Gant Software Systems

Blog Posts

Advice for Green Developers

Someone pointed out to me the other day that I am a bit of “an old fart” in the .NET development space. At first, I was about to protest and insist that I wasn’t that old. Then it occurred to me that I have been using .NET since the first public beta, which came out in 2001 (if I recall correctly, which I may not, because I’m old). That said, as I think back over my career and the loads of developers who eventually got out of the industry, I wistfully contemplated giving some advice to the folks just getting started. The reasons for it are many. First, I want to see more people succeed. Second, I’ve watched loads of people fail (or worse, not rise to the full level of their potential), including screwing up via self-sabotage. Here, then, are some things that I’ve noticed that might serve as “lifehacks” for making your climb through your career a little easier as well as making your survival more likely.

A Home Development Environment for the Small-Time Developer Part 1

I find that on many projects, the most psychologically draining part of the whole experience, other than the final sprint before the thing is completely finished is the first little bit of code to get started. It’s both simple and tempting to open a new project and just start slinging code, but it also frequently complicates things later on. Therefore, I’ve long since come to the conclusion that I should have a fairly standard way of approaching the setup of projects, both for myself and for external clients. I’m going to start writing a series showing how to implement the things you need to have a reasonably decent home development setup. I’m not going to cover what kind of desk or chair to get, as I’ve had the same desk for 14 years and pick chairs based largely on how comfortable they feel in the store with a reasonably similar desk. No, I’m go to get into the guts of how to get a working process together to develop software in your house with professional-grade discipline so that you can actually complete what you set out to do. I’ll be doing these piecemeal as I get a more regimented environment set up at my own house, so feel free to follow along and change anything that doesn’t suit your needs/desires.

2015 is Coming

Apologies to all for the lack in posting. Life got real busy around the tail end of September as we moved to a new house and really hasn’t slowed down since. That said, I think things are finally easing back up where I can get back on track with regular blogging.

10 Ways to Unintentionally Screw Your Clients

Contract software developers have to deal with a lot of issues, especially if they are honest. There are loads of scam artists out there who can’t code particularly well, but will throw an application together for a client quickly, often disappearing shortly afterward. I’ve cleaned up lots of code from that sort and it’s a headache. This article wasn’t really written for that sort of developer, however, as I believe it’s very easy to accidentally screw a client over, even when one is otherwise trustworthy and honest, simply because you don’t think through all the implications of what you are doing. Here are ten ways I’ve seen developers screw their clients, without intending to do so. This is aimed more at solo developers, although a number of these points could apply to larger companies as well.

Hardware Review: Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 R8000

Netgear Nighthawk
This is my first ever hardware review, but while I was going through the process of the move, I bought a new router because I needed better signal coverage, VPN capabilities, and other features. After a lengthy exercise in price and feature comparison, I settled on the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 R8000 router. This router runs right around $300, whether you get it at NewEgg or at Best Buy (I’m assuming that means that they have a suggested retail price and everyone is sticking to it for now).

A Late Post With Good Reason

I normally try to get a blog post out every Tuesday, and sometimes on Thursday, based on my workload. This past week though, I totally dropped the ball. On Thursday of last week, we were supposed to sign the paperwork to sell our house at 9:30 in the morning, and sign paperwork to buy a new house at 12:30 in the afternoon. We then would have until Saturday night to get everything moved, and I would (of course), have working internet within a day or so of the move-in.

A Simple Countdown Timer

We’re about to move and I’ll be out of pocket for several days as we cart all our stuff to the new house. In the meantime, my six year old keeps asking “how much longer until we move, daddy?”. I finally decided that I would make a simple little timer to not only show how long until we start moving, but several other key events of the move as well because I find myself counting down the days as well (yeah, I really want out of this house). So I did and I’m going to put the code here. There’s nothing earth shattering here – it’s my typical “Stupid Coding Tricks” blog post. The whole point of these sorts of things is to show how a simple little program that can be written in a few minutes can still be useful. I decided to build this little app in winforms because it was the simplest thing that could possibly work.

What You See When You Administer Websites

Sometimes, the truth is remarkably annoying and not what you told yourself it would be. So it is with managing website, both your own and those of others. People talking about these things often seem to be doing so with rose-tinted glasses on, as you’ll discover that it doesn’t all work like that. Here are some things I’ve learned on my little journey through being a webmaster.

Book Review: Getting Things Done

Many years ago, at the suggestion of my friend and coworker, Stan McFarland, I picked up a copy of “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. This book is an excellent primer on getting yourself organized. David Allen does an excellent job of showing you how to get a handle on managing your time and attention well. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Reader Questions - September 2014

So, I’ve been blogging for a bit and finally got something I had hoped to receive for a while, that is, some questions from a reader. In this particular case, the reader was a friend who called to ask the questions on the phone, but I thought they were darned good ones and took notes. I think committing them here is a good idea because if one person is asking a question, it’s a good bet that others are too. Further, it’s an excellent way to generate a bit of actually useful content based on what readers actually want to know, which is often a hard thing to discover, since readers tend to stop being readers if they don’t read things that are useful to them. I didn’t quite get the exact questions down, but I got enough of a gist that I think I can answer a few. I’ve thrown in a few others as well that have come up casually in conversations with other friends, as I kept the list until I had enough items to make a post out of it. Some of these I didn’t completely answer during the conversations in question because I kind of wanted to chew on them a bit.