Writing ... or Just Practicing?

Random Disconnected Diatribes of a p&p Documentation Engineer

  • Blog Post: General Cluster's Probably Not Last Stand

    I don't know if General Custer ever made a last stand against the Apache, but I feel like I have. My Apache is, of course, the Hadoop one. Or, to be technically accurate, Microsoft Azure HDInsight. And, going on experience so far, this is unlikely to actually be the last time I do it. After six months...
  • Blog Post: I Can See Patterns In The Cloud

    Well, we finally did it. After many months of redesign, reconsideration, rewrites, and recombination we've let loose on the web our first release of the Cloud Design Patterns guide. The guide is a combination of design patterns that are especially applicable to cloud-hosted applications and services...
  • Blog Post: Patternal Conflict

    No, this post isn't about parental difficulties and I didn't spell "paternal" wrong in the title, although I admit it is about problems with relationships. More specifically, the relationship between design patterns and pretty much everything else. And, based on previous experience of dabbling in this...
  • Blog Post: What Color Is Your Field?

    So, at last, we're done. After fighting with multiple new versions of the Windows Azure SDK, updated features in the management portal, changes to the functionality of services, and the regular changes to the names of various parts of Windows Azure, we've shipped the third editions of two of our Windows...
  • Blog Post: The Rule of "It Depends"

    It seems odd that, in order for a rule to be valid, there has to be an exception. According to the well-known phrase "the exception that proves the rule", this must be the case. Yet watching a TV quiz show the other week, I was amazed to discover that one of the rules I've applied most days of my working...
  • Blog Post: Hybrigation Complete, Feedback Required...

    So at last we've finished the Windows Azure hybrid applications guide , and it's out there ready for anyone interested in integrating cloud-hosted applications with on-premises services and partner applications. OK, so it's taken a little longer than originally planned but it is more comprehensive than...
  • Blog Post: Try, Try, and Try Again

    There are some seemingly simple phrases that trip so easily off the tongue, but end up leaving you tongue-tied. Or, if not physically entangled, then tied in knots both architecturally and programmatically. Our intrepid little band of developers and writers just encountered an interesting example of...
  • Blog Post: Hands Up If You're Doing Hybrid...

    After several months of diligent dappling with documentation, comprehensive confrontations with code, and seriously systematic study of system architectures, we've managed to toss together most of the content for our upcoming guide to Windows Azure hybrigation techniques. "Integrating with the Cloud...
  • Blog Post: It Was Missing When I Opened The Box...

    It's becoming clear that creating guidance on cloud computing is great deal more difficult than for most other development environments. Or, to be more precise, following our usual practice of combining written guidance with a reference implementation (RI) code sample is turning out to be what you might...
  • Blog Post: Additional Integrational Hybridization

    For some unaccountable reason, my semi-coherent bluster a couple of weeks ago wandered across the topic of integration when discussing Windows Azure hybrid applications. Since then, I've been delving deeper into the whole area of hybrid application challenges as we fine-tune our thoughts on the third...
  • Blog Post: Hybrid Triangulation (with Cat Food and Bananas)

    Once again I'm at one of those gloriously satisfying stages in my p&p working life when I'm trying to define the structure for a new guide. We know what technologies we want to cover, how we will present the guidance, and the kind of sample that we'll provide to demonstrate the all-encompassing wonderfulness...
  • Blog Post: Does WIF Have a Funny Smell?

    I've occasionally heard developers talk about a "code smell" - subtle indications that lead to the uneasy feeling all is not well with the source code for some application (as opposed, I guess, to the not unknown opinion that everybody else's code stinks). I wonder if there are similar easy-to-miss signs...
  • Blog Post: Get Your Hands On Our Labs

    I suppose I could start with a bad pun by saying that you've had your hols, and now it's time for some HOLs instead! Of course, this assumes you understand that "hols" is English shorthand for "holidays" and that "HOLs" is IT guidance shorthand for "Hands-On-Labs" (I wonder if people in the US have a...
  • Blog Post: Let Them Eat Cheese

    When you think about it, it's clear that software architects and developers should rule the world. Not that - in reality - they don't already. Let's face it, almost everything that goes on in the world today, from air traffic control to motor cars to the microwave oven in your kitchen is powered by software...
  • Blog Post: In At The Depend

    Which is the best way to prevent intrusion attacks on your server from the network? What is the largest size of application XAP file you can deploy to a Windows Phone 7 device? When should you cache the data used by your application in memory? How many magicians does it take to change a rabbit? Obviously...
  • Blog Post: Come On In, The Water's Lovely...

    A great many years ago, when I was fresh out of school and learning to be a salesman, we had a sales manager who proudly advertised that his office door was "always open". What he meant, obviously, was that we could drop in any time with questions, problems, and for advice on any sales-related issue...
  • Blog Post: In Search Of The Missing Link

    Every now and then I get to write actual code rather than just documentation. Usually there's either a crowd watching in amazement that I can actually find Visual Studio, never mind knowing some of the magic keywords that make it all work when you press the green arrow button. Or else everyone is cowering...
  • Blog Post: Under Compression

    Last week I was creating short introduction videos for our Architecture Guide project. You'd assume that this would be easy enough - write some slides and record the commentary, and then generate a WMV file from the recording. I used Camtasia, which integrates with PowerPoint and makes it really easy...
  • Blog Post: Build It, And They Will Blame You

    Here in England, architects (the kind who design houses and office blocks) seem to have a pretty poor reputation. Other than the "stars" who win prizes for designing skyscrapers, or weird shopping centers that look like an armadillo that wandered into a chrome-plating factory, they seem to be universally...
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