Dragons in the Algorithm
Adventures in Programming
by Michael Chermside

Category: Programming

Why User Stories?

Any software project needs a Business Requirements Document (BRD)—a document which describes what the deliverable is supposed to do once it's been built. The traditional (waterfall) way is to write it in paragraph form, but several agile development techniques recommend writing it in the form of a collection of …

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Posted Mon 12 May 2008 by mcherm in Programming

Always use Salt

I'm not a very good cook. One reasons is that I've never mastered the art of tasting the food as I go along and seasoning it properly. When cooking, I never seem to add the right amount of salt. As a programmer, though, I always use salt.

Soup"Salt", in programming …

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Posted Mon 05 May 2008 by mcherm in Programming

Units of Work

When I was a physics student one of the things that I learned to do was "unit analysis". That's where you simply consider what units an answer has: is it in meters, or meters squared? Surprisingly, there is an enormous amount that can be learned just by doing unit analysis …

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Posted Sun 30 March 2008 by mcherm in Programming

How to talk about Data Structures

FizzBuzz.scalaI've been interviewing lately for "senior programmer" positions. I find it outright astonishing how many applicants for these positions lack what I would consider the most fundamental of programming skills. Some people have suggested using FizzBuzz (a trivial programming exercise) as a filter; what I use is a discussion of …

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Posted Sun 17 February 2008 by mcherm in Programming

A Creaky Old Man's Defense of Creaky old Code

I'm beginning to wonder whether I'm turning into an "old fogey" of a computer programmer. You know, the elderly fellow who has an office near the server room; the one who always objects to the use of any new technology and goes on at length about "the good old days …

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Posted Sat 02 February 2008 by mcherm in Programming