News from the World of Software Development – November 2017

Welcome to this month’s edition of the Betica Blog news digest, looking at a few recent stories of interest to the software development community. With the Holidays rapidly approaching, it becomes time to ramp up the effort to successfully reach your organization’s year end goals. Perhaps the stories within provide a measure of insight to inspire your team? If interested in last month’s digest, simply click on the following link.

Is DevOps’ Maturity Level being exaggerated by CIOs?

We regularly talk about DevOps: its growing adoption rate, the advantages it brings to the software development process, strategies on how to implement it, and more. A recent study by the tech industry research group, Forrester, notes that executives exaggerate the maturity level of their DevOps adoption. ZDNet reported on the study findings earlier this week.

In short, Forrester feels CIOs overstate their progress at implementing DevOps. According to the research firm: “[businesses] are gaining some speed, but the primary benefit connecting development and operations for both speed and quality is still elusive for many.” A major issue hampering full adoption involves the large cultural changes that need to happen for a successful implementation.

Increasing the speed of software delivery is one thing, but sometimes additional velocity comes at a cost in overall quality. This appears to be another issue affecting the perception of DevOps maturity. In fact, different perspectives exist between CIOs and DevOps practitioners as far as the overall success of the practice at their business.

Another reason executives exaggerate their organization’s success level with DevOps relates to overestimating the number of automated processes in place in their software development practice. Automation remains a key indicator of DevOps adding value to a company, according to Forrester.

Ultimately, Forrester concludes that “[f]or an enterprise to implement DevOps successfully, both executives and practitioners need to understand the current maturity state. Executives and practitioners differ widely in their perspectives on strategy, customer experience and progress they have made on their DevOps journey. When pros and executives are on the same page, your business wins!”

Microsoft lets F# target .NET Core Projects

Microsoft introduced .NET Core in August, an open source version of its software framework; an example of Redmond’s friendlier stance towards the open source software community. The preview version of Visual Studio, the company’s flagship IDE, allows F# programmers to target .NET Core as well the standard version of the framework. News about this new VS feature appeared this week in Visual Studio Magazine.

F# is Microsoft’s largely functional programming language that includes a measure of object-oriented and imperative methodologies. The F# Software Foundation also contributed to its development and produced an open source compiler for the language.

Microsoft’s Phillip Carter commented on the new F# support for .NET Core. “Finally, we are laying the groundwork for a long-term effort of migrating all F# projects to the new project system that .NET Core and .NET Standard projects use,” said Carter. Microsoft maintains a repository for their open source F# compiler and other related tools on GitHub.

Uses for F# abound; the language is especially known for its brevity and ease of maintenance. For example, Credit Suisse relies on the language for writing quantitative models for the financial industry. Other applications include asset portfolio optimization, machine learning, business intelligence, and more.

Hopefully this edition of the Betica Blog news digest provided some insight to help in your daily duties. As always, thanks for reading!

A Source Code Search Engine makes Programming more Efficient

No matter your experience level as a software engineer, being able to quickly find code examples helps make your job a bit easier. Most developers know how to write a complex Google search query, as well as being able to navigate GitHub. Nonetheless, having a dedicated source code search engine offers the potential to become more efficient at writing software.

A nascent software developer feels the same way, and is working on a search engine dedicated to finding those valuable code snippets that inspire a solution to a pressing problem. This approach also offers the potential to make learning new languages an easier process. Let’s take a closer look at his efforts.

Learning New Programming and discovering New Functionality

After being exposed to software engineering as part of his college education, Canadian developer, Anthony Nguyen felt there had to be a better way to find relevant code examples. Sure, a Google search helps somewhat, but what about a dedicated search engine specifically for source code? Nguyen began work on SyntaxDB, a tool he hopes to someday be an essential part of any developer’s toolbox.

Michael Byrne first reported on Nguyen’s efforts earlier this year at Motherboard on Vice.com. If Nguyen makes SyntaxDB a success, it becomes another key to making the modern software development team work more efficiently. Interested developers are able to use this emerging resource today.

Byrne notes the tool’s utility for seeing how a common code pattern or piece of functionality gets written in an unfamiliar language. Considering the rapid rate of change in the software development world, new languages and functional libraries get introduced regularly. Having SyntaxDB at the ready helps to speed up the learning process for any programmer.

The Developer Community helping SyntaxDB build its Content

One current weakness noted by Byrne involves SyntaxDB’s relative lack of reference documentation. At the time of his article, it appeared Nguyen himself produced a lot of the internal content returned in the search results.

A robust community of developers willing to help add material to the SyntaxDB database has come to the rescue; potentially increasing the amount of content referenced by the search engine. It currently provides references to many popular languages, including Java, C, C++, C#, Ruby, Go, Swift, Python, and JavaScript.

Adding extensions to allow SyntaxDB to work within the most popular IDE’s is another way Nguyen needs support. He built one for Visual Studio Code and other contributor wrote one for Atom. Nguyen hopes to eventually integrate SyntaxDB into every major IDE and source code editor – a worthy goal, indeed.

Nguyen also wants input from other developers on how to refine the search engine’s interface. He also encourages developers to submit any corrections to the tool’s current source code examples. His current major project with SyntaxDB involves building an interface to easily allow content contributions from other software engineers.

With a goal of becoming the fastest programming reference in the world, Anthony Nguyen gives hope to developers struggling to learn a new programming language or simply how to do something new. Take some time to use SyntaxDB and offer feedback and even add some content of your own.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for further insights on the growing software development world. As always – thanks for reading!

Scale your Organization’s Cloud Operations using Fugue

While Cloud Computing continues to revolutionize the IT industry, DevOps supercharged the pace of this transformation over the last few years. Companies strive to achieve a competitive advantage by both improving efficiency and cutting costs, with Cloud-based technical infrastructures being a big part of this equation. Increasingly these firms use Fugue, an automated tool to assist in the governance of Cloud operations.

Let’s take a high level overview of Fugue and its functionality to see if it makes sense as part of your organization’s Cloud investment. If you are looking at turning DevOps into DevSecOps, it might be the perfect fit.

What is Fugue?

At its heart, Fugue provides automated services for regulatory compliance and corporate policies as they relate to a Cloud infrastructure. It uses a code-based model to facilitate this infrastructure management, thus lending itself to a higher level of regulation, especially at firms implementing DevSecOps. Companies use Fugue as the “single source of truth” when operating and managing their Cloud-based technical assets.

Fugue uses a classical music metaphor to describe its functionality. The programming language used in the application is called Ludwig. Individual programs are known as compositions, while the automation server is called the Conductor. Chef, another Cloud infrastructure management tool, uses food-based metaphors in a similar manner.

Ludwig offers a host of features suitable for software engineers, including types, code validation, and a module-based architecture, allowing complex designs to be broken down into individual abstractions. It facilitates collaboration as well as the documentation that is vital in a regulatory compliance scenario. Once again, this approach illustrates the blurring of technical roles which is a major aspect of DevOps itself.

Scenarios where using Fugue makes Sense

Organizations embracing DevOps with the hope of automating their Cloud operations make up the core of Fugue’s user community. It automates all aspects of CloudOps, including the creation, operation, and maintenance of any size infrastructure. As usage needs increase, the system scales in a seamless fashion – an important consideration in the modern technology world.

It also plays well with other DevOps tools used for Continuous Integration, including Jenkins, Travis, and CircleCI. This helps automate the entire lifecycle of any organization’s Cloud-based infrastructure. Ludwig compositions are also able to be stored in a source code repository, including Git and GitHub.     

The tool truly shines in the management of Cloud-based infrastructures where cybersecurity and regulatory compliance are highly important. As noted earlier, Ludwig makes the creation of vital system documentation an easy process. Fugue supports traditional IT processes relevant to compliance, like change control and policy enforcement – all in an automated fashion.

Companies with an investment in container technology, such as Docker, also benefit from being able to easily create and manage virtual Cloud-based environments. Fugue includes a “no-op” operational mode to properly vet any infrastructure changes before they go live in production. Remember that everything gets documented and stored in source control

In short, Fugue needs to be considered as a valuable tool by any company who relies on the Cloud for their technical operations. It is especially useful for organizations embracing DevSecOps or that require strong regulatory compliance. 

Keep returning to the Betica Blog for additional insights from the software development world. Thanks for reading!