How To Make Anyone Understand Agile Development in 30 Minutes

The Ball Point Game This short and fun game will bring your team together to better understand scrum and agile concepts in action.  It gets people moving around, communicating, and solving a problem. The Rules of Engagement The rules are simple and easy to follow. The below rules are tweaked from the original to fit our team. The number of sprints, time of sprints, and rules of the balls can be altered to make the game easier or more challenging. The bigger the group, the better. Everyone is part of one big team.…Read more …

If You Don’t Learn To Code This Year, You’ll Be One Year Older When You Do

Because our society is becoming more dependent on technology, computer programming in some form or another is going to become an essential skill for everyone. Take a quick look around you and note which items could not function if it weren't for computer code. Now, think about all the things you can't see : That airplane up in the sky, the ATM down the street, the engine in your car. Code is everywhere, it has you surrounded! It is time you learn how to harness its powers. A Taste of Programming A great…Read more …

AutomationObject Ruby Gem for UI Automation Published

AutomationObject Ruby gem is a YAML configuration based dynamic DSL framework for UI automation using Selenium or Appium drivers. Gem Purpose: The purpose of this gem was to provide a layer in between the drivers I commonly used and my Cucumber testing suite.  Using YAML configurations to define and map the UI, this gem enables the creation of a dynamic DSL framework reflecting the configuration that allows automation to occur through the provided DSL API. Reason for Creating: Working as a QA developer in Test, I was having a hard time figuring out how I could scale up our…Read more …

Use a Single Codebase for Multiple Apps

You want me to what? Create different iOS applications from the same codebase?! The Challenge The mobile development team at Spartz was recently asked to create a new app for one of our existing sites, OMGFacts.com. Very cool! However, there was a catch -- with the exception of some logos, text and colors, the app was going to be a replica of our existing Dose app. In other words, take an app that wasn't built to support multiple, distinct versions and do just that with it. Huh. Where do you even begin? The…Read more …

6 (not 7) Ways To Create The Most Value In Your Work

After working for companies with up to 9,000 employees, it’s refreshing to be at a startup. Especially when I see how my work shapes the future of a company. That’s why it’s so important to make every line of code that I write as valuable as possible. I have an uncommon background as a developer. I came from the business side. This is why I think about things that might not normally cross a developers mind - like, “How does this help the company?”. I often see developers that have lost sight of…Read more …

7 Tips for Landing that First Gig

So maybe you read my most recent article, 7 Recommendations for Junior Developers, and you’re thinking, “That’s all well and good, Brad, but I haven’t even landed that first developer job!” Well, this is the article for you. Read on for some job finding tips from someone who has been there. I see Junior Developers falling primarily into two categories. One is a slightly experienced engineer who is learning a new language or platform. You’ve worked in a dev shop somewhere or as a freelancer and you have some experience or a portfolio…Read more …

7 Recommendations for Junior Developers

Being a Junior Developer can be hard. Really hard. Some things you know really well. Some things you don’t know at all. You have to learn how to exist in a new ecosystem with its own processes and tools that you may not be familiar with. There may also be new methodologies or approaches to development that you need to learn. People outside your team may not understand what “Junior” means and their expectations can be unrealistic. Some days it feels like its all uphill and there is no summit in sight. It can…Read more …
Visual Heat Map of your crontab

Visual Heat Map of your crontab

The other day I was trying to debug some issues that I thought might be related to running cron jobs. As I looked through our... large... list of crons, I wished there was a way to see what was running when. So of course, I created a quick script (github) to generate a heat map for the current day, that looks something like this: This gives us a quick insight of how many cron jobs are scheduled to run at a given time. It could be useful when planning out new recurring jobs…Read more …
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 …