Staying Productive

Background I wrote a post a long while back about how I started to use Google Keep to get myself organized. Google Keep has been a go-to app for me on my phone for a long time now. I love using it to make lists of things, and I find it much more convenient than a paper notebook. Don't get me wrong--I think a paper notebook still has plenty of uses! I love my notebook for long running meetings with open-ended discussions or brain storming sessions. It's great to be able to take a pen/pencil and doodle down any idea that comes to mind. When I'm having a free-form conversation, I need a free-form way to take notes. However, my phone is something I almost always have with me--and my paper notebook isn't. My phone allows me to take my Google…

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IronPython: A Quick WinForms Introduction

Background A few months ago I wrote up an article on using PyTools, Visual Studio, and Python all together. I received some much appreciated positive feedback for it, but really for me it was about exploring. I had dabbled with Python a few years back and hadn't really touched it much since. I spend the bulk of my programming time in Visual Studio, so it was a great opportunity to try and bridge that gap. I had an individual contact me via the Dev Leader Facebook group that had come across my original article. However, he wanted a little bit more out of it. Since I had my initial exploring out of the way, I figured it was probably worth trying to come up with a semi-useful example. I could get two birds with one stone here--Help out at least…

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Fragments: Creating a Tabbed Android User Interface

Fragments: A Little Background Update: The actual application is available on the Google Play store. Once upon a time, Android developers used only two things called activities and views in order to create their user interfaces. If you're like me and you come from a desktop programming environment, an Activity is sort of like a form or a window. Except it's more like a controller for one of these classes. With that analogy in place, a view is then similar to a control. It's the visual part you're interacting with as a user. I remember the learning curve being pretty steep for me being so stuck in my desktop (C# and WPF) development, but once I came up with these analogies on my own, it seemed pretty obvious. So to make an Android application, one would simply put some views together…

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Code Smells – Issue Number 2

Code Smells Welcome to the second edition of Code Smells! Periodically I'll be posting about how to detect code smells and what they mean in terms of the big picture of your code. The previous installment can be found right here. What's a code smell? Wikipedia says it perfectly: In computer programming, code smell is any symptom in the source code of a program that possibly indicates a deeper problem. Code smells are usually not bugs—they are not technically incorrect and don't currently prevent the program from functioning. Instead, they indicate weaknesses in design that may be slowing down development or increasing the risk of bugs or failures in the future. Onto the code smells! The Stink List Code Smell #4: (Thanks to reddit user fkaginstrom) You have an large number of parameters being passed in to your function call. Functions that take in a ton of parameters stink for…

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Code Smells – Issue Number 1

Background I thought this might be kind of fun (fun can also be read as "upsetting"), so I'm giving it a shot. It's pretty frequent as programmers we go back and revisit some code and find ourselves shaking our heads at what we see. These code smells often don't show their faces when they're being created, so don't beat yourself (or anyone else) up just yet. Common signs you've stumbled upon a code smell are when you find yourself saying: How could that co-op have possibly coded this?! Blast those interns! Or What the heck was John thinking when he put this together?! Does he not have a brain?! Or No wonder we find so many bugs in this part of code! Look what Jane did! But it never truly hits home until you get one of these: What is…

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Python, Visual Studio, and C#… So. Sweet.

Python & C# - Background Let's clear the air. Using Python and C# together isn't anything new. If you've used one of these languages and at least heard of the other, then you've probably heard of IronPython. IronPython lets you use both C# and Python together. Pretty legit. If you haven't tried it out yet, hopefully your brain is starting to whir and fizzle thinking about the possibilities. My development experiences is primarily in C# and before that it was VB .NET (So I'm pretty attached to the whole .NET framework... We're basically best friends at this point). However, pretty early in my career (my first co-op at Engenuity Corporation, really) I was introduced to Python. I had never really used a dynamic or implicitly typed language, so it was quite an adventure and learning experience. Unfortunately, aside from my…

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