Visual Amazon Web Services Infrastructure Status Dashboard

Visual Amazon Web Services Infrastructure Status Dashboard

Recently I was working on mapping out our entire AWS infrastructure for documentation and auditing purposes. It shows all of the services we use, how they interact with each other, and has a box or circle for each node or instance inside the service (like the web EC2 cluster, or the SQS queues or RDS instances). As a coworker walked by and saw it, he said "wouldn't it be awesome if you could tie that into our alerts and have that section flash if something is wrong with it?" So I whipped up…Read more …

Live And Learn, But Learn Quickly – 3 Lessons of Iteration Management

Oh, we need a feature? We want to be able to have the button be red instead of blue? Write a ticket for it, it should be a one-pointer.  While you’re at it, add this in too, it’s a simple copy change.  New to the iteration management game, these are the first 3 lessons I learned (quickly).  They seem simple, effortless, and obvious, but hopefully they serve as a simple reminder of some golden rules.   Distance Over Speed “So how long is this going to take you?” “Is it ready yet?” “Can…Read more …
Legacy Database Integration in Django

Legacy Database Integration in Django

Within the Django framework, there are many helpful tools to mitigate web development upstart repetition, complexity, and organization. We live in an age where web applications are being launched as quickly as ideas can flow through our brains and take flight, and frameworks are one of the best ways to approach building what so many others have already built before. As developers, without third party tools our advancement wouldn't be where it is today. While Django is arguably the best Python Framework for building web applications out there, like any framework, there are…Read more …
Misconceptions of Agile Software Development

Misconceptions of Agile Software Development

We’re agile, we can just add stuff to what we’re working on mid-way through the sprint, yeah? We don’t need to plan or document anything if we’re doing agile, right? It’s just a tech thing, the business doesn’t need to know anything about agile. All of the above are things I have heard in my years working in the agile software development world. There are numerous other myths and misconceptions to what agile is, but for now, I’m going to touch on these items. Scope Creep Constantly iterating in Agile does not mean plan…Read more …
Join us at Techweek in Chicago!

Join us at Techweek in Chicago!

Come out tomorrow, Friday, June 27 between 12 and 5pm to check out our awesome booth at the Hiring Fair! Speak with our Director of Engineering and one of our Senior Web Developers (who may or may not be famous for tshirttony.tumblr.com), and find out what it is we actually do here at Spartz! We are collecting resumes for many positions including Data Scientists and Developers, PHP Developers, QA Specialists, and Web/Mobile Designers! A full list can be found on our company site, spartzinc.com/careers. More info on Techweek can be found on their…Read more …

QA Automation: Effectively/Efficiently Creating Element Selectors (Ruby)

One of the many issues I have faced while working in QA Automation is effectively and efficiently creating CSS/xPath selectors for elements.  When I added paths, whether it was into a larger script/program or a small file just using a Selenium driver; there was a lot of wasted time.   Small text mistakes in a path, wrong number of elements when selecting multiple; are some examples of why a path could fail. A large waste of time I found is moving between gathering paths and writing automation code in addition that it takes a…Read more …

4 Essential Things You Should Do To Customize your Google Analytics Implementation from the Beginning

Why are these essential things to do before you start collecting data? Because Google Analytics (GA) only applies these changes going forward, it will not reprocess historical data. Setup a view including the full domain path for pages. WHY: This will allow you to see all kinds of differences including the number of mobile devices using your desktop site instead of your mobile site (assuming they have different sub-domains). HOW: Setup an Advanced Filter as if you're setting-up Cross-Domain Tracking Give someone else permissions. WHY: If you get hit by a bus it's…Read more …
How to Learn Google Analytics Like The Back of Your Hand

How to Learn Google Analytics Like The Back of Your Hand

Whether someone is asking me how to learn Google Analytics for professional development reasons or I am teaching someone in-house at Spartz, I have put together the sequenced, teach-yourself approach below.  For each outline point, or lesson, you'll be able to find materials by Googling "Google Analytics" and the term for the lesson. When possible, use materials that were written within the last 6 months. I've linked my favorites in the Resources list at the bottom of this post. Just like mathematics is a subject that you learn sequentially because one piece builds…Read more …

Dependency Injection Series Part 2 – SRP and The Law of Demeter

During the first part of this series, which can be found here, I gave a brief overview of Dependency Injection and why you should use it. In this post, I'd like to dig a little deeper into the specifics of how to use it properly. At the end of part 1, I presented a few common questions asked by DI beginners. In short, if I follow the idea of "asking for what I need" and include dependencies explicitly, the following questions usually arise: Won't DI make refactoring harder and more time consuming? Won't I need…Read more …

Dependency Injection Series Part 1 – Removing Global State and Providing Unit Testing Seams

What is Dependency Injection? How do I use it? What are the benefits of using it? Why is global state so terrible and how does dependency injection help solve it? How does dependency injection help in unit testing? These are just a few of the questions I'd like to address in this series of blog posts. I'll discuss what problems dependency injection solves, how tremendously it improves our lives, and some common misconceptions about dependency injection and the structure of your applications, specifically touching on the Law of Demeter and the Single Responsibility Principle. Global State…Read more …