Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just an Update


What have I been up to over the last couple of days? Well I was trying to understand the ASP.NET MVC framework and how it works. I have been hearing a lot about (seeing/reading a lot about?) the ASP.NET MVC framework and wanted to gauge whether I should switch over to MVC framework for my latest project. After all, its supposed to be more maintainable, supports TDD and gives you greater control over the html which is generated. Plus my friend who will be helping me with this project is a java developer and the web application to him means MVC.

However, having seen a couple of videos where a sample data driven application was built using MVC, I realized that for now I am sticking with webforms. I am just so used to it that it will take time to switch. And I don't have the time. Not right now! Switching over to MVC has its obvious advantages, but the time taken to learn it just outweighs those advantages. So webforms it is for the time being.

Now that I decided on webforms, I started getting my hands dirty doing database design. A part of it is proving to be more challenging than I initially thought. Anyway I have decided on the db and now plan to upload some data to validate the design. This is a real pain. The data is available as static text and I need to manually recognize various fields from that text and write (cut and paste) those values in a spreadsheet. This is such a pain. I wish I did not have to do it manually, but cant help it. Of course I am looking at ways to automate the whole process but I think it will take time. Right now I just need to get the data in the database so I can continue building my app.

Of course I will also need to build a utility to upload data to the db from excel. Reminds me of the pdm_upload utility that came with Service Desk. That experience of bulk data uploading is going to come handy now :). So I got my hands full for the time being. That's good! There are a whole lot of other things to take care of as well.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Which Development Model To Use?


One of the first things that you are taught as a fresher in a IT Services company is the Software Development Life Cycle, popularly know in the industry as SDLC. You are taught various models that companies follow while developing software, the Waterfall model probably being the most common of them. It is a slow and heavy model, pretty much like an IL-76 transport aircraft - Good when you are transporting heavy stuff (similar to good when you are developing huge applications). But if you are a startup or a lone developer you really don't need the IL-76 to get where you want. What you really need is a Sukhoi 30!

Looking at various Agile Development Models, I stumbled upon SCRUM. I read about it in Wikipedia and then did some more research on it by googling it. The way the whole model has been explained is very simple and I developed a liking for it when I read it the first time. Simple and clear, no bullshit!

The interesting part was that the typical team size for the development team was 5-9 people. I wondered whether I should try my hands at this because my team right now is pretty much me. However, knowing the importance of documentation and how it will help later when the team size grows, I thought of giving it a try. I started writing the product backlog.

A couple of days into writing the product backlog I realized I was wasting precious time. What was important at this point was to get the first stage of the product ready. Documentation can be done whenever I get the time but the focus has to be on developing the prototype of the product. No wonder they mentioned a typical team size. So until my team reaches that size, I will be loosely following the SCRUM model. That is to say, I will be simply deciding what I am going to do in the next 15 days and then do it. Simple.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

So it begins!


Yesterday was my last working day at HSC, the place where I started my career, just over three years ago. I still remember very well my first day. Its like it was just yesterday, but it wasn't. It was three years ago. It is said Einstein explained his Theory of Relativity to a lay person thus: If you are sitting for an hour on a park bench with someone you love, it seems like a minute; If you are sitting for a minute with someone you hate, it seems like an hour! How quickly these three years passed is unbelievable, so I guess I was having a nice time there.

So what now? Where to next? That only time will tell, but hopefully I will be able to achieve something of what I set out to achieve. Whatever it is, it is going to be the ride of a lifetime. You really can't take risks when you got other things to take care of. But I don't right now. So even if I hurt myself, which seems a very likely possibility, its fine. I can bounce back.  But lets hope I don't hurt myself that badly.

Whatever the case, I am going to write about it here! Share my experience of starting up, so that it may help and perhaps inspire others to take the leap of faith. Just like reading others' experience inspired me to. Hopefully it will be helpful.

I have a request for you though! If you read a post, please do  comment something. It motivates me to write when I know people are reading it. Plus, now I don't have company gossip or coffee breaks or office communicator to reach out to people. Starting can be get really lonely at times (more on that in another post). So please do comment and keep the interaction going.

To end, there were a lot of people who said/mailed a lot of "all the best" to me but there were two that will motivate me the most in the dark times.

They said:



Hope all your dreams come true. Good luck!

May the force be with you!


and the other one --


I would like to share a saying I came cross last week

“Life is a profound book. Other’s notes cannot replace your own understanding. May you find and create something new in it.”