Author: Ryan Hayes

Azure Functions: Developer Infrastructure is the Sweet Spot

I recently gave a talk at TriDev about Azure Functions, the serverless programming product from Microsoft. Azure Functions is basically functions as a service. You can basically write a single function in JavaScript or C# and it manages the entire infrastructure around it. You don’t need to worry about scaling, networking, load balancing, even containers. In my time evaluating it, one of the things I found was that the best and easiest application for easing into using Azure Functions is as part of your continuous delivery infrastructure.  A lot of times it’s scary to try new cloud services, or...

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Building Great Software Teams

Over the last decade I’ve worked with dozens of teams helping them work better as a team and individuals through mentoring and helping build infrastructure.  I recently gave a presentation that used Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and compared that to how you can build great developers on your team. Take a look at the slides below and get in touch if you’d like me to give this talk at your local meetup or...

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The Illusion of Code Quality

Code quality is something that I believe every developer strives for.  We want code to be the best it can be and there are tons of opinions on things developers can do to make quality high. Over the years as teams have moved to Agile from Waterfall, and as build and test automation has become better, a lot of the code quality metrics that experts have developed are becoming less helpful, or, dare I say, counter-productive. The larger a team gets, but more importantly, the higher turnover gets (developers leaving the team/company and new developers without context come on to the team/are hired), the harder it is for code to remain high quality over time. We’re all human, we can’t keep everything in our head, we can’t mind-read the original developer who left the company and wrote this code. The worst part is that we don’t know what we don’t know. We duplicate effort because we didn’t know there was a design document on Box, or we don’t go update it.  There’s also setup information on the Wiki that should be changed, but we’ve not asked anyone where it is yet, because we didn’t know to, so our sweeping changes to the project aren’t reflected there.  We’re also on a deadline, and there were already existing comments that StyleCop saw, and it can’t automatically tell me that something in my code is now out...

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Azure Bot Service and Why You Should Check It Out

At Build last year (2018) I had some free time and dropped into a chatbot presentation. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really care much about chatbots. I use them a bit in slack, but honestly, they aren’t overly helpful. “/giphy nick cage” will find a gif for me, but it’s usually faster to Google things, particularly when I’m at a keyboard. Skype and facebook bots, in general, have always felt more like a choose your own adventure book than typing to an actual person and, again, there are usually faster UIs for finding information like that. So why is Microsoft’s service for building chatbot’s so compelling to me now? I’ll give it to you with one word: Voice. This year I got 2 more Echo devices for my home, mostly for music, but also for getting calendar, weather, movie, and other info from anywhere in the main part of my house. I order stuff from Amazon, add things to my Wunderlist for shopping out later, and even call my wife sometimes from it. I’ve been a long-time fan of Siri on iOS and use it a ton to open things and get around the phone – and Google Assistant is even better on Android. I’ve also started using Cortana more to open things on my PC recently. All of this is to say that voice user experiences are becoming...

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