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!

News from the World of Software Development – May 2017

Welcome to this month’s collection of a few interesting software development news stories from the last few weeks. If you want to check out April’s news digest, simply click on the following link. Hopefully, the content within this May digest offers a measure of insight for your software engineering activities. Good luck!

Agile making inroads in Government Software Development

Nearing its second decade of use, Agile is finally seeing wide adoption in software development at government agencies. Doug Robinson, the executive director of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) in the United States reported that 81 percent of state CIOs plan on increasing the usage of Agile and other iterative development methodologies at their shops. News about this Agile implementation growth appeared this week at CRN.

“We’re seeing a lot of excitement in the CIO world to be able to deliver projects on time and within budget using some type of agile methodology,” said Robinson. As government entities tend to be slow to embrace new technology methodologies, this growth in adoption is another obvious sign of the continued maturity of Agile.

Small Teams write more Secure Code

Teams with a small number of developers produce more secure applications compared to groups with more than 20 employees. That is one of the main conclusions from the recently released 2017 CRASH Report, published by CAST Software. As applications grow in size and complexity, they simply become too difficult to manage.

A chief scientist at CAST Software, Bill Curtis, commented on the survey’s findings. “Applications have gotten so big and complex that no single team can understand it all. It might have five or six languages, multiple databases, CRM systems, and you can’t understand all the interactions. That leaves teams making assumptions that in many cases are wrong,” said Curtis.

Shops wanting to write more secure code need to invest in the relevant training for their developers, while giving them the tools for performing both static and dynamic testing. Additionally, involving a third-party team in the final vetting of an application’s security offers a valuable second opinion before the code is deployed to production.

Microsoft switches to Git for Windows Code Source Control

Considering Microsoft’s investment in its own source control systems, it comes as somewhat of a surprise that the tech giant is migrating all the source code for its Windows operating system to the popular open source tool, Git. News about this move appeared this week in Ars Technica.

The reasoning behind this shift lies within Microsoft’s OneCore project which is aimed at simplifying the Windows codebase. Their previous source control solution for Windows, SourceDepot, was straining to handle the massive amount of source code involved, which includes 3.5 million files.

Redmond chose Git because of developer familiarity as well as its open source nature. The basic Git application needed to be updated to seamlessly handle the Windows source code. Microsoft created a fork in the Git code for this purpose and is talking with the other industry giants who use the app – Google and Facebook – about combining their efforts in the future.

Make a visit to the Betica Blog part of your daily routine before firing up your IDE in the morning. As always, thanks for reading!