The Web Gambit

Thoughts on Web Development

Monthly Archives: March 2007

Archival of data on optical disc

It has long been known that optical media tends to degrade over time and the CD-R and DVD-/+R discs used for archival purposes will eventually become unreadable. I recently read this guide on how to choose a CD/DVD archival system for your data.

I won’t get into the technical details and I will leave you to read the article for them, but in a nutshell one should choose DVD+R over DVD-R due to DVD+R being a more mature platform in terms of quality burning. I’ve used DVD-R since I first got a DVD burner for compatibility with older DVD players and I’ve never had a problem with bad burns or poor playback unless the player itself is poor at reading blank media.

However, now I will buy DVD+Rs as the compatibility issues should be cleared up with all my players and the format seems to hold up better over time.

Additionally the guide mentions that the best brand for blank optical media is Taiyo Yuden, the Japanese brand that originally created the recordable CD and the brand I have used for years. It’s a little difficult to find a reliable source of TY media, as typically the retail brands switch between Taiyo Yuden, Ritek, and others between batches of media. The Fujifilm DVD-Rs you bought in 2005 might have been Taiyo Yuden, but the ones you buy today might be Ritek. The best option is to go with an internet outlet like SuperMediaStore to be on the safe side.

Developer resumes and pieces of flair?

Finding a new job can often be a daunting experience for a developer. Even very qualified professionals may jump through multiple hoops to get their resumes in front of the right people. Most of the smart applicants have figured out that the only realistic and pain-free way to get someone to see your resume is through a professional referral. However, even then you have to make your resume stand out among the masses. So everyone comes up with unique ways to grab the attention of the person looking at our resume. A colleague and fellow .NET developer recently asked me to review his resume prior to beginning a new job search. Here are two of his previous job descriptions as listed on his resume sans personal details:

Tech Company – Dallas, TX

  • Performed an architectural review of the existing BizTalk Server 2004 solution and made recommendations to improve performance, stability and manageability.

  • Consulted on several .NET projects to lend expertise in code-generation, unit testing, and object design.

Languages: C#, VB.NET, T-SQL

Server Products: BizTalk Server 2004, BizTalk Server 2006, SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2000

Misc Technologies: XML, XSL, XSD, HTML, CSS, GIS, COM+, MTS, MSMQ

Tech Company 2 – Dallas, TX

  • Provide primary technical leadership for a small but growing company employing several contractors on a variety of projects.

  • .NET Framework (1.1 and 2.0) business viability analysis.

  • Technical consulting working with the .NET Framework

Languages: C# 2.0, VB.NET 2.0, ASP.NET 2.0, VB.NET, C#, ASP.NET, VB, ASP, TSQL, JavaScript

Server Products: BizTalk Server 2000/2002/2004/2006, SQL Server 2000/2005, FoxPro

Misc Technologies: AJAX, XML, XSL, XSD, HTML, CSS, COM+, MTS, NUnit

My immediate comments back to him mentioned that I felt he had too many acronyms on his resume to make his job descriptions readable. Additionally he was repeating the same acronyms multiple times and the developer inside me is screaming "Don’t Repeat Yourself". The response I got back was that this is now an accepted practice for developer resumes and recruiters/hiring managers prefer this format. Recruiters often scan for keywords and acronyms so seeing them multiple times somehow incites a more positive response with them. Another colleague reaffirmed this opinion, however he also added that it’s just a game that we have to play these days and that its a necessary evil.

Pieces of Flair

Apparently, tech acronyms have now become a software developer’s pieces of flair. I can think of only one quote that comes to mind: Doesn’t it bother you that you have to get up in the morning and you have to put on a bunch of pieces of flair? Thoughts?

The open letter to Microsoft from the .NET Community

David Starr, of Elegant Code, wrote an open letter to Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie (General Manager of software development) where he expressed the community’s frustration with MS regarding their approach to using open source tools/solutions for the .NET platform and copying them (albeit poorly) for future releases of the .NET platform. Guthrie’s most recent admission of a Microsoft supported MVC framework has lit the fire again in this debate as anything coming out of Redmond would be a clear competitor to the MonoRail Framework which is now gaining ground.

Most of the time the MS branded version of development tools is far less powerful than its open source equivalent. A perfect example is the .NET Unit Testing Framework within Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team System. It is clearly a copy of NUnit, but it can’t test User Interface level components even though the UI is where most development projects need the most testing. As a result, few developers are even using it.

David also compares Microsoft’s approach to Sun’s approach. Sun supported a number of open source solutions in their in publications and conferences. Sun recognized that the open source community would best be able to develop innovative ideas for the Java platform and it was in Sun’s best interest to support these efforts. As a result we now have very good solutions for testing, frameworks, and automated builds like jUnit, Struts, and Ant. Java’s success as a platform is very clearly tied to these solutions and Microsoft should realize that bringing down the wrath of the developer community is the quickest way to kill your platform.