Credits : Linux

Credits : Linux

 

There are many benefits of agile software development, including the ability to accelerate growth, foster developer autonomy, and respond to changing customer needs faster, all while creating a company culture that embraces innovation. But, while we’re still bickering over what is precisely agile and what precisely isn’t, some feel left behind. From middle management to whole project management offices, there are many struggling to find their place in an agile transformation.

But there is an argument for the role the project management office (PMO) can play in a company gone agile, according to scrum master Dean Latchana, who gave a talk on this subject to a skeptical audience recently at the AgiNext Conference in London.

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Credits : Whattheythink

Credits : Whattheythink

 

Making good software is like building a nice home, it takes multiple resources who are coordinated to deliver on your needs. The more a printer understands the software process, the better they will be at managing it for internal projects or influencing the software roadmap of their vendors.

If you want to hear print owners complain, ask them about software. I don’t think this is unique to the print industry. Most businesses are frustrated with their business software. I could write an article about what people complain about most (that would be redundant and boring). I could write an article about what vendors could do better (I think we’ve covered that in other articles). What I want to write about is the actual process required to build good software; because I believe if printers understood the software development process better, they could influence it more effectively. The result would be exactly what printers are looking for – software that returns more ROI to their businesses.

One of the best analogies I’ve heard to describe the software development process is comparing it to building a home. We all understand that building a nice home first and foremost takes a translator who listens to what you want and then designs what is to be built (the architect). The architect is often supported by a structural engineer to make sure what was designed can be safely built (does not fall down). Once the plan is agreed upon, including full visuals and now with modern software 3D walk throughs, the building can begin. The builders include the primary labor (contractor) and specialized labor (electrician, plumber, etc.).

The final step for building a nice home is the inspectors who make sure everything is up to the current building codes. These people come and check the work of others against established criteria. If your home fails to meet the criteria, remedies are suggested and labor is deployed to bring the home up to code.

Building good software is like building a nice home.

The translation between what you want and what will be built in software should be done primarily by a product manager and secondarily by the software architect. The product manager is listening to the business challenges and then translating them into the features and functionality of the software. The software architect then layers their knowledge of how the software will be structured (like the structural engineer on a home). Your software architect is making sure the software will work and designing the interactions between user experience, database, and external systems.

The specialized labor includes the user experience (UX) / user interface (UI) designer. The user experience is how the users of the software interact with it. This is a specialized skill. The biggest mistake I see with software projects is when the software developers make UI and UX decisions. This would be like your contractor saying he could handle all the electrical and plumbing in your house, no need to hire specialists. The UI/UX of software is the most important part. The reason we have so much software that is frustrating to use is that software developers made the UI/UX decisions. This is also why most software requires a decoder ring to figure out how to use it. A decoder ring is a translator between what it says on the screen and what it does. How many times have you heard someone say, oh that feature that is called “X” really does “Y”! Why the heck didn’t you just name it so we don’t have to have a manual, documentation, or massive amounts of training?

The labor for software development is the coders. The software developers take the instructions from the product manager and turn them into working software. They are like the contractors building your house. They should NOT have to be delayed by having to make a lot of decisions – the decisions should have been front-loaded in your plans. Contractors are not expected to decide the height of the ceilings in your basement. Software developers should not be deciding what to name a button or whether functionality is displayed in a pop-up modal window or via an error message embedded on the screen. The UI/UX designer should decide all of this because they are thinking about the human user not the human who codes (who is generally not your target market).

How should this new knowledge impact you when you take on software development projects or you’re giving feedback to vendors about their software products?

Recommendations for Printers

  1. Describe the challenge/problem instead of suggesting a solution

When your house has a water leak, you call the plumber and say, “water is leaking above our stove which is right under the upstairs shower – can you come check it out?” You do not say; I think you should re-route the main water line from downstairs to upstairs or another other proposed solution. You describe the problem in the form of the symptoms you are witnessing. Your objective is obvious – we would like the walls and ceilings of our home to be dry.

When software doesn’t work the way you want it to, we don’t describe the symptom, we race off to recommended solutions. I’ve heard printers say; “could you please create a download button on this screen that downloads all the data?” This is a proposed solution. I don’t know what problem you’re trying to solve. This is a real example so I’ll tell you what we did. We did NOT code a download button on the screen; because when I asked what are you going to do with that data, the printer said. “I am going to combine it with images of all the items on the screen, create a spreadsheet and send it to my customer for review.” So the problem they wanted to solve was the ability to view a set of data in multiple ways – one as a list, one as a grid with images. We implemented multiple views on the screen as the solution to this challenge. With one click the customer could see a list, with another click the customer could see a grid view with thumbnails of all the images associated with the items. If we hadn’t asked what problem they were trying to solve, they would have wasted their money and our time building a far less effective solution.

  1. Understand that writing code is about one-third of the software process

When software is needed; so many printers think all they need is a software developer. Then they wonder why the developer built something that doesn’t quite solve their problem, is difficult to use, and looks awful. You are asking the coder to play all the roles. This can be done. For very small projects it doesn’t make sense to spend the money to have all these different skill sets. Look for a developer that is well rounded and can do all the skills well. For anything serious, larger scale you must get access to the specialized labor (especially the UI/UX role). You can translate your needs into requirements and have someone design the pages before you even look for a developer. When you have everything scoped out its so much easier for a developer to estimate the project. You are not a UI/UX expert, everyone seems to think they are good at this. You probably aren’t.

  1. Software takes time to do well, more time than you think, rushing it creates a mess

Everyone is under the gun. Your customers are demanding from you and often you can just ask your team to work overtime or add another shift. Software is less easy to scale, especially larger projects. There are books written about the failed attempts to scale software projects by throwing more people in the mix to speed it up “The Mythical Man-Month”. A software project requires context. When you add more people to a software project you slow it down temporarily because the people with context have to stop working and provide context to the new people.  This makes software frustrating, it never seems to deliver near the pace of our expectations. This isn’t software’s fault. The expectations are set by sales representatives (who earn commissions when you buy their software), quarterly earnings (if you’re a public company), and support teams who are desperate to please frustrated customers. Software expectations are the classic overpromise and underdeliver. When you’re talking about next year’s release on the trade show floor this year, when it really comes out twelve months from now –  it will already be a disappointment.

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Credits : Linux

Credits : Linux

 

Joining any new company—with an established culture and programming practices—can be a daunting experience. When I joined the Ansible team, I decided to write up the software engineering practices and principles I’ve learned over the years and to which I strive to work. This is a non-definitive, non-exhaustive list of principles that should be applied with wisdom and flexibility.

My passion is for testing, as I believe that good testing practices can both ensure a minimum quality standard (sadly lacking in many software products), and can guide and shape development itself. Many of these principles relate to testing practices and ideals. Some of these principles are Python-specific, but most are not. (For Python developers, PEP 8 should be your first stop for programming style and guidelines.)

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Credits : softwarequality.techtarget

Loki, an artificial intelligence who self-identifies as female, lives in a box on the floor of creator Brandon Wirtz’s apartment. Loki is a fanatical researcher who works for imaginary points and plays a lot of games like 20 Questions and I Spy. She is also capable of writing one million lines of code in Python in a single day.

Is she, or something like her, going to be your new colleague — or your office rival? That remains to be seen, but for the first time, experts are staking their positions.

At a time when technology is advancing so rapidly it’s empowering “citizen technologists” to tackle jobs once held only by highly trained specialists, it’s a fair question to ask what artificial intelligence in software development is going to mean for the future.

In 2017, AI skills count

Certainly demand for AI knowledge is skyrocketing. Data from Upwork, a site that matches employers with experienced freelancers around the world, shows artificial intelligence is the fastest growing experience set companies are looking for this year, and the second most requested skill overall. And software developers are already seeing some erosion in the value of their profession, even without AI: The rise of low-code/no-code platforms has made it possible for nearly anyone to create an application.

Whether nearly anyone includes a robot, however, remains controversial, even among those who are actively working with artificial intelligence in software development today. On one side are those who believe an AI will be better, stronger and faster at creating basic code and the only question that remains is when. Others think human elements like creativity will keep coding largely free of the Lokis of this world. But either way, this is clearly no time for developers to be complacent.

“The challenge is that so much of coding these days is practically a blue-collar job with commodity employees for the most part,” said Wirtz, CEO and founder of natural language engine developer Recognant in the San Francisco area. “Not everyone is a commodity coder. Are there people who come up with pure genius code? There are, and those people are always going to be in demand. But if you’re asking if AI is going to eat those [commodity coder] jobs, the answer is yes.”And some go even further. Douglas Rushkoff, a professor of media theory and digital economics at Queens College, City University of New York and author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity, spent the late ’90s telling everyone they should learn how to code. His take now: It’s too late.

“People who think learning to code is going to help them compete in the job landscape of the future have another thing coming,” he said flatly. He likened learning to code to learning the alphabet. “If you’re looking at the utility value of coding there’s no point. Computers and robots are going to beat us at this, and they’re going to create better code than people can.”

AI only as good as what humans put in it

All that said, artificial intelligence in software development is not as simple as it sounds. Patrick Meenan, a developer with 20 years’ experience who is actively working with AI, sees the possibilities but is quick to dismiss the idea that AI is going to replace developers any time soon.

For starters it’s important to remember that a machine learning system (one type of AI) is only as good as the training a human gives it. “We’re never going to be able to completely replace the rules-based stuff humans put into it,” Meenan said. And even then there are limits. “AI-based facial recognition systems can be fooled by people wearing masks. The AI can’t distinguish between that and a real human face. That’s a problem.”

But what Meenan does see is how pieces of AI, like machine learning, can become part of a developer’s repertoire. “AI is going to take on more functions and responsibility, but it’s not revolutionary,” he said. “This is going to give us a tool set of things we can use to do other things, like automation.”

To put it another way, AI is a technology developers can use to make them smarter, said Ari Weil, senior director of industry marketing at Akamai. “I think you’re going to see AI next to the developer in the sense of an assistant in the next 18 to 24 months,” he said. An “AI coach” could check a developer’s code and give nearly instant feedback, something that could dramatically speed up CI/CD workflows, Weil said. This isn’t a pipe dream — he’s met with an early stage startup working on just this idea.

‘AI really needs history’

But to use AI in a bigger way — say to predict how a new app will function under the demands of Black Friday — it’s going to need a tremendous amount of data points, something that’s not always easy to come up with, Meenan said. “It’s not going to know what a Black Friday launch problem looks like if it doesn’t have enough Black Friday data. AI really needs history. It’s not good at dealing with things it hasn’t seen before.”

What would Loki do in that situation? “Loki will tell me, ‘I don’t know how to do this thing, but I believe this is a code example,'” Wirtz said. “She will go out to GitHub and find some articles or examples. She can’t do it, but she can recognize code that someone put in an example. And then she asks me.”

That leaves him hopeful about the future of artificial intelligence in software development and somewhat reassured about the human role. “I think we’re getting very close to the time where we can say, ‘I’ve built this code, but it uses too much memory for some devices so Loki can take it and optimize it for each device.’ But we are a long ways from really trusting a business decision made by the AI. It can do the research, but we’re always going to need someone where the buck stops who decides what we’re going to do.”

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Credits : Betanews

Credits : Betanews

 

The quality of your company’s data can have a major effect on the software deployment, new research has claimed.

According to a report by Delphix, poor data quality is to blame for roughly 15 percent of software defects, with higher-level data a major factor in faster application development.

The report, entitled State of Test Data Management, also says that many IT firms admitted to compromising data quality, despite the fact that the ability to bring high-quality software to market is considered “critical” to business success.

Businesses are adopting agile and DevOps methodologies to improve innovation, but when it comes to Test Data Management, things get a little tricky. TDM is “prohibitively slow” and constrains app development times.

It takes almost four days and four people to provision an environment for testing and development purposes. Data privacy is usually compromised, and three quarters of respondents said engineers are often allowed access to unprotected sensitive information.

“Application development teams need fast and reliable test data for their projects. Yet many are constrained by the speed, quality, security, and costs of moving data across environments,” explains Iain Chidgey, VP of Sales International at Delphix. “Since it takes significant time and effort to move and manage data, developer environments can take days or weeks to provision. In turn, this places a strain on operations teams and creates time sinks, ultimately slowing down the pace of application delivery.”

But it’s not all gloom and doom, though. Almost half (45 percent) reported working on improving TDM, and 43 percent are confident their organization will improve on its TDM practices in the next 12 months.

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Credits : Forbes

Credits : Forbes

 

Is our boring future going to be moving from software development to tools configuration in big companies with big projects? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Mario Peshev, CEO of DevriX, on Quora:

A certain portion of the software development industry will become automated and obsolete to some extent—opening jobs for configurators, site builders, and the like.

That’s always been the case whenever various elements are repetitive and could be bundled together in order to optimize the workload and increase the efficiency of a company—especially given the competitive market out there.

That said, the software development industry isn’t going anywhere. There’s plenty of innovation required and tons of custom work that isn’t available yet or is not efficient for various organizations.

There are three main aspects that would still be valid and in demand over the next thirty to fifty years:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Performance
  3. Security

The flexibility aspect includes custom features, integrations, tailored admin, and user areas for better usability and adaptability for given industries. That covers both the front-facing part of software development, the engines running behind the scenes, and various tools interacting in between.

The performance problem is often valid whenever you try to bundle a few tools or solutions together for a high-scale solution. In order to cater for more markets, those aren’t flexible enough and load tons of data and code that slows the application drastically. That may also affect the stability of the application in the long run and be unbearable for solutions that handle a large volume of users or data.

In terms of security, there’s always been a misalignment between top-notch security and freedom of use and adjustability. The more secure an application is, the more steps or restrictions are introduced in the usability cycle. This means that an “off the shelf” solution will either be super secure, or usable and vulnerable (in general, that is). There are ways to work around those problems and build custom layers for backups, intrusion detection and prevention systems, proper logging, and adequate security without causing too much trouble for users while still being a preferred choice for them.

In addition to that, smart homes and new hardware requiring custom development are quite popular nowadays. This expands to robots, solutions requiring machine learning and artificial intelligence, enterprise solutions with custom programming languages for reporting, data management and profiling, analytics and statistics and whatnot.

Even if we consider a world with hundreds of thousands of tools, components, and libraries handling 90% of the development work out there, those would require millions of engineers who can support, extend, and integrate those solutions with others. Which is what software developers do. This will never be the case for large platforms used by many of the websites you visit on the daily basis (which are being continuously developed by millions of engineers as well).

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Credits : Thehindu

Credits : Thehindu

 

Explaining the reasons for the delay in announcing the results, Vice-Chancellor of the VTU Karisiddappa said the development of the university’s software took longer than expected. “Once the software was ready, teachers were unable to come for evaluation duty as classes for the next semester had started,” he said on Thursday.

Normally, the evaluation begins a week after the exams and the results are announced two weeks after the evaluation is completed.

Though the new examination system had led to confusion among students, the Vice-Chancellor said the system had helped the university to cut costs. “Each year, we would spend Rs. 14 crore on examination. This year, as we had our own infrastructure, we spent only Rs. 4.75 crore.”

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Credits : Thurrott

Credits : Thurrott

 

Microsoft announced today that its Xamarin University will start a free, five-part mobile development series on June 1. The best news? Charles Petzold will appear as a special guest.

“Join a new topic every Thursday,” Microsoft’s Mark Smith explains. “Topics range from learning how to get the most out of Visual Studio 2017’s latest features to building cloud-connected games to adding intelligence with Azure Machine Learning. You will get the training, samples, and advice you need to ship amazing apps using Visual Studio and C#. Every session is totally free, open to everyone, and Xamarin University experts will be on hand to answer all your questions live.”

The series breaks down like so:

Introduction to Xamarin.Forms for Visual Studio 2017. On June 1 at 9 am PDT/12 pm EDT, Xamarin University instructor Jesse Dietrichson will teach you how you can take your .NET skills mobile with Visual Studio 2017 and Xamarin.Forms.

Building games for iOS, macOS, and tvOS with Visual Studio and Azure. On June 8 at 9 am PDT/12 pm EDT, Xamarin University instructor René Ruppert will teach you how to create multiplayer games for the latest Apple devices, from iPhone to tvOS. Topics include SpriteKit basics, integrating with cloud back-end services, and best practices for sharing C# game logic, UI, and infrastructure code across platforms.

SkiaSharp Graphics for Xamarin.Forms. On June 15 at 9 am PDT/12 pm EDT, special guest and author Charles Petzold will teach you how to use SkiaSharp, which is powered by Google’s Skia graphics library, to extend your Xamarin.Forms apps with compelling 2D graphics.

Customizing Xamarin.Forms UI. On June 22 at 9 am PDT/12 pm EDT, Join Xamarin University training manager Rob Gibbens will teach you how to embed native Android and iOS controls into your Xamarin.Forms apps, while still sharing the majority of your code.

Introduction to Azure Machine Learning. On June 29 at 9 am PDT/12 pm EDT, Xamarin University instructor Jason DeBoever will teach you how to start integrating intelligence and predictive analytics into your apps. This session includes a look at Machine Learning fundamentals, Azure Machine Learning Studio, and how easily you can build your first “smart” mobile app.

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Credits : Eurekalert

Credits : Eurekalert

 

A new special section of Child Development shows how particularly diverse the use of mobile technology is among children and adolescents, and points to great complexity in the effects of that usage.

This special section of Child Development, edited by Dr. Zheng Yan and Dr. Lennart Hardell, adds important information to the research in this area. It includes articles from national and international scholars on the complicated impact mobile technology has on infants, toddlers, children, teens and parents.

“There are nearly three billion children and adolescents in the world,” said Yan. “Most of them were, are, or will be various types of mobile technology users, interacting with and being influenced by mobile technology in numerous ways.”

The articles in this special section, “Contemporary Mobile Technology and Child and Adolescent Development,” consider the effects on a wide range of outcomes including:

  • Risks of using mobile phones while driving, walking, and bicycling (Stavrinos)
  • Risks of radiation in mobile phone use for brain development (Hardell; Sage)
  • Effects of mobile technology on cognitive control and attention in contexts such as parenting and early brain development and (McDaniel; Li; McClure)
  • Risks of sexting /increased risky behavior through peer pressure and social media interaction (Rice; Sherman)
  • Effects of mobile technology use on sleep, mood, and mental health (Vernon; George/Odgers)
  • Potential for monitoring children’s locations/children’s attitudes towards security and monitoring through GPS tracking (Gelman)
  • Increased connectivity across spaces and cultures (Shapka; Coyne)

Findings across the articles in the special section point to a range of outcomes including areas where mobile technology may pose potential dangers, and areas where development may be supported. An important example is the work summarized by Dr. Lennart Hardell concerning radiation and brain development. In terms of potential benefits to development, mobile technology offers new, unique ways for young children to maintain contact with family members not physically present.

“Today’s mobile technologies have become a very unique and powerful influence on child and adolescent development,” said Yan. “Its use is very personal for children and adolescents, occurs almost anywhere and anytime, and integrates telephone, television, video games, personal computers, the Internet, and many new technologies into a portable device. The evidence indicates complex impacts on young mobile technology users.”

SRCD was established in 1933 by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. The Society’s goals are to advance interdisciplinary research in child development and to encourage applications of research findings. Its membership of more than 5,700 scientists is representative of the various disciplines and professions that contribute to knowledge of child development. In addition to Child Development, SRCD also publishes Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Child Development Perspectives, and the SRCD Social Policy Report.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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Credits : Ign

Credits : Ign

 

The Wall Street Journal claims that The Legend of Zelda will follow in the footsteps of Animal Crossing, Super Mario and Fire Emblem as the next big name Nintendo franchise heading to your mobile device. Although not much information was proffered, TWS said the Zelda mobile game would follow the Animal Crossing app that is reportedly being released in the latter half of 2017 after several delays. The Legend of Zelda on mobile will be developed with DeNA.

Nintendo originally promised it would launch 5 mobile games by March 2017, however only three came to fruition before that date: Miitomo, Super Mario Run, and Fire Emblem Heroes. Shigeru Miyamoto said that while the plan was to release 5 games all along, “market conditions and the development process for each title” has removed one unknown game – in all likelihood this Zelda title – from the release window.

Mysteriously, the report also mentioned that Pokemon Co. was planning a new Pokemon ‘card-game app’, with no further detail.

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