Thursday, January 15, 2015

Search Presentations on AgileLearner

It's hard to believe how nicely has grown since its creation in October 2013. There are so many presentations that it may turn into a challenge to pick the one you like to listen now. I've made several improvements to the site over the Christmas break.

Several improvements were done in the area of usability, the site is more responsive, while I've worked hard to retain the simplicity.

Based on feedback I received, I've also added a search feature to find free videos. Here's the link for that.

If you want to take a look at the list of all the presentations, visit this all presentations link or all by date link.

I've got some new features, and a lot of new presentations, in the works. Exciting times.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thoughts through Tweets

This is a collection of some thoughts that I've expressed over tweets...

Using profanity doesn't make us expressive, it simply shows we're vulgar and lacking.

I think, history will say, Scala & Clojure are to FP as C++ is to OOP.

"safety" in type safety is as comforting as "security" in social security.

Design patterns are the cliches of software design.

I've found intuition and gut feeling to be the most useful tools for design so far.

I don't want my project stakeholders to be guests on my projects, I want them to have a "skin in the game," investing their time & effort.

Learning a lib, a lang is easy. To improve code & change development style is hard-requires discipline & great self awareness.

"My boss is not convinced" is euphemism for "I'm not convinced, but I'm in denial (& it feels good to blame it on the boss)."

Relying heavily on some of our key strengths sometimes tends to be our major weakness.

I prefer a healthy dose of skepticism over naive optimism or incessant pessimism.

As engineers, we're good at telling boss what won't work. We should learn to explain what'd work & how it'll help the business.

Jumping into Scrum without practices to promote sustainable dev is like jumping into marriage with no real commitments.

There's usually a point in time when a project can be turned to success, but that opportune moment is rarely at the end.

Each time someone hears the words "best practice" God kills a few neurons.

You know you work for an enterprise when you dial long distance to schedule guy in the next room to fix your projector.

If work is not "having fun" you're likely holding on to a stinking job than being in pursuit of a passionate profession.

When getting into TDD, be prepared not to learn, but to unlearn; the more experience writing code, the more unlearning there is.

Architecture for a product is like salt for a meal–essential, must be in right proportion, & can't be self-serving.

Shaving head, losing shirt, walking barefoot doesn't make us Gandhi; at best only a cheap imitation of a 1/2 naked fakir.

A professional who doesn't learn to fail, fails to learn.

Given a choice between code that's simply sensible vs. hypothetically extensible, I prefer the former any day.

Let's be driven by inspiration, and not desperation, to attain that success that we can relish.

The words static and synchronized are menace to TDD.

Be opinionated, but unbiased. "The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind" William Blake.

Continuing to use miserable developer tool is like being complacent in an abusive relationship-why not get out for a better life?

They say "end does not justify the means." But, in agile development, do we expect means that justify the end?

"We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself." Lloyd Alexander

The irony of our industry, we brave to automate the world, yet we fear automating our projects.

IMHO, a great talk/book has both high information density & velocity; how much quality info is given & its pace.

If your company wants you to follow only standard practices, they're asking you to follow the path to mediocracy.

Dear company, owning code your programmers can't understand is worst than losing the code.

Zinnser: "Easy writing makes hard reading; hard writing makes easy reading" Not just writing, it's apt for coding.

If your code is not testable, it simply means your design sucks.

Ignorance is a tumor, remove early.

The only little predictable aspect of our lives is its unpredictability.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Aristotle.

In Java, you work for the compiler; in Scala the compiler works for you.

Trying to release product fast by compromising quality is like trying to lose weight fast by smoking.

"Methods to gain wisdom: by reflection (noblest), by imitation (easiest), and by experience (bitterest)"—source unknown.

What's the difference between a mafia and the government? Mafia doesn't require you to do paper work for the money they take away from you.

Dear developer, pride not developing complex software; strive instead to develop a capable and useful software.

Two sets of people scare me: those who can't follow instructions and those who can only follow instructions.

A good programmer should never fear throwing away code.

A framework that's your darling today is the one you'll hate in two years (make that four if you're a fanboy).

Some people teach me how to live; others how not to. I learn from both. Thankfully, however, each day I get to meet more of the former.

My mentors did not change the word, but hey they changed my world. Be a mentor.

You can't be Agile if your code sucks

If you think a piece of code is unusable, design for reuse to remove all doubt.

Complain to the one who can fix, praise to the one who can benefit.

It's not a mistake that the design has to change, it's a mistake not to make it feasible and cost effective to evolve (within reason).

"Yes" is nice to hear, "No" not so much, but "Yes" followed by inaction is the most difficult to deal with.

Decades ago I wrote bad code without knowing, today there's no doubt anymore, what a difference :)

If programmers are like (aspiring) musicians, some create music, others merely noise.

Stuff we create deserves checkin, not when it's perfect, but so we can evolve it fearlessly.

Checkins also serve as a form of information radiator.

What surprises me the most is not the realization I was wrong, but the strength of the conviction I had before that.

It's funny that most of us think the world has to change, but rarely think twice about ways to change ourselves.

Learning's like peeling the onion, you have to go through layers, & it involves tears...of frustration and then of joy.

Sometimes the hardest part of solving a problem is realizing and accepting the simple solution that's been there in front of you all along!

Depth of knowledge + ability to communicate + with a touch of humor + engaging the audience == a great presentation

If there's one thing we can learn, it's that we can't achieve desired results, leave alone perfection, in one try; results evolve.

hope is contagious

Success comes not from agreement, but from alignment.

There are no good people and bad people, three are only good behaviors and bad behaviors through the eyes of a context.

A key design skill we need to develop is the ability to discern accidental complexity from inherent complexity.

Theory is to programmers as vegetables are to children, essential but you can't just feed them bland.

Why do companies waste time asking questions in interview? Ask candidates to do real work, that's what you're hiring for.

A great business touches many pockets, a great person touches many hearts.

Passion is necessary but not sufficient; passion in the absence of hard work is like a seed with no soil.

Knowledge is a wealth that grows as you give.

If all we care about is speed, be prepared to end up fast in the ditch. Agile's about both speed & direction or relevance.

When problem solving, half the solution, an essential skill, is to eliminate unnecessary details.

I love it when someone, instead of complaining, takes time to research & sends a solution to problem. Lots of respect for folks like this.

The only constant is that Heraclitus quote about the only constant.

I admire the human quest to create new powerful devices, so fellow humans have options like never before to play solitaire.

Every moment, every interaction is an opportunity to learn, some teach us what we could be, other what not to be.

Greater the ignorance, larger seems to be the conviction.

Languages we learn should fundamentally change the way we think, challenge, shake the roots we've come to believe & rely upon.

Seems to be nothing more fulfilling & motivating than writing a todo list on a piece of paper & striking items off as they're completed.

The effort is not in writing, it's really in rewriting.

Rather than searching for agile practices to follow, pick a problem worth fixing & look for ways to realize that.

I find it helpful to understand the economic reasons for actions and the economic impact of the change.

TDD is a skill, it involves a decent amount of unlearning, relearning, and reevaluation. Let's not expect to get good at it instantly.

Sure TDD requires discipline, its a way of thinking, and all that, but I feel programmers need a sense of awareness to benefit from it.

The rigor in development must be in proportion to the cost and consequences of failure.

Languages are like vehicles, they all help us get around, some better than others. Travel on a few, based on the needs.

Curiosity - it's the pathway from good to great.

Everyone's complaining about someone, so collectively we all suck. Now that we got that figured, can we do something useful?

It's perfectly safe, no one has ever died of an extra act of kindness.

How others acts is not in our control, but how we react is entirely; We have the right of way on the civil parkway.

Quietness is a state of mind that can be experienced even in a noisy environment.

Most humans seem to be much better at critiquing than creating. We can channel this wisely thru feedbacks for a greater good.

It's much more fun to laugh with people than to laugh at them.

Does anyone keep track of their MTBYS - Mean Time Between Yak Shaving .

Conflicts & war arises, not due to respect for one's belief, religion, group, gender, or sect, but from the lack of it for the others.

My marriage has matured to the level that my wife and I can now fluently communicate... using airport codes.

Number one rule of collective ownership, we should never get into merge hell... we should only give it... with frequent check ins.

Those feeling strong that an organization must change, seriously start & follow the answers to question "how can I change."

Kicking ourselves often out of our comfort zones is a safe way to broaden that zone.

No matter where we reside, lets avoid living in the state of denial.

A better measure of audience or colleagues is not the answers they give, but the questions they ask.

A great leader, rather than instructing, motivates people to realize their organization's goals.

The first step in effecting change is to give it a fighting chance, most people seems to be convinced system's too rooted to change.

Each of us is living a dream, we just have to check often that it's ours and still ours.

Can't pause the passage of time, but every moment's an opportunity to turn growing old into a fruitful act of growing up

Sure there're so many things we can't change, but let's improve things_ however small_that's glaring at us and we 'can' change.

Good habits don't come from simply talking about them, but honed by sincere, disciplined, continuous, and deliberate practice.

Each day seems to be a realization of this inequality: Know < things forgotten << ignorant

a functional language in the hands of a dysfunctional team is like my junk in the hands of the TSA-it's not solving the real problem.

It's really not about what we learn, but how we learn it. So much of what we know builds and feeds on each other.

Failure is the stepping stone of success, but look up frequently to ensure the stones lead us in the right path & not in circles.

Speaking and writing, like any activity, gets better once we begin to enjoy it.

Use of the word "they" in the same sentence as "build" or "test" is a sign the team needs to improve the ways.

So much code being developed "design by accident" rather than "design with intent."

Agile in the absence of disciple and commitment is like marriage in the absence of love and trust - not sustainable.

We all want to create simple design, but the act of creating such a design is not that simple.

The mindset I prefer is to have a mind that's not set in ways.

You know it's time to stop and get back to important stuff when you hear yourself say "aren't these yaks cute."

Experience is not the passage of time but a measure of how our efforts have critically altered the ways we think and act.

Each generation faces atrocities of madmen & their group of thugs, only to prove that kindness & courage of the common hardworking prevails.

For a programmer, a day without a yak to shave is like a day without sunshine.

Some are too eager to teach lessons, not realizing, the student for lessons is not someone else, but the deserving inner self.

When will the software industry realize that the only true measure of estimates is in units of yak shavings.

I admire the innate resilience of programmers, without it the first set of compiler errors would have put an end to the field.

It's been discovered the darkest place in the world is located in the state of denial.

An important skill for programmers to develop is their sense for code and design smells, especially in their own code.

Best practices are like pills, targeted prescription with expiration date. Not wise to swallow them, ignoring the label.

learn to practice, practice to learn.

Everyone has three ages: the calendar age, the how-I-feel age, and how-others-feel based on the maturity they display.

writing is throwing the ingredients together, rewriting is seeing it turn into a sauce.

There are no good people and bad people, only developed minds and developing minds.

The weak put up with bureaucratic nonsense, the brave fight it, the wise simply work around it, never taking eyes of the goals to realize.

Having observed multiple enterprises I've come to realize that "stage-gate" is where their process and productivity goes to die.

you are the stories you tell.

A sense of prolonged professional comfort is a sign of setting into complacence.

The more I interact with organizations, the more I realize how important competent people are to the core of their success.

It's not much of a charm, but emotional stability and willingness to make things work, are essential qualities for customer-interacting jobs.

The most difficult to learn aren't the ones that add to our knowledge, but those that demand changes to our habits and behaviors.

convention over configuration is awesome when we know and can remember the conventions.

Reboot seems to be a proven solution, not just for windows, but from treadmills to airplanes!

it's interesting to meet organizations where management wants devs. to create quality code, but devs feel their management won't let them.

We looked at this problem and said we can solve it using a pool of threads. Now we have a pool of problems.

I really hate being distracted from my distractions.

It's quite clear how poor my design abilities were 10 years ago. What's not clear is how it sucks today, what I'll tell 10 years from now.

Weak can turn strong with diligence while the strong may turn weak from complacency.

Our field has fundamentally transformed in the last two decades, from devs fighting DLL hell to fighting assembly and jar hell.

It's quite dangerous when the experts quit listening and insists on the world accepting their dogmas and prescriptions.

Those who can't spend time and effort on automated feedbacks have to expend a greater magnitude on the aftermath.

If they hear you say "change" they ask you "Why?" If they see you succeed, they ask you "How?"

Have scientist figured this phenomenon that slows time to a crawl when you get on the treadmill?

You know it's time to take a break when you're fixated to review and fix code printed on the back of someone's T-shirt.

Good communication skill is not just having a nice fluency of words but must be accompanied by fervorous good attitude.

Software development is not an act of spewing code but a balanced art and economics of evolving and refactoring just enough code.

I fear my children becoming programmers one day, and start to ask questions, and discover my dark past—coding with COM and CORBA.

It appears, most of the "we can't convince our management" comments come from those who've not taken the time/effort to convince themselves.

Code smell is a wonderful metaphor (coined by @KentBeck); the more we put up with bad smell, the sooner we impair our senses to recognize.

The first step in paying technical debt is to check if we're actively acquiring avoidable new debt each day.

Professionalism is an act where we openly compliment and critique our ideas in a civil manner and end the day with a cheerful handshake.

There's cure for ignorance, and even incompetency, but all is lost in the presence of complacency.

A good learning should not merely fill our brains with more knowledge, but influence a change in our behavior, so we can achieve more.

A perfect way to fail is to be bent on making things perfect instead of valuable.

The biggest challenge is not the availability of tools or techniques, but the strong resistance to explore, experiment, & adapt.

It's critical to know if a low cost service is a result of higher efficiency or lower quality.

Son: "Dad can I have it?" Me: "302" Son (to my wife): "Mom?" Wife: "404"

So many of us confuse listening with agreeing, but they both are quite orthogonal.

There are but two constants, the first, as Heraclitus said, is change, and the second is the inborn human resistance to it.

One of the biggest services a mentor can provide is help people quickly get out of their comfort zone.

I am, but a work in progress, being debugged and evolved every day of my life, with a few bugs in me fixed, and a few new ones added.

Automated test is an act of self discipline where we're willing to invest time now for a greater saving later. Reaping that benefit today.

I think it takes some courage to invest in ourself.

Worry not if the American dream is dying, instead wake up to realize your dreams.

Asking someone to comment poorly written code is like asking them to take a higher interest loan to play their current debt.

Create fast should not imply drop quality, but to focus on the most essential features and business value.

Why do people speed like crazy on the roads and stand still on escalators?

Passion is the alarm that wakes you up, so you can go realize your dreams.

Let's give variables the names they deserve.

Expect a good mentor to serve as a ladder than as an escalator or an elevator/lift.

Each of us have two personalities, one before we have our first caffeinated drink of the day, and a gentler one after.

Let's judge code, not people.

There's often a tradeoff between more vs. better of something.

Ruby: 'Hey dude, we're about the same age :snicker' ~ Java: "eh, you're as cool as you think?{grunt}" ~ Lisp: (damn juveniles)

The problem with those of us who strive for perfection may be we believe we're perfect in defining perfection.

It's not the syntax or the idioms that we should pickup first in programming, but a sense for code smells.

My estimations skills are only surpassed by my ability to produce bug free software.

Giving in to the fear of failure is the biggest of all failures.

10% of the time, we write ugly code for performance reasons, the other 90% of the time, we write ugly code to be consistent.

Software is never written, it's only evolved.

If we ever figure a way to time travel, I will go back and stop that dude who put space in the directory name "Program Files"

Exercising is hard, but it makes the rest of the day so much easy.

The most important investment we make each day is on ourself, for if we don't trust, how silly to expect others to.

The irony of software dev_a field where most practitioners claim things change real fast, and, yet vehemently resist that very change.

Martin Luther King effected change, not by yelling America sucks, but by telling the dreams he had for her better future.

Oh, the pattern name you're looking for is "coding in desperation."

So many of us are eager to find an answer, but without knowing the question.

Instead of hearing "we're agile!" I'd like to hear "we're successful and here's why."

A programmer's command of the computers is in proportion to how often, and how comfortable, they're on the command line.

An expert is shaped, not by all the answers they've learned, but by the questions they've not been embarrassed to ask.

My days would be so much better if I don't have to constantly deal with… myself.

In programming, the variable flag is pronounced "smell."

The problem with most of us is not the one of misconception, but the one of conviction, that what have it all figured out.

Jealousy's a feeling we don't wanna work hard to attain what others have. Inspiration motivates us to attain & exceed. Cultivate the latter.

change is easy when we change often.

I like meeting someone negative and snobbish from time to time, they remind me, and make me thankful, how wonderful rest of the world is.

Let's not confuse experience & comfortable. One requires constantly getting out of the comfort zone, the other settles in.

programmers should care about warning as they care about errors.

Flying worldwide has given me insights on how reservation systems handle concurrency. It's called "yell out the passenger's seat number."

Ego is like cholesterol---there are good parts and bad parts.

The word to define the behavior of postponing to the last minute is not agile. It's called unorganized, lack of discipline.

Education is not a pursuit of a degree but the elevation and broadening of ones mind.

In programming, exceptions have become anything but.

I don't mind people talking to me when I'm working, as long as they don't expect me to actually listen. :)

I realize I can never convince anyone. At the best, I can merely lay down good reasons to help others convince themselves.

More advices are given than taken.

We may get better results if, rather than appraising employees' performance, managers focus on nurturing a good team culture.

It's an irony that fields where rapid feedback's hard are longing while the field where it's largely affordable's wants all up front.

You've shown what great things a simple man with discipline and perseverance can truly achieve. You live in our memories. #Mandela

Few things are satisfying as literally seeing tears of joy fill the eyes of someone, at the moment of their hard earned success.

There's no excuse worst than the one we give to ourself.

Quality of a presentation = inspiration * information

One of the easiest way to reduced quality of any activity is to cram it all on or near the due date.

We have no way to influence the state of the world we enter, but, I hope, we can do something good about it before we exit.

It's better to be an exceptional you than an average imitation of someone else you consider exceptional.

I don't take new year resolutions, I prefer more frequent, everyday resolutions. It's lot easier and fun to fail each day than once a year.

On any given day, I meet two sets of people: those living to die and those dying to live. The latter is so much fun to hang around with.

Every design, I bet, looked like a good idea at that time, however long ago and short lived that time period was.

Any seemingly good set of practices may yield better results when used contextually instead of prescriptively.

Experience is the passage through time where we gain the ability to look at our own past and say "what the heck was I thinking then?"

I hear that TDD is mainstream, most organizations follow Threat Driven Development.

In the digital age, developing the skills to ask the right questions is more important than having the right answers.

Success is a garland of small failures tied together with a thread of perseverance.

Teaching is not only about helping students acquire knowledge, but help them pick up better learning skills and work habits.

It's unintelligent to repeat the mistakes of yesterday. Get creative, go make new ones for today.

Trust is like hard earned wealth, we have to work each day to build it and use caution not to lose it all in one foolish act.

I think that authors who write more than one book suffer from short term memory. Why else would they take on the pain yet again? :)

What's being spoken is often not what's being heard.

It's not about fixing a bug, but learning how things actually work.

A good mission in life is not to rush to perform what others do, but fill the gaps in a passionate area where others won't.

The hardest step in solving any problem seems to be asking for help.

Functional programming is cool, but the real charm is in what it makes easy—lazy evaluation.

A design lesson I've learned over the years: behavior over state.

Most of us have to fix just one thing - attitude - rest of it gets fixed fairly easily.

When coding, null should be pronounced smell.

I really like TV... turned off.

agility is about delivering value early without compromising a reasonable quality of the product or the heath of the developers.

I don't prepare for talks, the talks prepare me—there's so much learning that happens.

Strive to be an informed constructive critique and a contributor, not a troll.

Know thy audience.

The best gift I've received from anyone is the warmth of their company and the lasting memory of good times with them.

Sorry, you have to wait, I will get to complaining about your flaws as soon as I fix mine.

Never deprive people the pleasure of enlightenment through discovery.

At some point we've to realize that effecting change in an organization start with us overcoming our own fears.

Efficiency is attained not by doing tasks better or faster, but by avoiding those that shouldn't be done in the first place.

always fun when in a room with two people, one telling the code is terse while the other pointing it's verbose.

There are only two options: adapt or perish. The first one's really fun once we break the inertia.

Complain as much as possible, but armed with facts, not with prejudice.

Let IDEs minimize typing not remove thinking.

Being content with available language/lib capabilities is as dangerous as being ignorant of them, given how nascent our field really is.

Every day is an opportunity to refactor our minds.

A good code should read like a story, not like a puzzle.

History bestowed us with Lincoln, Gandhi, MLK, Theresa, Mandela,... wish the world was truly blessed so these heroes were not needed.

what if we quit coding and start expressing?

The most rewarding, yet the hardest, part of writing seems to be the willingness to remove words to strengthen the sentences.

Values are not what we teach about, but the ones we live by.

It's not the failures that leads to success but the perseverance to apply the lessons learned.

A maintainable code is a gift we give ourselves for the future.

Most of what we reject is not due to the lack of viability of an idea, but one of fear from unfamiliarity with it.

Lesson this morning: Sometimes if it seems hard it may not need an added thrust but an extra thought.

The first human who turned noise into music is the true genius.

If there's is a lesson life has thought me, it's that there's no single way to ever look at anything.

Education shouldn't be an attempt to fill heads with knowledge, but an act of maturing minds to continuously learn & adapt.

Let's not compromise quality in favor of quantity.

I'm honored to have great students who teach me well.

If it's getting hard to effect change, chances are the organization may be stifled by a big circle of finger pointing.

It's quite ironic, but anything (tool, API, library,...) with the word 'simple' in its name rarely is.

You won't pick dentist based on their "money back guarantee." Don't pick a vendor based on strong SLA, but on reputation & relationship.

You doing the right things today is a good way to earn a sincere 'thanks' from the future you.

It's amazing how technology has evolved. We've gone from calling the wrong person to texting the wrong person.

You don't need anyone's permission to be professional.

When that urge to comment strikes, see how to express that thought in code instead of comment.

People often are not as convinced about things as they think they are.

If only we could compare the cost of quality with the cost of not having it...

Poor quality is like crime, there will always be someone willing to commit it. But, we can hope & nurture, so more of us have better values.

Speed without discipline is the fastest way to wreckage.

Tools or techniques used blindly do not create good design, programmers being conscious, making good decisions, applying right tools, do.

Some organizations try to breed programmers in captivity; they can't survive outside of their frameworks or IDEs.

Treating someone nice is not an act of respect but of self-respect.

Most programmers seems to be bothered by syntax; get past that soon, the real scare is in the semantics.

There are two kinds of people we run into each day: those we work with and those we work around.

indirection is the ultimate sophistication in programming.

The four uses of frameworks: reuse, confuse, misuse, and overuse.

Somewhere in the transition from childhood to adulthood, quite a few humans go from "I don't know" to "I don't care to know."

A sentence with "I don't like..." should not end in period, but continue to suggest why and offer some constructive alternatives.

I know for certain that the rest of my day can only be better, for I am starting by writing a regular expression.

It's little things that make a big difference in the hearts.

Geeks complaining about technology is far more pleasant to hear than folks complaining about people.

The lessons from history are filled with wonders, from what the heck was wrong with people, to awe about small group's heresies & tenacity.

After traveling thru much of this world I've discovered there are only four major religions: cricket, soccer, football, and hockey.

After roaming several parts of this world I conclude there's actually a universal form of expression. It's called graffiti.

Confusion may arise in the presence of complexity but it also appears in the case of unfamiliarity.

I've taken a few decades to acquire great wealth that's in the form of friendship with some beautiful minds.

Coding in dream is fun.

We are but victims of poor designs.

The net effect of complexities and ceremonies is multiplicative, not additive.

A true appreciation/understanding of a language emerges when we dig into its semantics, not just its syntax

We can't make legacy code better by writing more of the same way; it needs change in behavior and practice.

The biggest impediment to learning is the reluctance to interact. Good work cultures break such barriers, making it safe to communicate.

When I was young, I was told there's heaven and hell. As I got older, I learned that to be true and both coexist here on earth.

When learning new constructs I wish more developers ask "how do we test it" instead of asking "how do we debug this"?

aspiration without perspiration --> unfulfilled dreams.

Often questions seem more interesting than answers.

t seems like writing the introduction is the hardest part of writing a book. Coming up with a good subtitle, the second hardest.

automated tests are but one of many means to an end—rapid useful feedback. If there are better easier ways in a context, go for it.

Until we've fully immersed in both an exceptionally static typed & a superb dynamic typed lang, we have no rights for opinions on typing.

what makes both writing and coding so interesting and challenging, at the same time, is there's simply no one way to express.

sometimes it takes years to realize how suckish some practices are.

When did presentation get attached to slides instead of communication?

If employees are reluctant to express their view, and discuss issues, an organization has a bigger problem to tackle first.

Better feedback comes, not from demos, but active use of an application while being developed.

It's important to learn from mistakes quickly, so we can move on to make new ones.

Writing code is a lot of fun, but throwing out code is pure bliss.

I'm shocked that they'd actually number a flight 404, don't complain if no geeks board.

When selecting a language, library, or a framework, it's vital to evaluate the ability to automate tests at various levels.

A field improves, not from corporate mandates, but when its practitioners grow up to act professionally.

Nothing exposes ones ignorance of a topic than an attempt to teach it.

Java came late to the party, but they brought great desserts

Life's too short to be complaining about things we can't also help improve.

I really like the sense of humor my friends have. They endorsed me on Linkedin for XML.

I like going to foreign lands so I can learn first hand how ridiculously I've been pronouncing their town names.

A poor performing unreadable code is hard to cure on both fronts.

What a teacher teaches is far less important that what a student learns and how it's applied.

There's humor in life, wherever we look.

Let not the current employment restrict professional and personal interest, growth, and freedom of expression outside of work.

Don't turn your problems into your customers' problems.

The true pleasures of meeting someone is hearing their stories of life and their perspectives.

Every day is bright, as I find someone random, who's better than me in some way, and quietly helps me improve myself.

Both in coding and writing, experience takes us from the anxious state of trying to figure out "what to write" to "what to remove."

Frequent travelers are never in jet lag, they're only in denial.

A programmer though "I could solve this problem using a monad," now has a sequence of problems.

When we focus on what we don't really need, it takes away time, money, effort, and focus from where it's really needed.

When we compromise quality for speed, we end up losing both.

I feel like all my code is like Benjamin Button, from the way it's created to how it turns with each refactoring.

By nature we're wired to mistake familiar as simple and the unfamiliar as complex.

A bright day will come when software developers treat errors as normal instead of as exceptions.

Nothing helps make things fall in place better than an approaching deadline.

I call on restaurants to reduce serving size. You will help reduce waste and waist.

"temp" is the name of a variable that's crying for its dignity and recognition.

There comes a point in time when it's more prudent to deprecate a language than deprecating some of it's features.

Experience is developing the courage to realize we were wrong so many time over the years.

I've come to realize the struggle to write automated tests come from lack of understanding & poor design than lack of tools.

Poor quality code is a reflection of lack of respect we carry for what we do, often with out realizing it.

self-realization is the best realization.

The easiest way to learn a new language quickly is to keep learning new languages. It raises our bar so unfamiliar turn to similarities.

What we say is a reflection of the subject, how we say it is a reflection of us.

Life, love, and time - can't think of anything more precious than that.

I have a feeling that each task I strike off on my todo list gives birth to a few more tasks.

A good code invites the reader.

If we're in a course, conference, or a workshop and we stare at our own monitors, that's called being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

It's hard to effect change when the key participants do not truly understand its impacts and benefits.

A good professional places quality over quantity.

It's through struggles and failures that real learning happens.

The hardest things to explain are the ones we've not understood well.

Mind, the tricks you play!

Family: A small group sent to planet earth to be brutally honest about you.

Nothing brings comforting smile out of a C++ programmer as an unhealthy dose of type coercion.

A sense of urgency should help us create relevant things with better quality, not lot of things with poor quality.

when nothing else works…. reboot

No timeboxed activity that improves our learning and influences steps forward can be a waste of time. It's a necessary investment.

When I hear someone say "hi baby" I wonder if the subject is addressed that way for possible cuteness or probable behavior.

Three levels of programming competency: "it's all magic" -> "here's how it works" -> "here's how it should work"

Programming with locks is not concurrent programming, it should be called congestion programming.

Concise vs terse: short enough, transparent, easy to read -vs- short, opaque, hard to understand. Let's favor concise, not terse code.

Ah, caught myself creating a Rube Goldberg machine, thankfully sanity kicked in.

Perseverance is not the determination to stick with the current plan of action but the will to adapt so we can reach our goals.

I'd rather hear a "no" than a "yes" followed by inaction.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Working around the lack of zip function in Java 8

Most languages that offer higher order functions seem to include the zip function in the library. Java 8 initially (during early release) had a zip function in the Streams class, but that class was later removed.

The zip function is useful to combine two streams into one using some operation. For example, if we have two list of numbers, we could create a single list of the sum of numbers in the same position from both lists. Likewise we could create a product or their difference. Alternately, we could create a result list where the elements are a pair of values from the two lists.

Even though there is no zip function in Java 8, we can use the map function to achieve the goal. Let's take a look at an example.

package com.agiledeveloper;

import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.List;

public class Sample {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    final List numbers1 = Arrays.asList(1, 2, 3, 4);
    final List numbers2 = Arrays.asList(10, 20, 30);

          0, Math.min(numbers1.size(), numbers2.size()))
        .mapToObj(i -> numbers1.get(i) + numbers2.get(i))

When we try to zip two collections, it's quite possible that the collections are not of equal size. In the above code we ignore any excess element from the larger list. We iterate through the range of values in the shorter list, and combine the elements using the + function in the mapToObject function. We could have used map instead of mapToObj but using the latter gives us the option to return something other than an integer, may be a pair of values or just about anything else.

Here's the output from the previous code:

While it would be nice to have a zip function, not all is lost as we can implement the logic using the existing functions.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Running in TextMate

When giving presentations I often use TextMate to quickly write some code and show results as tooltip. This makes for a quick feedback loop that helps to learn about a piece of code.

Quite a few developers have emailed or tweeted asking details on how to set up TextMate for displaying results in that simple way. What better way to explain than through a short presentation.

While most of the presentations on require paid subscription, some presentations including Running in TextMate are viewable at no charge. If you're using TextMate and/or curious how I run the code during my presentations, please check out the short presentation.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Agile Learner - learning path visualization

Many thanks to Giampaolo Trapasso (@trapo1975) for creating a visualization of learning path for presentations at AgileLearner.

Here are the dependency graphs he created for various topics:
Java 8

He generously offered to keep the dependencies updated as new presentations are posted. Appreciate his passion to learn and to share.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Server Down for Maintenance—Time to Address the Health Issue

June 10th, 2014:
"You don't look like someone who's hurting" I heard recently. People who heard me speak in 2014 most likely will say the same. But one person observed different. She has seen me speak for a number of years, but this year she said, "What's wrong, something is different, where's the usual Venkat?"

Close friends and family know things are different. They saw me twist, turn, groan and gasp, and see my eyes well up due to pain.

On January 5, 2014 I woke up with sharp pain on my shoulders. The next few days I had excruciating pain in my right upper arms, that spread down to the fingers. The pain reduced relatively over the next few weeks, but it started getting bad again in March and became worse in April.

After several examinations it was determined that the pain was a result of damage to two of my cervical disks. Multiple MRIs confirmed that. I have been in consultation with doctors and neurosurgeons regarding this.

I have been on some strong medicines and painkillers since January. I have taken more medicines in 2014 than in the entire rest of my life so far. I have also had more pain during this time than rest of my life so far.

During this time I have travelled well over 120,000 miles, spoke in a number of conferences (, offered courses for clients, and did some consulting work.

I swallowed pills right before getting on stage, to reduce the pain long enough to give a talk. I would rush back to my room between talks to take another set of pills or to rest my neck and arm, to relieve the pain.

Unfortunately the medicines have not helped. I have lost strength in my right arm and can't lift my backpack anymore. My fingers have gone numb and feels awkward and painful when I move.

It is time for me to devote my full attention to fix my neck and recover. I am trying a series of epidural injections around my neck. The one I took two weeks ago did not help. I have one more scheduled for the next week. If that does not work, I am preparing to go into surgery on July 8th. The doctors say that I would need at least six weeks to recover.

My last conference talks will be at Uberconf at the end of June and my last course, until I recover, will be a Groovy & Grails course for a client in Des Moines the first week of July.

I have cancelled all my conference speaking and courses from July 7th to August 31st. I am sorry to those to whom I confirmed and have to back out now. I am looking forward to taking care of this health issue and rebounding by September.

Until then.

Update June 30th, 2014:
Thanks for all the well wishes, I appreciate your concerns, advices, and suggestions.

I took the second doze of the epidural injection on June 18th. The pain has come down considerably. I have regained strength in my arms. The intense numbness from the right wrist to the digits, however, continues.

In the mean time, I further consulted with doctors and am quite eager to avoid or at least postpone surgery. I came across an alternate treatment where using a specialized machine they perform non-surgical disc decompression. A computer system gently pulls the neck to create negative pressure so, in theory,  the discs fall back in place. The doctor who recommended it has low confidence but suggested I try it as a stop gap measure.

This treatment requires being on the machine at least 30 minutes a day for at least 25 days within a six week period. I am starting that treatment on July 7th. I will be spending most days of July at the clinic for this and at least half of August. Really hoping this will fix the issue. Hope is such a nice
thing! :)

Update August 1st, 2014:

I've spent several days in July on a disc decompression machine which applies negative pressure to pull the cervical discs back in place. That combined with the epidural injection I took in June seem to be helping quite a bit. The numbness in the right wrist and fingers is gradually decreasing each day. Some days are better than others, but overall improving. I am still dealing with some pain, but it is far less than it was a few months ago. I am confident a few more weeks in treatment will make things better.

I plan to continue the treatment for the next two weeks, taking some rest and starting some exercise to build up strength. Crazy travel schedule is just around the corner, gotta get ready for it!

Update September 1st, 2014:

Sincere thanks to everyone for their support and well wishes.

I have competed the treatment. There is some numbness in my right fingers (the doctor says that may linger for another six months), but I have not had any pain for a good three weeks now. I am working on rebuilding my strength by exercising.

I started some mild travel two weeks ago and ready to go full swing starting today! Looking forward to interacting with developers and geeking out.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

JavaOne special books discount

It's exciting to be at JavaOne 2013. I'm giving six talks at the event and attending a lot more of great sessions. Here's the link to the interview I gave before the event.

I'm delighted to announce that the nice folks at PragProg have issued a 25% discount on all of my books.

Discount: 25%
Code: venkat_books

Please click on the images below to go to the purchase page of the books:

It's a lot of fun to hangout with developers. I hope to see you at an event soon.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Perils of Mixing Paradigms

Most of the mainstream languages in use today strongly support the object-oriented (OO) programming paradigm. Most of these languages also have adopted the functional style of programming (FP), leading to the support of mixed paradigms. While this is more power in the hands of programmers, there are some hidden perils. In this blog we will explore some of that.

In FP we use lambda expressions and higher order functions. In a pure FP language we can't mutate state. Quite a few facilities provided in these languagess rely upon honoring immutability. When we use these features in languages that don't enforce immutability, at the least, the result can lead to surprises. If we're not careful, it can lead to errors.

I've seen programmers, me included, fall into traps in languages like Ruby, Groovy, and C# when mixing paradigms. Let's explore this with some examples (in C#, Groovy, Ruby, and Java 8).

Here's a C# code using mutability and external iterators.

//C# external iterator example
List functions = new List();
for (int i = 0; i < 3; i++)
    functions.Add(() => Console.WriteLine("value is {0}", i));

functions.ForEach((function) => function());

In the above C# example we have a loop that runs over a range of index value i from 0 to 2. For each step through the iteration, we create a lambda expression that can print the value of the index variable i. The variable is accessible within the lambda expression through lexical scoping. We promptly add the created lambda expression to a list. Once we step out of the loop we iterate over the list of lambda expressions, evaluating each one of them.

What's the output of this code? Before you run it, take a moment to think through and write down the response you think the code would provide. In the mean time, let's take a look at the same code in Groovy (for the sake of programmers who code on the JVM).

//Groovy external iterator example
def functions = []

for(i in 1..3) {
  functions << { -> println "value is $i" }

functions.each { it() }

And, the following code is for Ruby aficionados:

#Ruby external iterator example
functions = []

for i in 1..3
  functions << lambda { puts "value is #{i}" }

functions.each { |function| }

Now that we have seen the same code in three different languages, let's go over the behavior of the code. The code mixes two paradigms here, imperative and functional. Where's the mutability here? Sure the lambda expressions we created are added to the list of functions. However, that's not the only mutability here. The index variable i in the for loop is a mutable variable that is assigned a new value (0, 1, 2) through each step through the iteration. When the iteration is completed, the final value of the index variable i is 3.

If we run the above code samples, all the three languages produce the following result:

value is 3
value is 3
value is 3

If we really wanted the result to reflect the individual values through the iteration, we'd be disappointed. What went wrong?

Lexical scoping is quite powerful and gives an opportunity for us to bind variables within lambda expressions with variables in the defining scope. However, this makes a whole lot of sense to reliably use when that variable is immutable. The problem in the above code is that these languages permitted us to bind, from within a lambda expression, to a mutable variable in the defining scope. It's easy for us to get confused with code where variables that we bind to continue to change in the outside context.
Let's refactor the code samples above to eliminate these concerns.

In the next C# example, we trade the external iterator for an internal iterator.

//C# internal iterator example
var range = new List() { 0, 1, 2 };
var functions = range.Select((i) => () => Console.WriteLine("value is {0}", i));
functions.ToList().ForEach((function) => function());

Study the above version of this code and jot down the response you think the code would provide.

Again, the Groovy equivalent of this code for folks coding on the JVM:

//Groovy internal iterator example
def functions = (0..2).collect { i -> { -> println "value is $i" }}
functions.each { it() }  

The Ruby version is here:

#Ruby internal iterator example
functions = (0..2).map { |i| lambda { puts "value is #{i}" }}
functions.each { |function| }

At first though we may say that the external iterator and the internal iterators are equivalent and do the same. That is not true, they are world apart when it comes to mutability and scope.
In the internal iterators, the index variable i has a limited scope, it lives only for the duration of one iterative step. At the end of the iteration that variable dies and a new variable, with the same name i, in this example, is created. In other words, rather than mutating a variable each time through the iteration, new variables are created each time. This is much like how if we invoke a function

def foo(int value) { .... }

say, five times, we get different parameters named value for each call. Between multiple calls to the function, the same variable is not mutated. A new variable comes to life at the beginning of the call and dies at the end.

If we run this modified version of the program in all the three languages, the output will be:
value is 0
value is 1
value is 2
This output is more along the lines of what we'd desire.
There are two lessons here for us to learn.
1. When exercising functional style of programming, we should honor immutability. We should use constructs that promote immutability and avoid those that quietly perpetuate mutability.
2. As languages begin to mix these two paradigms, they must make it harder for programmers to fall into traps. They can gently prevent programmers from accessing mutable variables from within a functional style context. Java 8, for example, does just that. Let's take a look at the above two examples in Java 8.
//Java 8, using external iterator
List functions = new ArrayList<>();

for(int i = 0; i < 3; i++) {
  functions.add(() -> System.out.println(i));

functions.forEach(function ->;

If we compile this code, we will get a prompt compilation error.

...error: local variables referenced from a lambda expression must be final or effectively final
      functions.add(() -> System.out.println(i));
1 error

The compiler does not permit us to bind to the variable i in the defining context here because the variable is being mutated.

On the other hand, if we modify the code as follows:

//Java 8 using for-each instead of for
List functions = new ArrayList<>();

List range = Arrays.asList(0, 1, 2);
for(int i : range) {
  functions.add(() -> System.out.println(" value is " + i));

functions.forEach(function ->;

The compiler does not complain here and the result of running the code is:

value is 0
value is 1
value is 2

It turns out that while the traditional for loop creates a mutable index i, the for-each construct binds a new value to new variable named i each time through the loop. The variable i is not available outside the scope of the for-each. If we try to modify that variable within the for-each (which is a bad idea), then the compiler will not permit the use of that variable within the lambda expression. The reason is that the variable would no longer be effectively final, that is, it's being mutated.

This check and balance in Java 8 is pretty darn good and will help reduce programming errors when we mix paradigms. Having said that, Java 8 does not entirely prevent access to mutable variables from within lambda expression. For example, we can still modify fields within instances or invoke methods that in turn modify state.

We can further eliminate mutability in the above Java 8 code by using internal iterators, like so:

//Java 8 using internal iterators
Stream functions =
  Arrays.asList(0, 1, 2)
        .map(i -> () -> System.out.println(" value is " + i));


To summarize, when mixing OO and functional style, as programmers we should take care to avoid binding to mutable variables from within lambda expressions. It would be great if more languages, like Java 8 does, simply prevented that. This will reduce the burden on programmers who mix the paradigms to put the language capabilities to good use.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Picking a JVM Language: Which one is right for you?

Picking a JVM Language: Which one is right for you?

This year I've given a presentation titled "Picking a JVM Language: Which one is right for you?" at various conferences including NFJS. At the end of the presentation I use a spreadsheet to rank languages. I've been asked a few times to post that spreadsheet and I finally got around to it. Here's the link to the HTML version of the spreadsheet.

Comments and suggestions for improvements are most welcome.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My Publisher did it again

  "I must finish [writing this letter] now, because I've got to write
  at breakneck speed—everything's composed—but not written yet."—Mozart.
Mozart nailed it and this is a great way to write books as well. Composing the content in mind over a period and then writing it down, in that breakneck speed has worked quite well for me. But that's only possible because of a great team.

Back in 2008 I wrote this blog How long does your publisher take to publish your book?—How about 1 month from draft to beta? My favorite publisher has done it again.

The busy year was winding down and the entire month of December looked free on my schedule. A great time to write a book on something that has been composed, but not written yet. On December 1st, I set out on a two-weeks sprint to create the first draft of Functional Programming in Java: Harnessing the Power of Java 8 Lambda Expressions—the checkin activities are shown in the figure below (lines are really a count of lines of code and paragraphs of text rather than sentences).

After writing a few chapters of the book, I contacted the nice folks at the Pragmatic BookShelf. Susannah Pfalzer, the Managing Editor at the publisher, helped me through the submissions and evaluations. Hearing my desire to be once again on a fast-track, she helped get through the initial procedures fairly quickly.

The first draft was complete on December 13th and Jackie Carter came on board as the editor. I had not worked with Jackie before, but I soon realized that she's not one of those run-off-the-mill editors. Not only was she swift in reviewing the contents starting on December 14th, she would then call me to spend a couple of hours to help tease some concepts out of my head. As you can see in the figure below, the draft blossomed under her care within the first two weeks of development edits.

Yes, you're seeing it right, she was very kind to worked through the holidays so I can get this to tech reviews before I went on my crazy trips starting January 12th (I have traveled 50,000 miles since then to today, it was critical to get this done before I took off).

As you can imagine, writing a book in a short amount of time can be pretty stressful. During the long hours, my family gave me the space and slid food under the door so I can work undisturbed. Each call from Jackie at the end of most days were highly therapeutic. She would ask me good questions, guide me along in areas that needed rewriting, and the entire conversation motivated me to take on more tasks the next day.

The book went into the able hands of the tech-reviewers in mid January. Then came in their reviews. I am fortunate to have some incredibly talented reviewers, who were so willing to volunteer their precious time; here's an excerpt from the book, thanking them:

The reviews were very constructive and there were so many great suggestions. They pointed out where I needed more content, things I needed to fix, and at the same time, indicated things they really liked. It took me a couple of weeks to make the changes based on their reviews, each one of their suggestions were golden.

I'm thrilled that the beta version of the book has been released today.

The team working on Java 8 has done a great job in bringing lambda expressions and functional style of programming on board. I thoroughly enjoy keeping up with the language as it continues to evolve. I thank them for making this open and accessible.

Mozart was right on, it is a lot of fun to compose first and then write it in a breakneck speed, but that only works when you have the support of such incredible people. I am blessed to have that. Many thanks to each one who helped on this project.

It's been an exciting journey, keeping up with Java 8 releases, and learning along the way. Here are the release of the book so far:

B7.0 - 27 January 2014

  • Fixed a few minor errors/typos.
  • Ensured all examples work with the updated Java 8 Developer Preview Release (build 1.8.0-ea-b124).

B6.0 - 13 January 2014

Indexing is complete.

B5.0 - 28 December 2013

Copyediting is complete. Indexing is next.

B4.0 - 16 December 2013

  • Updated code and related text to Java-8 Developer Preview Release (build 1.8.0-ea-b120)
  • Addressed suggestions/corrections from book forum and errata, and acknowledged the contributors.
  • Added a section on dealing with exceptions.
  • Provided more details on using Collectors and related operations.
  • Included an example of using flatMap().
  • Content-complete and heading to production.

B3.0 - 19 September 2013

  • Updated code and related text to Java-8 Developer Preview Release (build 1.8.0-ea-b106).
  • Updated select code examples to use newly added JDK methods.
  • Addressed suggestions/corrections from book forum, reviewers, and errata.

B2.0 - 19 July 2013

  • Updated code and related text to Java-8 pre-release build 99.
  • Addressed suggestions/corrections from book forum, reviewers, and errata, and acknowledged the contributors.
  • Fixed known typos and reworded a few sentences.

B1.0 - 06 March 2013

Initial beta release.