anthony galvin


Dear Legacy Code Creator...

I’m sure you didn’t mean to create this problem. It probably seemed to make a lot of sense at the time. The client was a pain, you were under pressure to deliver - producer over your shoulder, asking “is it done yet”. As for that Tech Lead, he couldn’t code review his way out of a paper bag.

A project that nobody cared about. Ship it. Move on.

And it shows. Because 2 years later we are staring at the code. Trying to fix up some problem or other. It’s hard to know where to start because, well, there’s not many comments, the commit messages are garbage and the little documentation that there is makes no sense.

I understand that you didn’t think anyone would download that app, but people have. And the client, despite what you thought, thinks this is quite a good product and would like to promote it, if only it wasn’t so buggy. So now it’s over to us.

It’s OK for you, and the rest of the team. You left. A contractor. Got fired. Who knows, but you’re not here now as a couple of us go toe-to-toe with your lack of error handling and crazy re-invention of the most common design patterns.

And you know what, I know that we could all write better code, that I don’t have the context of those meetings and planning session when it all made sense. I wasn’t there.

But next time just write a few bloody comments and maybe some documentation that doesn’t assume you know the app inside out already. And think about those of us who have to up pick your pieces…

#work #code #legacy #frustration

2013-10-15 11:18:03 GMT permalink

UK users like polished Chrome

This post originally appeared on the R/GA tech blog 3 August 2011

This week has seen the news that in the UK, Google Chrome has overtaken Mozilla FireFox to become the second most popular browser. According to data aggregated by StatCounter (a provider of website tracking software), Chrome now has 22.1% of the UK browser market, pushing it past FireFox’s 22.0% market share. Internet Explorer continues to dominate with 46% of UK users still using some version of IE.

Measuring UK browser percentages is not an exact science. Whilst StatCounter usage is widespread, it is by no means the only web tracking software available. This combined with the difficulty in identifying the geographic location of all site visitors means that despite the impression of precision, this data should be regarded as indicative. What is interesting here is the trend and also the reasons ascribed to the growth of Chrome usage in the UK.

Google clearly see speed as a key element in the rapid growth in Chrome usage. Google engineer Lars Bak has been quoted as saying “Speed is a fundamental part of it, but it’s also about the minimal design and the way it handles security”. But the success isn’t only about technical excellence and improving developer tools. A growing suite of cloud based business applications is driving adoption of Chrome by UK businesses. Unusually for a Google product, in the UK Chrome has also been supported by an extensive outdoor advertising campaign.

Whilst Chrome isn’t universally popular, it’s speed and innovative use of caching, has given it, and Google a place on many people’s desktop. With Google alsogrowing rapidly in the mobile market with it’s phone operating system, Android, and making a play at the hardware market with it’s new Chromebook, it would be difficult to see the rapid growth of Chrome slowing any time soon.

#tech #browsers #work #technology #code

2011-08-13 23:20:19 GMT permalink

Head in the cloud

This post originally appeared on the Altogether Digital blog.

Last year at the <HEAD> conference I was fortunate enough to catch Simon Wardley’s excellent presentation on open source and ‘cloud computing’. It was interesting and engaging, but didn’t really seem to be something that the technical team at Altogether could really utilise - the projects we were working on didn’t appear to need ‘the cloud’.

A few months later, and although the sun is shining on Great Portland Street we are happily working ‘under a cloud’.The concept of cloud computing has been around for a while and there’s plenty of definitions and not a little controversy about whether some of the larger cloud players are really providing a silver lining. I don’t think the team here at Altogether is that hung up on a formal definition of ‘the cloud’, we just like effective solutions that work for our clients. However,  as a broad definition: Cloud computing is a way of virtualising data in order to provide a specific performance benefit. The performance benefit may be the ability to provide a rapidly scalable hosting environment or fast access to rich content using edge served data.

Earlier this month Ciaran blogged about how Altogether were working with Kleenex to produce a Twitter based hayfever map of the UK. What he didn’t mention was that as the campaign progressed it was picked up by the press and traffic to the site started to increase pretty rapidly. In order to keep up with the demand for the service we simply moved some of the data storage out into the cloud, in this case Amazon’s S3 service. In Amazon’s words S3 provides “a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web”. Or in our words, the site stays up and performs well.

Whilst the hayfever sufferers have been keeping a sore eye on Twitter, we’ve also been working with Vertu on their new global website. The site has lots of content including rich video and some hefty photography, all delivered in 7 languages. There’s a lot of data flying around. To improve the performance of the site we’ve been working with Akamai who provide ‘edge serving’ technology, which is basically a way of putting the content nearer to the customer - in Akamai’s case on 48,000 servers in 70 countries.

In both cases there’s some pretty geeky stuff happening, which to some people is pretty exciting in itself, but what’s more important is that we have another tool in our digital armoury that ensures the solutions we deliver for clients stay online and perform well, whatever the weather.

#work #tech #code

2009-06-18 15:25:00 GMT permalink

#work #code #tech

2009-04-16 16:24:00 GMT permalink