3 - The Impact of DesignPart 4 - Managing Large ProjectsPart 5 - Programming AdvicePart 6 - Starting a Software BusinessPart 7 - Running a Software BusinessPart 8 - Releasing SoftwarePart 9 - Revising Software

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Have you ever typed code on a job interview? Results

As more established bloggers have argued before, there is something essentially wrong with job interviews in our industry. Software companies hire developers without even making them touch a keyboard. As long as you talk the walk you are able to land yourself a decent position. There are complete lists of .NET interview questions out there, which should, with enough preparation, make it possible for a somewhat technologiable person to ace the average .NET interview.

To get an idea of the state of job interviews today, I asked Twitter and the Reddit crowd about their experiences.

The questions asked were:
  • Have you ever typed code on a job interview?
  • If you did, how often?
  • Where are you from?
I used this survey to gather the responses.

The survey has received 1360 answers so far.

Out of those 1360 developers, only 45% has ever typed code on a job interview.

To make things worse, of those 45%, only a small percentage had to do it often.

So, I wonder, if you were in a position to hire developers, would you make them code? Would you at least make them solve FizzBuzz? If you are in a position to call the shots, why aren't you making us type?

Do you think there is a correlation between making interviewees type and the programming language? Are small companies more likely to make you type? Are great companies more likely to make you type?

More analytics

I also did the math per continent. Turns out there are differences, but they are marginal and probably sample size related. The sample size for Africa and Asia was the smallest.