Year in review

The year 2015 is almost here so it’s time to take a short review what I wrote this year and plan for the next. In 2014 I managed to wrote almost monthly and got together total of 14 articles covering topics of software development, WebLogic issues, Sailfish OS, user experience and gadgets. Last year I planned to write one post per month and in average I got there. Have to be satisfied with it although I could write more.

Looking back

During the past couple of years I have taken part of Fujitsu’s campaigns and testing their laptops and tablets and last year I took part of Master your Business project and tested Lifebook U904 Ultrabook. It’s slim and quite robust laptop with brilliant touch screen although it could benefit from better design regarding cooling. In Autumn I was invited to visit Fujitsu Forum in Munich to hear more about Fujitsu’s services and get insights about what’s new in information technology. The article from the event is still on my draft list. It was nice trip and great to see other bloggers and the project team. In other gadget related topics I also solved my problem with connecting Jabra HALO2 headset with Windows 7. I just had to update Bluetooth drivers in my Dell.

As a software developer I decided to challenge myself last year with developing applications for mobile phones and started with Sailfish OS which runs in Jolla. With Qt, QML and JavaScript it was fun and relatively easy to make useful apps like Sailimgur for browsing imgur and Haikala for reading high.fi news. I also made Colordots game which I ported from Ubuntu Touch. I planned to write more about how to develop apps for Sailfish OS but got around just to cover Sailfish OS user interface design practices and in more technical detail how to debug power consumption issues.

At work I do different kinds of software development related tasks and it’s good to write about the issues I find and how to solve those, like how to use X11 forwarding in Windows when I needed to install Oracle Database to Linux server. I also wrote about Oracle WebLogic related issues like how to recover managed server in incompatible state and what’s wrong with LDAP provider getting stuck.

Developing Java EE applications includes many tools and one of them is Maven which work quite fine for us. E.g. you can use WebLogic Maven plug-in to deploy your application and make your own plugins to generate HTML documentation from Markdown. And if you want to distribute your project’ artifacts to the world you can put it to the Maven Central with OSSRH.

I have been following Atlassian’s Sven Peter in Twitter about how to better do software development so it was great to finally get to hear the talk live when Atlassian’s Get Git Right landed to Helsinki. It was nice event although it had also the marketing aspect about Atlassian’s tools. Nice tools but sometimes the cost is too much. Now I just hope we move from Subversion to Git someday.

I also wrote short article about using Java Mission Control to monitor and profile your Java application. Too bad it’s really useful only with newer JDKs so legacy apps have to use other means like JavaMelody or NewRelic. I also took a short look at stagemonitor but didn’t yet write about it. Looked quite nice for monitoring but not as easy to setup as JavaMelody. Also Spring Boot had nice statistics out of the box but more about that next year.

Planning for 2015

As you may have noticed I’m not a very active writer and technical topics take time to get out from draft to a full article. In the past three years I have managed to write on average one article per month and it seems to be a good target to pursue. Why change something that works quite fine?

For the coming year, looking at blog’s draft folder there’s posts about Sailfish OS and Windows Phone development, software monitoring, setting up continuous integration, utilizing PaaS and starting with Spring Boot. I should just stop starting and start finishing my personal projects so I could add the finishing touches to drafts.

So, stay tuned and subscribe to the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter. Check also my other blog in Finnish.

Getting Git Right in Helsinki

Software development is fun if you have tools which work great and support what you’re doing. So it was finally great to get hear Sven Peters talking about better software development in teams as Atlassian’s Getting Git Right landed to Helsinki (24.11.2014). Event about Git and of course about Atlassian’s tools.

Getting Git right by svenpet and durdn

Getting Git Right’s main theme was about happy developers, productive teams and how Git and Atlassian’s tools help to achieve that. Sven Peters and Nicola Paolucci presented how to be a happier developer with Git, and how to ship software faster and smarter. It’s good to remember that developing software is after all a social challenge, not a technical one. And Git helps you with it. The presentation slides are available at SlideShare and you can also watch it on Youtube (different event).

Git: You can rewrite history. Timemachine without paradoxes

Nicola Paolucci gave a nice and 5 minute talk about Git and it’s internals. Lot’s of technical details. The main points were “Fast and compact”, “Freedom and safety”, “Explore and understand”, “Control and assemble”. With Git you can rewrite the history safely to e.g. clean commits. Paolucci showed also some tools to help working with Git on the command line like hooks they use and using “better” prompt like liquid-prompt. For GUI you can use Atlassian’s SourceTree.

Git datamodel

Merging

Interesting part of the event was talk about what is efficient and the best Git workflow? The answer is “we don’t know”. It depends as there are different cultures, different products and different teams. There’s no right way but there are some good workflows which might work for you.

One is to use branch per issue, e.g. hot-fix/jira-30-user-avatars, feature/jira-27-user-sign. The simplest workflow is to use feature branches with develop branch. Then the master is very stable. If you have multiple product versions then release branches are good and bug fixes are done to separate branch and merged to other branches.

They also presented how Atlassian’s Stash can help you to work with Git and branches. Like merging changes to branches can be done automatically with hooks or by using Stash. Stash looked nice for controlling and managing your repository with visual interface.

Code reviews: do they feel like this?

Git also helps you to improve code quality with e.g. code reviews. Code reviews shouldn’t be painful as it’s about team ownership, shared knowledge and aim for better code but often there’s developer guilt. It can be made easier by making code reviews part of your daily work by doing it in small patches like pull requests.

Development is also about communication and for that Atlassian presented HipChat. It looked quite nice tool for following what’s happening in a project with aggregating team chat and information from different tools. Following commits and continuous information brings you clear view what’s happening. There are also alternatives to HipChat like Slack or just basic IRC.

But why should you use Git? Benefits like more time to code, better collaboration, dev productivity and it’s the future doesn’t convince everyone. Like pointy haired bosses. So it’s good to remember that Git is also about economics. Delivering software faster, having less bugs and thus having happy customers. Shipping software faster and smarter.

Why Git? from Peters’ slides:

Why Git?

It’s also about economics

In Questions and Answers session there was talk about Atlassian’s strategy with Bitbucket and Stash. They said that both are going strong as they have different use cases. Stash has more enterprise features and you can have the repository on your own premises. Bitbucket is about hosting the repository in Atlassian’s platform and for small and medium team. What I have used Bitbucket it’s nice service but not as user friendly as GitHub. Another interesting question was about storing binary files in Git. There’s no optimal solution yet but just some workarounds like git-annex and git-media which allows managing files with git, without checking the file contents into git. In practice you shouldn’t store binary files in Git and you should separate product to code and assets.

Summary

Atlassians Getting Git Right was nice event and gave good overview about Git and how to use it in software development team. It would have been nice to hear something about the alternatives to Atlassian’s tools (BitBucket, Stash, SourceTree and HipChat) which helps you to do better software development. I can’t deny that Atlassian’s tools work nicely together but sometimes the price is just too high.

Now it’s time to start using Git also on work projects and as all participants got “Just do Git” T-shirt it’s easier :) Thanks to Atlassian and Ambientia for arranging this event.