Like most people involved software – and I believe it extends to most creative professions – I occasionally succumb to impostor syndrome:
Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.
On viewing this video I am now painfully aware that not only am I an imposter, I am a terrible, terrible father for not creating one of these for my children.
Wow. Just wow!
There’s a recurring “meme” about Chromebooks being the equivalent of a paperweight without a network connection.
Since I just spent a two-hour train journey working on a large presentation in Google drive without a connection in sight, I’ll have to respectfully disagree with those naysayers.
Oh, and I still have six hours left on the battery!
It’s important to distinguish Readme Driven Development from Documentation Driven Development. RDD could be considered a subset or limited version of DDD.
A quick google(v.) gives me various results for “documentation driven development”:
…and that’s just from the first page of results!
So lets be clear: I’m not claiming to have invented anything here; I’m just distilling the various sources into my own thoughts.
I recently got around to reading The Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun, which details his actually-more-than-a-year working for Automattic. When he was describing a general workflow for updating WordPress.com, this caught my attention:
Write a launch announcement and a support page. Most features are announced to the world after they go live on WordPress.com . But long before launch, a draft launch announcement is written. This sounds strange. How can you write an announcement for something that doesn’t exist? The point is that if you can’t imagine a compellingly simple explanation for customers, then you don’t really understand why the feature is worth building. Writing the announcement first is a forcing function. You’re forced to question if your idea is more exciting for you as the maker than it will be for your customer. If it is, rethink the idea or pick a different one.
This reminded me of Tom Preston-Werner’s approach, and set me thinking about the problem again.
README file or launch announcement (or release note) are user facing, but users aren’t our only audience. If writing those things first help us distil our thoughts about what we are going to deliver to our users, then doing the same thing for our commit messages or – taking it to the extreme – comments will help us stay focused too. This can be particularly relevant when fixing bugs/issues/defects, as you will generally go into them with a clear idea of what you are going to do to address them.
Of course, just like TDD isn’t always practical – e.g., exploratory spikes – so too can DDD not always be used. Nor should your documentation be set in stone: good documentation lives and breathes alongside the code.
As the comments are quick to point out – at the expense of the rest of the piece – the hardware isn’t the compelling story here. While you can buy your own, you can almost certainly hand build an equivalent-or-better set up for less money1, but Ars recognises this:
Of course, that’s exactly the point: the Orange Box is that taste of heroin that the dealer gives away for free to get you on board. And man, is it attractive. However, as Canonical told me about a dozen times, the company is not making them to sell—it’s making them to use as revenue driving opportunities and to quickly and effectively demo Canonical’s vision of the cloud.
To see what Ars think of those, you should read the article.
I definitely echo Lee’s closing statement:
I wish my closet had an Orange Box in it. That thing is hella cool.
I’m a big fan of Markdown. I’m also a fan of WordPress. When the Jetpack extensions introduced Markdown editing I was mostly happy. Mostly, because as nice as the Add New Post screen is, it is still too noisy for long posts.
The other day, while revising my post on using Travis CI with Django projects, I finally clicked on the Toggle fullscreen mode icon at the top of the post editor, and I got one step closer to happiness. Compare and contrast the following screenshots:
Draft has got some amazing features – the quick preview is great – but my use of it has just decreased for updating this site. Sorry Nate!
There’s plenty of documentation out there for Python modules and Django applications, but not so much guidance for testing a complete Django project. I can only speculate that this is because testing projects normally involves more moving parts (e.g., databases) as opposed to applications which are supposed to be self-contained.
A good example here is the cookiecutter templates of Daniel Greenfeld – one of the authors of Two Scoops of Django. His djangopackage template contains a
.travis.yml file, yet his django[project] template doesn’t. Since many consider these templates best practices, and Two Scoops as a Django “bible”, perhaps I’m wrong to want to use CI on a Django project?
Well (naturally) I don’t think I am, so here is how to do it.
Travis CI has a whole bunch of services you can use in your tests. The obvious ones are there e.g., PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Memcached. For a more complete system, there’s also Redis, RabbitMQ, and ElasticSearch. Using these you can build a pretty complete set of integration tests using the same components you will in a production environment.
services: - postgresql
Now we need to create the database, using the
postgres user provided by Travis CI:
psql -c 'create database capomastro;' -U postgres
The next part is to configure our Django project to use this database. Fortunately our project already provides a sample
local_settings.py that is configured for connecting to PostgreSQL on localhost without a password, so all we need to do is modify this file to use the same
cp capomastro/local_settings.py.example capomastro/local_settings.py sed -i -e 's/getpass.getuser()/"postgres"/g' capomastro/local_settings.py
Finally we can call the Django
migrate because like everyone else, we use South) to setup our database:
python manage.py syncdb --migrate --noinput
All of this is done in the
before_script hook in Travis CI:
before_script: - cp capomastro/local_settings.py.example capomastro/local_settings.py - psql -c 'create database capomastro;' -U postgres - sed -i -e 's/getpass.getuser()/"postgres"/g' capomastro/local_settings.py - python manage.py syncdb --migrate --noinput
We can now execute the full test suite for the project, using the same database we use in development and production!
For reference, here is the complete
language: python services: - postgresql python: - 2.7 install: - pip install -r dev-requirements.txt before_script: - cp capomastro/local_settings.py.example capomastro/local_settings.py - psql -c 'create database capomastro;' -U postgres - sed -i -e 's/getpass.getuser()/"postgres"/g' capomastro/local_settings.py - python manage.py syncdb --migrate --noinput script: - python manage.py test