Blog 01

So my blog…

I have had my own blog for a couple of years but I generally just used it as a store of info on how I did stuff in the past. For example, I wrote my own HowTo on setting my a LAMP server at my previous job, so it was basically there to help me remember stuff. I will be archiving it all somewhere when I get the chance so I don’t lose it.

So what is different about this one? Well for the last 9 years I have been a Software Developer, and have worked at various companies in various positions and used lots of different languages and techniques to achieve what the customers required.

The last 4 years have been spent as a lone developer, the first 18 months working Freelance on both Websites and Desktop applications in Scotland. I then upped sticks and moved continents for a fresh start in the Caribbean. Grand Cayman to be exact, I was then the lone developer for a IT consultant’s, mainly doing websites. However, during the last 4 years I have used the “slow” time in my jobs, and there was quite a bit, to learn about the new (at least for me) and exciting directions Software Engineering is going. So I have been reading up on Extreme Programming, Agile methods, reading blog posts from the likes of Scott Hanselman and Craig Shoemaker and also listening to their podcasts. I have learnt a lot of theory in the last few years, but never had the chance to implement it. I tried to create my own projects to try stuff out on, but there is only so much you can do when you are working on your own.

Now, however, I have moved jobs again (still in the Caribbean), to one of the regions largest Software Developers. Initially I thought I would just be coming in to help out and do some general development and the odd website. That doesn’t look like it will be the case though as with the lead developer leaving I have been given the opportunity to take over his project, which is the Technology Upgrade of the companies flagship product from VB6 (Yes VB6, the Caribbean is a bit behind the times), to .NET Framework 2.0. As well as the project starting out in VB6 there is also no concept of Unit Testing, Code Ownership etc.

I have suggested that we need to start looking at these things and try to implement them in the coming months. The response was to create a Unit Testing project for the new version of the product and give the whole company a demo showing the benefits before I leave on vacation at the end of the week. If it is approved then the doorway should be open to more practices.

So basically this blog is going to be a written account of all of the things that go on while I try to implement some Agile methods and better Software Engineering practices into the workplace.

I have no practical experience of doing this, only what I have read and heard, so it should be a bit of a journey and an experience to see what works, what doesn’t and how well I get on with it all in the coming months.