Confront Your Ignorance

For this weeks blog pattern post I will be looking into the pattern known as confronting your ignorance. The context behind this one is that you have identified the gaps within your skillset that are thereby relevant in your everyday work. The problem that will arise from this is that the tools and techniques needed to master seem unobtainable as you don’t know where to begin. These may already be around you with people around you doing them but there is an expectation you already have this knowledge. The remedy to this that you should pick one skill, tool, or technique and seek to fill the gaps of your knowledge about it. Finding out the most effective ways that suit your style. For some the best approach involves getting an overview of introductory articles and FAQs. While others may find jumping straight into the construction of Breakable Toys the best approach to understanding something. Whichever approach works do not forget to ask around your Kindred Spirits and mentors to see if someone already has the skill and if they will be willing to share their knowledge. Others may be actively seeking this skill as well which can allow you both to work towards this goal. There aren’t enough hours in a day to hone all your skills to a high level, so making necessary trade offs between them is something that will have to happen. This pattern is closely related to Expose Your Ignorance, but implementing it is a less difficult task to your pride since it can be down privately. But eventually you may have to Expose your Ignorance as well, since learning in public will allow an apprentice to being their transition to a journeyman. Taking the list of items from Exposing your Ignorance and striving to learn each one, while crossing the completed off is a good place to start. This way you can see gaps you maybe hadn’t noticed before. This pattern is important to say the least, one that most people should honestly follow if they need to.


Somebody Touched My Spaghetti!

For this weeks blog post I will be looking at an Antipattern known as Spaghetti Code from Source Makings site. Perhaps the most famous AntiPattern it has existed in one form or another since the advent of monogramming languages. Essentially Spaghetti Code is a very cluttered or messy design approach causing it to appear almost like spaghetti, all tangled up.

Nonobject oriented languages appear to be more susceptible to this, and this is more likely to occur to those who have yet to fully master advanced concepts involving object orientation. The general form of this spaghetti code appears in systems with very little software structure. “If developed using an object-oriented language the software may include a small number of objects that contain methods with very large implementations that invoke a single, multistage process flow. “.  On top of this object methods are invoked in a very predictable manner, with a negligible degree of dynamic interaction between any of the objects involved in the system. Causing the system to be very difficult to maintain or extend, allowing no opportunity to reuse the objects and modules in other similar systems. Spaghetti Code usually results in an inexperience with object oriented design technologies, similar to this no design prior to the implementation of the actual code. Another cause would be the result of developers working in isolation because of this their maybe ineffective code reviews.

A solution to this not so delicious mess would be through software refractoring (code clean up). This being an essential part of software development, allowing most efficient clean up. When the structure becomes “compromised” through the mess its support to extensions become more and more limited to the point of useless. Ideally code cleanup should be happening throughout the entire development process but that’s an ideal situation that not everyone (including myself) follow all the time. Doing so on an hourly or daily basis is a good start to this cleanup process.

If simple code clean up is not working what next? Stopping spaghetti code through prevention is usually the best way to resolve this matter. Before you start writing the code, have a plan of what you are designing and how to structure it. Commit to actively refractoring and improving spaghetti code whenever the code needs to be modified is an extremely useful to prevent it.

Essentially if you don’t want to have spaghetti and meatball code you need to think about the overall structure and a good idea of what you are going to be developing.

A Bugs Life : How to Reproduce One

For this week’s blog post I found a blog that shows you how to reproduce a bug in your application. Why is this important? Well if you see something wrong in your application but cannot reproduce it this blog may help you with it. An obvious but important step to undertake is to simply gather information, and as much of it’s you possible can about the circumstances of the issue you are looking for.  Retracing the steps just before the bug appeared is a good way to do this the same goes if someone else reports the bug. Pertaining to another person reporting the bug is it a different operating system their using? A different browser or a different browser version? Again, obvious questions to some but to others they might not think about it. Keeping track of what changes, you have made trying to reproduce the bug is very important, knowing what you’ve tried and haven’t is crucial. I know this is something I would probably not keep track of which would cause me a lot of frustration. Going off of this using logs and developer tools are extremely helpful in providing a sense of direction in the behind the scenes of the application. If using a browser, especially chrome, you can simply go to the top right and find all the developer tools by clicking the three-dot menu. The blog then lists numerous factors to consider when trying to reproduce a bug, here I will discuss a few. Going back to the user end of bug, did the user not have the correct permission or a specific permission level? If so, you may be dealing with a bug that is only seen on an administrator level or by a certain type of customer. Authentication may be something to take into factor if the user cannot log or such. what is the state of the data that the user has? Can you reproduce the state exactly? The bug may only appear when a user has a very long last name or a particular type of image file. Another simple factor is configuration-based issues. Something in the application may not be set up properly. For example, a user who isn’t getting an email notification might not be getting it due to email functionality being turned of for their account. Checking all of the configurable settings in the application and trying to reproduce the issue with exactly the same configuration is the best way to check for this. Another issue some may not think about are the race conditions. The best way to determine if there is a race condition is to run your tests several times and document the inconsistent behavior. Clicking on buttons or links before a page has loaded in order to speed the input up or throttling the internet connection to slow the input down are good ideas for this. The last one they list is a simple machine or device based issue. This is probably the most common one that we face in all honestly, we’ve come across it a few times this semester even between Mac and Windows. Essentially something is working on Mac then is transferred over to a Windows device and does not work since it was originally made for a Mac and didn’t consider something small that windows does not have and more. After reproducing the bug you want to narrow the steps down to make it as efficient as possible making it easier for either you or the developer to fix in the code in the future.

All and all I thought this blog was actually pretty helpful at explaining steps on how to reproduce bugs and to help find them and make your testing process a bit smoother..