Dependency Injection with Autofac – A Primer

Before Autofac... I've written before about IoC and dependency injection, but these are older posts and my perspective and experience with these topics has fortunately been growing. I think they're incredibly important when you're building complex systems, but the concepts can offer some benefits in all of your programming! When you get in the habit of practicing this kind of thing, you can get some pretty flexible code... for free. So a quick recap on what I mean by dependency injection here... I'm mostly focused on passing interfaces into constructors (and yes, I'm going to be using C# terminology as I do in most of my programming examples, but these concepts are generally the same in other languages). The benefits here: You can write implementations that don't depend on other implementations... Just an API. Not depending on an interface means…

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What Makes Good Code? – Should Every Class Have An Interface? Pt 1

What's An Interface? I mentioned in the first post of this series that I'll likely be referring to C# in most of these posts. I think the concept of an interface in C# extends to other languages--sometimes by a different name--so the discussion here may still be applicable. Some examples in C++, Java, and Python to get you going for comparisons. From MSDN: An interface contains definitions for a group of related functionalities that a class or a struct can implement. By using interfaces, you can, for example, include behavior from multiple sources in a class. That capability is important in C# because the language doesn't support multiple inheritance of classes. In addition, you must use an interface if you want to simulate inheritance for structs, because they can't actually inherit from another struct or class. It's also important to note…

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ProjectXyz: Enforcing Interfaces (Part 2)

Enforcing Interfaces This is my second installment of the series related to my small side project that I started. I mentioned in the first post that one of the things I wanted to try out with this project is coding by interfaces. There's an article over at CodeProject that I once read (I'm struggling to dig it up now, arrrrrghh) that really gave me a different perspective about using interfaces when I program. Ever since then I've been a changed man. Seriously. The main message behind the article was along the lines of: Have your classes implement your interface, and to be certain nobody is going to come by and muck around with your class's API, make sure they can't knowingly make an instance of the class. One of the easiest ways to do this (and bear with me here, I'm…

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ProjectXyz: Why I Started a Side Project (Part 1)

ProjectXyz Alright, I'll admit it... Even for a placeholder name on a side project it's pretty terrible, right? Well, my apologies. So, if you made it to this post you might be wondering what ProjectXyz is and why I started it up. From a high level, I started working on ProjectXyz so that I could have a hobby programming project to tinker with and I figured I'd blog about my adventures in bringing it all together. I plan on making this a mini-series documenting some of the things I'm learning or experimenting with, so this will serve as the intro to the series. Before we get too far, here's the link to the GitHub site: https://github.com/ncosentino/ProjectXyz Why Have a Side Project? Here's the main thing I want to talk about in part 1 of this series: Why should you have a…

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Controlling a Myo Armband with C#

Background Thalmic Labs has started shipping their Myo armband that allows the wearer's arm movements and gestures to control different pieces of integrated technology. How cool is that? My friend and I decided we wanted to give one a whirl and see what we could come up with. We're both C# advocates, so we were a bit taken back when we saw the only C# support in the SDK was made for Unity. We decided to take things into our own hands and open source a Myo C# library. We're excited to introduce the first version of MyoSharp! The underlying Myo components are written in C++, and there's only several functions that are exposed from the library that we can access. In order to do this, we need to leverage platform invocation (PInvokes) from C# to tap into this functionality. Once you…

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Refactoring For Interfaces: An Adventure From The Trenches

Refactoring: Some Background If you're a seasoned programmer you know all about refactoring. If you're relatively new to programming, you probably have heard of refactoring but don't have that much experience actually doing it. After all, it's easier to just rewrite things from scratch instead of trying to make a huge design change part way through, right? In any mature software project, it's often the case where you'll get to a point where your code base in its current state cannot properly sustain large changes going forward. It's not really anyone's fault--it's totally natural. It's impossible to plan absolutely everything that comes up, so it's probable that at some point at least part of your software project will face refactoring. In my real life example, I was tasked with refactoring a software project that has a single owner. I'm close…

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Interfaces: Why You Should Be Using Them In Your Code

Background As a developer, there's often a point when you're tasked to build something that's a key part of the architecture of your software. Maybe it's not a key component to the all of the application, but it's pretty foundational at least for a part of the application. Often we put our thinking caps on, plan a bit of what we're about to code, and then dive right into it. If you do TDD, you might go start coding your tests but regardless of your approach, you're likely going to start coding some classes pretty soon and forget completely about the use of an interface. You shouldn't.   Start With Interfaces In my opinion, if you're writing code that's part of your application's foundation, you should start with interfaces. If you're already rolling your eyes and whining to yourself that…

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What Makes a Good API?

Background My position at work allows me a bit of freedom in how I code and more importantly, influence how others code. I was recently having a conversation with a colleague about what I think makes a good API, from a high level. The context of our discussion was pertaining to developing a C# based API, but this really applies to any object oriented API. I had two key points that I wanted to address, and while they're not the only important things, I believe they're often overlooked. The first thing is how people will use your API, so how they will call methods and use the results. The second point was about how people will implement your API should they want to extend your work and implement their own classes. Here's what I was trying to drive home:   Usage: As a programmer,…

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