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Category: Tools of the Trade

There are many tools available to developers of high-integrity software to enhance productivity and code quality. Today I will look at some of them in brief. Future articles will explore some of them in more depth. continue reading…

Okay, the news was broken months ago… and I’m still in awe.  The Sony Playstation 3 will be released with a more powerful CPU than is currently available in any computer in a PC format.  Currently, the only computer I know of that will eventually make use of this chip is IBM’s Blade line of servers. No home computing resource even comes close. continue reading…

I’ve read several articles and blog entries where experts argued over the semantics of “software construction” versus “software development”.  Personally, I see little value in the debate.  But I won’t let that stop me from contributing my 2 cents. continue reading…

What does an architect do?  This surely won’t be the last time this question is asked on this forum.  It is an important question, and somewhat hard to pin down; especially when one considers the many titles of a Software Architect. There seems to be a general idea of what a software architect does, but many software managers don’t seem to believe the role is necessary, or even distinct: “Can’t we just have one of our senior developers do that?”  Sure you can; If you have a senior developer who possesses those skills. continue reading…

Okay, that’s a bit strong, but it got your attention. In truth, I think design patterns are very useful things. They can aid in understanding software design, for documenting and communicating design, and for applying to or refactoring designs; but many people see them as something more.  I saw a consulting job requirement a while ago, and one of the required skills was that the candidate “must have used ALL of the design patterns” documented in the GoF Book.  Is this really significantly different than requiring that a building architect has applied every form of archway and flying butress ever used in the history of construction?  Isn’t awareness more important than past application? continue reading…

I don’t know who originated this trick.  I first read about in in P.J. Plauger’s “Programming on Purpose”.  It was probably first used by assembly language programmer’s when 4-bit systems were common and memory was paltry.  Still, it can be handy in a tight loop even on a relative fast processor. continue reading…