How To Be a Developer

The things you do to become a better developer

I’ve been doing development now for a long time; I enjoy it, and it’s something that I’m good at; that statement could easily be switched around, I’m good at it, so I enjoy it. Regardless of how it is now, it was still something that I had to learn how to be good at it. For me it was always about acquiring a set of skills and a methodology for approaching a problem. These are the things where simple things like having been taught how to learn can help. I learnt Modula-2 at university; of less use than COBOL in the real world; but it taught me how to learn a new language, and I’ve applied that knowledge everywhere I’ve worked. The skillset that you acquire through your career will be quite varied but the methodology is always invariably the same.

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FIPS certified algorithms

Using FIPS certified algorithms with Interlok

FIPS compliance is all the rage in some sectors. Our formal statement has always been that Interlok can be configured to be as FIPS compliant as the underlying JVM. All encryption/SSL duties are delegated to the JCE and JSSE layers respectively. Failure to support FIPS algorithms isn’t normally a product issue, it’s a java virtual machine configuration issue.

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Integration is like town planning

Integration is a bit like town planning; you’re bringing a lot of different things together

I’ve said that what we do is a combination of house-building and town-planning. Town planning sounds easy, stick some houses in, join them up with a road and voila: a new town. I haven’t spoken to any good town planners but I can imagine that it’s not that simple. You have to know what makes a community work; have the big picture, map out the roads, organise the bus-stops, know where the sewage system runs and know how all these things will impact the community. A city is not an accident but the result of coherent visions and aims1

  1. Leon Krier - The Architecture of Community ↩︎

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What is integration

What is integration; explaining what I do to my father

I often get asked what it is that I do; by my father, by family friends, other people who might not be in IT. Einstein says If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself; so here goes: Our software makes sure that the curtains between business and economy class are in the right place on the plane. Our software enables telecoms companies to provision new telephone lines / new mobile numbers. Our software makes sure your car gets serviced on time. That’s pretty glib; it’s not just our software; but none of those things could happen without our software. Ultimately though, what we do is a combination of house-building and town planning.

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State of Integration

There is nothing new under the sun; why is integration still harder than it should be

Sometimes I look at the state of integration and I think that things could be so much better. We’ve effectively been doing it since the Berlin airlift. By now you’d hope that things would have settled down and the ability to do integration would simply be a commodity and I would be out of a job. I’m not and that says more about each new generation of programmers than it does about me.

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