VsDebugFx - weakly-typed lambda expressions and LINQ in Visual Studio debugger

September 26, 2012

I’ve just published a little project of mine on GitHub, called VsDebugFx. It’s a NuGet package which you can install into your .NET project and get more expressiveness during your debugging sessions inside Visual Studio. It’ll let you evaluate expressions that use C# features which are not normally allowed by the IDE, namely: lambda expressions, anonymous types, LINQ queries and implicitly-typed arrays.

I don’t want to repeat myself (DRY anyone?), so if you’re interested in knowing more, go check out the README file about the project on GitHub.

Save Yourself Some Time When Watching Videos

September 7, 2012

Just stumbled upon a nice little program that allows you to change playback speed of any Flash/HTML5 video without affecting the pitch of the audio signal. It comes very handy when watching talks on TED, Vimeo, Channel9 and the likes and you want to either digest the content faster or have trouble understanding the speaker. Go grab it here: MySpeed.


Words of Wisdom on Open-Source Software Engineering

August 21, 2012

Note to self: review these quotes when you finally decide to get back to developing UberDeployer* and write something about it on the blog.

* UberDeployer is a little proof-of-concept tool I’ve coded at my current workplace that aims to provide an automated deployment (or maybe even continuous delivery) solution for more complex, enterprisey settings, where you have dozens of applications and services going through multiple staging environments and bureaucracy standing in your way.

All of the quotes below come from Eric Raymond’s essay titled “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”. Don’t be put off by the fact that this article dates as far as 1997 — this one is a timeless gem and I don’t know why I hadn’t stumbled upon it before.

I’ve emphasized three quotes that resonate with me the most at the moment when I think about starting an open-source endeavour. What are yours?

The Mail Must Get Through

1. “Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch.”

2. “Good programmers know what to write. Great ones know what to rewrite (and reuse).”

3. “Plan to throw one away; you will, anyhow.” (Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month, Chapter 11)

4. “If you have the right attitude, interesting problems will find you.”

5. “When you lose interest in a program, your last duty to it is to hand it off to a competent successor.”

The Importance of Having Users

6. “Treating your users as co-developers is your least-hassle route to rapid code improvement and effective debugging.”

Release Early, Release Often

7. “Release early. Release often. And listen to your customers.”

8. “Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix obvious to someone.” or “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” (Linus’s Law)

When Is a Rose Not a Rose?

9. “Smart data structures and dumb code works a lot better than the other way around.”

10. “If you treat your beta-testers as if they’re your most valuable resource, they will respond by becoming your most valuable resource.”

Popclient becomes Fetchmail

11. “The next best thing to having good ideas is recognizing good ideas from your users. Sometimes the latter is better.”

12. “Often, the most striking and innovative solutions come from realizing that your concept of the problem was wrong.”

13. “Perfection (in design) is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Fetchmail Grows Up

14. “Any tool should be useful in the expected way, but a truly great tool lends itself to uses you never expected.”

15. “When writing gateway software of any kind, take pains to disturb the data stream as little as possible and never throw away information unless the recipient forces you to!”

A Few More Lessons from Fetchmail

16. “When your language is nowhere near Turing-complete, syntactic sugar can be your friend.”

17. “A security system is only as secure as its secret. Beware of pseudo-secrets.”

The Social Context of Open-Source Software

18. “To solve an interesting problem, start by finding a problem that is interesting to you.”

19. “Provided the development coordinator has a communications medium at least as good as the Internet, and knows how to lead without coercion, many heads are inevitably better than one.”