Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Top Ten Things

Somewhat following a TV show of long running (what was the host's name?), an author wrote a real nice piece for the ACM Communications. For those who might not be familiar with the Association for Computing Machinery, they have been around since day one of computing. The Turing Award is their's as are other activities, such as the International Joint Conference on AI.

So, the piece was this: Tom's Top Ten Things Executives Should Know About Software. This points to the Queue article, but it's the same. The Communications was a couple of month's later. Now, let me just list the items.
  1. Software is not magic
  2. Software is never 'done'
  3. Software is a team effort; nobody can do it all
  4. Design isn't how something looks; it is how it works
  5. Security is everyone's responsibility
  6. Feature size doesn't predict developer time
  7. Greatness comes from thousands of small improvements
  8. Technical debt is bad but unavoidable
  9. Software doesn't run itself
  10. Complex systems need DevOps to run well
Everyone ought to read this little article and discuss it with friends. The ACM has allowed public access. And, the target audience are managers who may or may not know details of technology. But, this is a common set of concerns for anyone who might be touched by modern computing. 

I had the fortune to work for a company that was highly technical and was allowed to follow the technical track. The idea was to match up all levels with people with corresponding experience. This allowed some technical minds to get similar attention as a VP, for example. 

And, computing is full of problems now and will be more so going into the future. Hence, this focus with regard to the computing exposure of the Society. In particular, we are using (see part of the discussion and devlog) as a platform for demonstrating issues as well as presenting information. Technology just keeps rolling along; we can tame what we have access to. 

In particular, lots of the approaches web handling have created even more of a mess. But, what is the average Joe to do? One wants a presence, yet all sorts of responsibilities, and potential downfalls, accrue. There is a lot to discuss, hence there will be these posts. Most of the technical aspects will be handled via our technology blog. This started at wordpress[.]com and has been moved to our own server. However, there have been posts in several of the blogs that I'm doing. At some point, I'll do a recap. 

The main emphasis is that every bit of added capability clouds the water. Some feel that web design is not real programming. But, I differ. Bad decisions can have wide impact (think of older people losing money due to not understanding the risks of using some of the modern tools - and I am not only just talking malfeasance - those who think that they grasp all of this need to rethink - hence, we'll continue to have this type of focus). 

I just received a 'cold call' note from a developer. Of course, I looked at the company. Too, I stopped to see what might be a good response. First, this image is from the note (I have redacted any particulars until I discuss issues with the party). It shows some of the capability that is offered. 

Our original effort was using OfficeLive of MS (supposedly to enjoy the asp environment). That went away and forced a look at the industry which was a great opportunity. So, I looked at Drupal, Joomla, and others. I even did a quick demo. Since I was doing a lot of research and writing, I couldn't spend a lot of time playing with the stuff and took a minimal approach, almost by default, which worked. Since I could, essentially. That went well for awhile, but, per expectation, new features came to be required. Each time, I took a minimal approach. 

You see, about that time, I saw several groups with stature going the same route. For one thing, the mobile devices caused several modes to be altered. Then, as that work was done, keeping a proper balance between devices (platforms) helped hone proper common views. Besides, technology crept forward which encouraged more demands for features. 

There is a huge change coming that makes experts cringe for all of the problems associated with it. But, let's save that for another day. 

I just talked to a 'cloud' advocate. Of course, there are plenty good reasons for doing things. Look around. The options seem to be never ending. And, languages and approaches are popping up all over the place. Where is the generality being studied? We need to look at possible ramifications, too, as we think of longevity. I am trying a 'cloud' experiment now and will report at some point. In the meantime, the thrust is to use our own server for TGS. For one thing, it demonstrates a 'local' mode that needs to be considered. Also, we'll try to use 'open' capability when we can. 

Quite frankly, all of this could be resolved easily with a few weeks of work. I  am looking for volunteers who either want to help or want an opportunity to learn a thing or two. Practice beats class work, anytime. We'll provide the necessary sandbox.  

Remarks: Modified: 07/18/2019

07/17/2019 -- This Manifesto comes out of concern for the future and is very much apropos to the theme of this post. Business is run by process; process will be largely influenced by computing. If business wants to cover its basis, then merely relying on the 'cloud' is other than smart. That is, 'infrastructure' has many connotations that are not being considered in current modes.

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