What kept me busy recently #4

I used to make a summary of some of the happenings around me from time to time – especially when I have a hiatus in this blog. The reason for the hiatus? Good amount of work 🙂

So, what actually kept me busy in the last month?

  • Work to get screenshots and information out for the Microsoft Build Conference 2014 (grows on click)
    Microsoft Build Conference 2014 slidedeck 
  •  Hiring people in various regions – still there are openings 🙂
  •  Helping the (re)forming of the multi-channel delivery of the coherent UI platform that covers different technologies and media – just as mentioned in Merging of UI strategies

Merging of UI strategies

Haven’t written to the blog for a while (just posting links to the facebook page) – reason is the best worst: work 🙂 But indeed, this is a good kind of work. Recently, as part of a streamlining step, my team was repointed to work inside a larger organization – namely Client Platform Engineering. So, what does such a merge allows us – me – to do? What is (a) Client Platform, indeed?

Let’s dream big (I like doing that – dreaming of platforms and architectures generally makes you happy). You are developing applications for clients. You are developing a platform for building such said applications. You make it easy to comprehend but hard to cope, trying to cover all flavors – from mobile to tablet to desktop to desktops and in-between. You want to provide best of the breed in terms of performance and flexibility and nativeness; but indeed you want to keep up the good developer productivity. So what you come up with? A multi-flavored beast in my case. The product I’m maintaining is actively being developed, being backward compatible with dozen+ existing platforms, multiple form factors, and still look classy (look’n’feel is not everything but it’s something that makes sell things easier – old saying but does apply). Sometimes we are bending hard to bring in existing (legacy) codebases with ease (ease from the side of providing the backward compatibility to bring them over and the automatic live conversions to make it look and behave like the rest of the modern application pieces we have), but the flexibility we achieve on being able to bind together message buses from different platforms transparently pays off very quickly. If you are interested in participating on dreaming up such a platform, don’t hesitate – the career site awaits you 🙂

C++, Optimus, Bjarne, …

Bjarne StroustrupHad rather pleasent experience in the last few days – C++14 and C++17 session with Bjarne (who could introduce C++ in 4 slides, amazing skill), and a session about Optimus, which is a global project within my group to develop a new, cutting edge solution for applications across all areas of the firm, and as such it covers a number of technologies including object stores, bitemporal data representation, graph processing, query languages and UI.

Conferences on a diet?

I haven't been to many physical conferences recently – reason is, why should I go there? I can watch the session from a far more convenient place – my PC, my tablet, my couch. I can stop, rewind, get closed caption, take a snapshot. If it's a modern conference, I get realtime discussions, feedback, some cases can even post questions to the presenter if watching realtime. So, what do I miss if I'm watching from home? Yes, I miss the food, the clinking glasses. Yes, I miss the collaboration possibility as well. But yeah, if I'm on a conference, I'd not spend time collaborating, as I paid for it. As some of you might know, I'm planning to resurrect Architecture Forum in Hungary, and I'm struggling, in which format should I do it (btw, if you do have capacity to help in sitebuilding the design for the site, don't hesitate to contact me). So, how would your dream conference look like? Does it have many parallel sessions (like the PGSQL conference where Scott (who is my mate here) is keynoting)? Is it a virtual one? Does it have designated time and place for discussions? Or is that interweaved? Is it an unconference without long presentations (more like a meetup)?

My ideal one is a composite of all of this. Having some prerecorded sessions a few days before, have a relevant keynote. Break into 3-4 streams, each doing 15 min sessions, and probably one full hour near the end. Than give a space and time (and tools) for people to self-organize themselves. And what is yours?

Reddit meltdown and the agnostic cloud

Today's reddit meltdown did spawn some funny comments (like this), but did brought my attention to the fact (especially taking into account statements like this) – how much we do depend on the cloud provider? Is it fair to say, that the cloud is the new single point of failure?

I think – yes. The question is not AWS vs Azure vs Rackspace vs my own. The question is how I do balance the loss of one or more of these – yes, I'm speaking about cloud lock-in. So, take IoC to the next level – inject cloud specific implementations based on which cloud you run in. And on the how to manage this – who is watching the watchers? Let's take granted, that you trust the DNS (there is a reason why you need two servers in two subnets…), so it comes back to watching the capacity, the health of the cloud, the health of the other watchers, and the ability to switch quickly.

Is it easy to build such a thing? There are specific solutions for specific usecases, like GreenButton for MPI/Parallel/Map-Reduce cases, Dell Cloud Manager for managing VMs, but – and waiting for suggestions in the comments; do you know a good cloud agnostic solution?

Xamarin – it’s just amazing

Yes, one of the promise of .NET was that write once, run everywhere. Yes, Java has managed to actually pull this out. Than comes Xamarin. These guys (with Miguel Icaza, who I happen to know in person since 2001 probably – I still has his business card from that time :D) are just AMAZING. Write once as a portable library, and run as a windows store app, a wpf app, a web app, a windows phone app, an iphone app, an android app, a mac app – possibilities are just endless.

So come Nokia, creating Nokai X, which happens to be an Android phone, but with windows phonish UX, and with Xamarin that means… I can run C# on Nokia X, and port my windows phone app to Nokia X like a breeze. So, would I buy a Nokia X, X+ or XL? I don't know, but the possibility is there.

Links I posted No. 1

Posted the following links to https://www.facebook.com/MountGellert :


Interviews with a glint in the eye

Just recently did I (re)start doing interviews for the positions we have open (from java to C++ to Scala etc.), but I already started enjoying them. Whenever it's a junior position – a grad, an intern – or a lateral, senior position, usually after the first two minutes I can tell whether someone would fit to my group – it's not a particular question or topic. It's more the presence of a given glint in the eye that tells the candidate is a kind that likes to look under the hood, does not accept an answer without an explanation – e.g. she/he is someone that would fit the team. Recently I came across a link on mashable about a few questions to ask yourself before accepting a job; here is my view on the topic:

"Are serious goals being sacrificed?" – my goals were having a team, but still code as nuts; use cutting and bleeding edge technologies but do have a safe net (startups not being the safest nest while having family to take care). By having extensive possibilities to do flexible work arrangements, overall I do see a strong overlap between what I aim for vs what I get. And yes, career is moving forward as well 🙂

"Is there an opportunity to expand your skills and experience?" – wow, so many things I learned, and as far as I see will do in the future as well: whether it's about designing database engines and schedulers, language design or creating a new mashup technology – I'm always supported to try out the newest and greatest. And to fail early and often if I'm on a bad track 🙂

"Does it meet most needs?" – fits my lifestyle, supports family; what else would I long for?

"Imagine working for the company" – before I joined my employer, I could hardly imagine myself working there. It wasn't the dress code, the culture or anything specific. It was the lack of knowledge on what is there. So next time someone wants to introduce you her/his company, listen!