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!

The Evolving Modern SoftwareDevelopment Team

The Evolving Modern Software Development TeamThroughout its over half century of existence, the process of software development continues to evolve. Technological advancements are obvious, as faster processors and other innovations like new programming languages, databases, and automation impact the industry. Of course, we regularly cover the impacts ushered in by modern methodologies, especially Agile and DevOps.

Here is a quick overview of a typical organization – tools, methodology, languages – within the modern software engineering world. Use the information within as food for thought on your team’s development efforts. How does your company stack up against the new norm?

Commonalities amongst Today’s Software Engineering Companies

InfoWorld recently analyzed what similarities and standards are emerging within today’s software development shop. There’s no denying the importance of collaboration and communication in this era of DevOps. Reflecting this trend, software teams are increasingly using chat tools, like Slack, instead of email to communicate.

Source control is another important function within any software engineering team. Earlier this century, code repositories like Source Safe, PCM, and CVS were the rage. These days, Git holds a dominant status due to its support for distributed version control. Sometimes, members of a development team may reside on different continents, and Git seamlessly supports this geographic separation.

The Number of Macs in Development Shops is growing

The PC – most likely running Windows – continues to be widely used at software engineering companies. However, the number of Macs is increasing over time. This is especially true at shops building mobile apps for the iOS and Android platforms. Dumb terminals and punch cards remain the ancient artifacts of the early days of computer programming.

What about Issue and Bug Tracking?

According to InfoWorld, Jira is the leading tool when it comes to software project management, as well as functionality to provide issue and bug tracking. Its easy integration with a variety of other applications, especially source control software, is a major reason for its popularity. Considering Jira’s age, other applications, like Basecamp and Open Project, are growing in usage.

The Engine that powers DevOps

As DevOps emerges as a software industry standard, tools to manage the entire process, especially continuous delivery, are becoming more important. InfoWorld considers Jenkins to be the “engine that powers DevOps.” A free and open source application, Jenkins automates many aspects of DevOps, including builds, tests, and deployment.

Like Jira, the fact it integrates so well with other applications remains one of the reasons for its popularity. The price doesn’t hurt either! Travis-CI and Bamboo are two other continuous deployment tools worthy of note.

The Latest Trends in Software Development

InfoWorld also identified three emerging trends in software engineering, and they are all areas we’ve talked about on the Blog. Container tools – most notably Docker – have essentially become a best practice for modern software development. ChatOps is another one, letting teams use a chat interface to communicate with coworkers while also performing builds, tests, and deployments.

Machine Learning is their third trend, reflecting the growing importance of AI to help analyze massive datasets, among other relevant uses. How does your own team stack up against InfoWorld’s proverbial modern software development organization?

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional insights from an ever-changing software development world.