Tag Archives: .NET

An Expensive Downgrade.

What percentage of development shops are pigeonholing their clients by their loyal adherence to their prescribed stack? Far too many. At V-Tek, we’ve found that .NET often fits quite nicely into our mostly open-source toolbox. Especially when our client already has an MS oriented product.

Everything from raw library-less JavaScript, to RoR coding by convention, should be fair game for a development studio worth its salt. Otherwise the first thing they will want (and have to) do is uproot your existing modules. While uprooting modules may be exactly what you need, doing it only because your trusted developer doesn’t understand them is just stupid. What you already have could be ingenious, but if your developers don’t recognize genius when they see it you may well pay a lot of money only for them to downgrade your system.

One of the most powerful combinations we’ve leveraged somewhat regularly is PHP scripting routines against MSSQL systems on Windows servers. Combine the power of CLI PHP with Windows’ Task Scheduler, libraries like CURL and Sockets, and we accomplish things that other shops have flat out claimed impossible.

So unless you, as a customer, are narrow-minded, then it is best not to hire a narrow-minded development shop that will treat you like a child while they themselves waste your money.

Are you a Monoglot?

Technology is like a religion for some. If it ain’t in their language it must “suck”. We may be able to thank headhunters and job descriptions for this unnecessary level of specialization. Jobs often come with a laundry list of specific required skills and those specific skills are either the result of a monoglot project leader or the preference of the previous developer. Either way requiring 15 years of .NET programming experience is a sure way to weed out some great prospective brain power. (as well as any honest candidates in this case since .NET hasn’t been around that long)

We often steer folks away from .NET implementations for the simple reason that compiled languages add an unnecessary layer of complexity to the production process & have caused a nightmare for maintainers. I personally love writing C# but can’t recommend it for a web site. Not when interpreted languages are so powerful and often perform better than the .NET VM.

However the title of “sucks” is reserved for a handful of technologies whose developers knew exactly what they were doing. Making products purposely limited to control the user base does suck in the tyrannical, Godwin’s law, way. That’s all I’ll say about that for now.

However, if you are a polyglot you may be a dying breed. Unless you’re careful that work you’re doing now will be the only work you ever learn to do. The more specific your experiences are the less adaptable your solutions will be. Then one day you’ll say, without any embarrassment: “I don’t know how to do that.” … If you are a real technologist that sentence had better be followed by: “ … but I’ll figure out how.” … if it is not, you are probably a monoglot, and you may well find yourself cursed with the ungraceful miasma of obsolete skills. Perhaps your employer will “keep” you because of your obsolete skills, but you’ll be stuck, and it will suck. You’ll rot in your office chair anxious for the day you can retire.

Polyglots like us have the gigantic benefit of never becoming obsolete, we are edge cutters, we aren’t afraid of new stuff, we assimilate new technologies like Cheerios. Polyglots are cool, and we may make a hobby of antagonizing the Monoglots (or “fanboys”) but our license is our knowledge. We can rip on the things we know, it’s what the “fanboys” don’t know that make them entertaining.

If you are a monoglot, stop it. Stop it now! Then you’ll get the joke.

Quality Assurance

As the cost of Sony’s failure to recognize a dysfunctional development team reaches estimates of over $4 billion we hope that corporations all over the planet are taking note. Among the the other winners of the most dysfunctional quality assurance processes Amazon’s cloud is also near the top. Amazon’s low standards are evident at just a glance, however ugly doesn’t always mean insecure. Then there are Apple developers who are being sued for using Apple’s toolkit. Doing it the way Apple told them to now makes them liable to monetary damages? Brilliant.

Being positioned the way we are VeraciTek regularly gets calls from recruiters. Most of them Asian, and many of them quite confused about what we do here. So the phone rings an average of 3 times a day with job offers from corporations using head hunter agencies to supplement their workforce. It has proven quite revealing. Not only are these folks confused, but they are in mass production mode. We decided to make the most of these calls to try to gauge some details about what process these corporations think will provide them with quality services. The result has been astounding.

Firstly, as we already mentioned, these “recruiters” are in mass production mode. They talk fast, and they are looking for keywords. Without exception they fail to answer correctly even the most simple IT questions, and often have requirements that are impossible. When was the last time you met someone with 15 years of .NET programming experience?

Secondly, almost without exception, these corporations reject the possibility of telecommuting. They want a warm body in a cube. Despite the indisputable fact that the office environment is counterproductive in almost every way for highly skilled programmers. I suppose if they don’t know what you’re doing they can at least watch you doing it. We exhausted this angle because we thought there may be potential of injecting our services in place of such a role, however this is not an option in what claims to be a “tech savvy” environment. At least not yet.

Finally, the projects usually range from 4-12 months but they call them “full time” positions. We are stumped as to how they have come to the conclusion that if they just hire a programmer that in 4-12 months their project will be done. Who exactly made that estimate? We did get asked to be on a team of 5 meant to conquer a request in 3 months. The titles of each of these members were very specific too. “Web Designer, with CSS experience.”, “Senior C# .NET programmer with experience in the health care industry.”, “2 Junior C# .NET programmers”, and the cornerstone role, “.NET Business Analyst”. What is a .NET Business Analyst?

Now back to Sony. Where did they get their “talent”? How many of those developers where actually capable of the keywords they put on their resumes? Again, where is the brilliant young guy who told them months or even years ago that the process was not working? Wherever you are we’d like to meet you. You’re just the kind of developer we want working with us. As for the rest of that team happily averaging a line of code per week through the BNDP (bureaucratic nightmare development process), wonder where they are? Hopefully not building your company’s next killer app.