Author Archives: csrenz

Sprint 1 Retrospective

In this blog, I will be talking about our first sprint retrospective. My team is working on making free food pantry software.  In the first few days of class, we were doing research on different food pantry software. There was not much we could find that is open source and free which kinda sucks since food pantries are not for profit. Since these softwares are not free, we could not even demo them, therefore it was hard to get an idea on what this software should look like and what functionalities it should have.

After getting assigned into teams, our first sprint started. The first day we all sat together, there was some initial set up that we had to do so that we could communicate with each other and have tasks assigned to each of the members. We set up a task board using trello, joined the slack group for our team, and shared everyone’s contacts and git usernames. In our second meeting, we were trying to figure out where to start. We know that we were working on a food pantry software but we were not sure as to what we should actually be doing since other colleges are working on the same software as well. Then I saw on the slack channel that the other channel that they needed a REST API. So we started planning.

The first thing that we talked about is what functionality this REST API would have. The only thing we know is that we need this API to read a JSON file from the USDA’s website. After looking through the file, there was a lot of information about food and their expiration and some other stuff like tips on cooking or if they need to be refrigerated. Since we know that we are gonna be hosting this API we discussed on where to host it. There were a couple of options but we settled with Heroku since there is a free tier option although it might be a slower service since it has a thirty seconds time out when your API is not being used. Then we talked about which language we are gonna use. Researching about reading a JSON file, most of the tutorials were in Java and since we all have experience using Java, we have settled on it. The next thing was setting up an initial commit on gitlab for our project. Most of it was done by Sean and he was handling most of the task board as well. While the others work on figuring out how to host our API on Heroku.

To host a Java application on Heroku you need three things:

  1. Java 8* 
  2. Maven 3*
  3. Heroku CLI and an Account

After that, we researched how to read and write a JSON file. We are using JSON.simple to parse the foodkeeper.json file.

Steps I took:

  1. Download JSON.simple jar file
  2. Import the jar file into Eclipse by adding it to your project’s build path
  3. Added json.simple dependency into the pom.xml file
    1. <dependency>

There are a few tips on reading the JSON file.  JSON file consists of array and objects so you just have to create an object or an array depending on what you are trying to get.

ex. Array [], Object {}

A JSON file might have something like this:

“sheets”: [
“name”: “Version”,

“data”: [

That means that there is an array called sheets, and an object inside the array called “name”. You can get to it by creating a JSON object first and then creating a JSON array like this:

Object obj = new JSONParser().parse(new FileReader(“foodkeeper.json”));

JSONObject jo = (JSONObject) obj;
JSONArray sheets = (JSONArray) jo.get(“sheets”);

We still have a lot to do, so hopefully, on the next sprint we could implement and get all the necessary information from the JSON file and have methods to return them as an object or as a JSON file.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Computer Science by csrenz and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Concrete Skills

This week’s blog is about Concrete Skills from the Apprenticeship Patterns book. It talks about what to do when you are looking for a role on a talented team that will provide you with better practice and enhances your learning, but sometimes these teams do not want to be bothered. Sometimes, having a new hire means you are going to be teaching them again from the beginning and these new hires do not offer anything to the company or team yet since they do not know how things work. This section of the book talks about how to deal with it.

In this section, they talked about concrete skills. They said that it is important to have some concrete skills so that you will be trusted to contribute indirectly until you start to gain their trust. It will help reassure your team members that you can be put to good use rather than being a burden that they have to babysit. They added skills like writing build files in various languages, basic web design, JavaScript, and knowing some standard libraries in the language of choice.

I find it interesting that the book suggests that you look at the CVs of the people whose skills you respect and identify the skills noted on the CV and determine which of these skills would be useful on the team that you want to join. Implement these skills on your own project, make sure that you know how to do them and how they work.

I completely agree with this pattern. I think knowing some concrete skills will come a long way when looking for a job or when starting one. You can’t always rely on your team to teach you stuff and they can’t also just ask you to do things that you have never done before right away since they are also working on stuff and not just there to babysit you. They will expect you to work and you have to prove to them that you are capable of being on the team. That’s why I think having concrete skills is good.


From the blog cs-wsu – Computer Science by csrenz and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Unleash Your Enthusiasm

For this week’s individual apprenticeship pattern, I chose Unleash Your Enthusiasm. This pattern talks about how to handle the enthusiasm you have for work. As a software developer, you will most likely work as part of a team. Most teams are not as passionate or overly enthusiastic about technologies anymore. Most of them are focused on delivering the next project and trying to improve aspects of the development life cycle that are causing them hindrances. That is why sometimes, unleashing your enthusiasm can get people rolling their eyes on you. Some teams are particularly not welcoming of newcomers. You should be careful when unleashing your enthusiasm. It is best to observe the team first.

I found it interesting that unleashing your enthusiasm is in the pattern. I was never really an enthusiastic person, I am more on the analyze first before I do anything side when it comes to enthusiasm. I am actually envious of enthusiastic people since they just speak their minds out and seem to not care what would happen. I always thought that being an enthusiastic person was really great but after reading this pattern it makes sense that you should be careful when unleashing your enthusiasm. Some people do not want to get bothered while working and can get easily annoyed by people asking them questions all the time. But there are also the opposites who loves hearing questions and giving you advice on what to do.

This pattern has caused me to think about ways to approach different people in the team. I think most teams have a diversity of behaviors and some would be welcoming than the other. I think that trying to get the feel for your team before you unleash your enthusiasm would be the best solution to this problem.

I totally agree with this pattern. I think it is good to know that not everybody is willing to listen to you and that you should approach the team carefully. I think you should still be enthusiastic, just be mindful of others. This pattern would definitely help anyone, not just software developers in their life.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Computer Science by csrenz and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Why Doctors Hate Their Computers

This blog is about the article “Why Doctors Hate Their Computers” in the New Yorker by Atul Gawande. The article talks about the complications the doctors encountered after upgrading the electronic medical record system they used to Epic.

There were some tensions that caused the system to make doctors’ lives harder than easier. It became more political than technical. Staff and doctors had different views on what should be included. Now they added more questions that are “field required” that doctors used to skip that added more time to finish. Another tension was that different doctors can modify a patients profile. Three people will list the same diagnostic in different ways. Some will just list what is required just so the system does not alert them, some are not useful to the doctors who need to know a specific diagnosis.

I agree with Gregg Meyer. He said that “But we think of this as a system for us and it’s not,”  “It is for the patients.” After reading the article, it really seems like it was not made for doctors but for the patients. It was made in a way that every patient should have a record on every required field which made it harder for the doctors to do their work. The system was also used so that patients can log into it to look up their lab results, remind them of the medications they are supposed to take and read the doctors note to the patients. There are more patients than doctors so I think Epic was made so that the patients can easily access it. 


This article was long but it was interesting to read. As someone who is trying to work on the field of software development, I found it interesting how important it was to know the customers we are building it for. I think for us developers, it is easy to make a system that we could understand and use relatively easy, but without the perspective of the end user or the real customer for these systems, it might not be the same scenario for them. There are still a lot of people who are not tech savvy. This lesson of implementation of this system does not only apply to Electronic Medical records systems. For example, there is a show called Silicon Valley, where they made this software for a middle-out compression solution. It was the talk of the town. It was the fastest algorithm at the time. The developer asked his friends (other developers) to look at the finished product, and they all liked it. Then the time came when they were trying to release the software. They had ordinary people testing the software and they couldn’t understand how to use it and what it does. They had to teach them for weeks and there were only a couple testers who learned from it. Moral of the story was the same in the article, for us developers, we have to pretend that we do not know anything about our system sometimes and see if it is friendly enough for others.

From the blog cs-wsu – Computer Science by csrenz and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Your First Language

This blog is about the first pattern in the Apprenticeship Patterns book by Adewale Oshineye and Dave Hoover called Your First Language.

This chapter was about picking your first language as a programmer. Picking your main language is difficult. There are so many languages out there that it is really hard to weigh the pros and cons of each of them. But you have to pick one since obtaining your first job will most likely depend on your proficiency in a specific programming language.

This chapter offers different solutions to this problem. One is to have an actual problem and solve it using the language that you chose. Instead of just following tutorials and examples in a book, solving an actual problem provide your first feedback loop. One other suggestion that they have is to write simple tests to check your understanding of the language. Since test-driven development techniques are so popular nowadays, it is impossible not to find a language that does not have a testing framework. It is a great way of learning how other people’s libraries work. One can always learn about a language and try to be proficient in that specific programming language, but it is still important to find a mentor.

I thought it was interesting how they kind of emphasize on having a mentor for your first programming language. Since we keep using different languages throughout the course, it was hard to find and settle on your first programming language. Not to mention, finding a mentor. Finding my first programming language is still a problem even now. I still cannot seem to settle on one language to master since each of them offers different specialties. This pattern has caused me to change the way I think. Since I always try to learn something new, I never really “specialized” on something. My mind is usually all over the place and I am always trying to learn new things. But, the problem is that I never mastered anything. I always seem to only learn the basics and then move on to different things. After reading this chapter, I want to try and settle on one language try to be better at it before moving on to other things.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Computer Science by csrenz and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Apprenticeship Patterns Ch 1 and Ch 2-6 Introductions

The book Apprenticeship Patterns by Adewale Oshineye and Dave Hoover is written for software apprentices who have experience in developing software and want to take it to the next level but need some guidance. The concept of the book is based on the medieval craft model where there are apprentices who are inexperienced/beginners who help the journeymen and the masters do their work.

After reading the first few paragraphs of the introduction chapter, I thought to myself, this system of apprenticeship is similar to what we have right now. You have the apprentices interns/new hires, the journeymen or the people that are already working are experienced, then the master or the manager but in a different way. Since now, you do not have to go through years and years of training to be able to do what someone in a higher position is doing. Sometimes people are hired as a manager right away.

I really like the part where they talk about what they meant by software craftsmanship cause they talked about the different core values not just in software development but also in life. They said that it is a “community of practice united and defined by overlapping values”.  One of the values that they talked about was a need to always be adapting and changing. This applies to everything. The world is constantly changing and we need to adapt to it or else we would be left behind. They also talked about the belief that it is better to share what we know. This is really important in the software industry. You can see how most Open Source Softwares are successful because it is made for the community so there are more people who are willing to work on it. These are just some of the values that were listed in the book.

The introduction in each chapter of the book was also enjoyable and insightful. It was full of philosophical stories. The first one was about “emptying your cup”. It talks about how you should open up yourself to the different approaches of a more experienced colleague. It is often hard to get rid of our habits. I think that even though we think we know what we are doing, it is important that we respect and acknowledge that others are more experienced than us and that we should be open to new things.

The introduction of Chapter 3 was the most relevant to me. They talked about how if you think you are good at doing something, there is always someone better than you. In high school, since I did not know much English and the school system here in America, they put me in classes that were easy. After a few months, I lost interest in school and studying. I was not learning anything. This puts me in a state of mind where I think I am better than my classmates and that I do not have to go to school. But then, the year after, they put me on more advanced classes and I was challenged but, at the same time happy to know that there are way more people who are better than me.

I really enjoyed reading the introductions to each chapter. It seems to prepare us and set our mindset in the right direction before we learn the different patterns that are in the book.



From the blog CS@Worcester – Computer Science by csrenz and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

CS448 Introduction

This is just an introduction.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Computer Science by csrenz and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Test-Driven Development

For this week’s blog, I am choosing test-driven development what is and what it is not by Andrea Koutifaris.

Test-driven development(TDD) is a software development process that relies on the repetition of a very short development cycle. First, developers write a failing test case then produces the minimum amount of code to pass that test and finally refactors it to acceptable standards.

There are three processes that are often described using TDD: Red/Green/Refactor cycle.

Red phase

In the red phase, you write a test that uses a piece of code as if it were already implemented. Without implementation and not thinking about production code, this phase is where you concentrate on writing a clean interface for future users and where you design how your code will be used by clients. The Red phase is the most important phase and it is the rule that makes TDD different from regular testing. You write tests so that you can write production code and not test your code.

Green Phase

For developers, the green phase is probably the easiest part of a TDD. This is the part where you write code but not the whole implementation, just enough for the test to pass. Make all the alarming red on the test report becomes green. In this phase, you do not need to worry about violating best practices since we will do that in the Refactor phase. This phase exists to make your task simpler and less prone to error.

Refactor Phase

In this phase, you are allowed to change the code while keeping the tests green. But there is something mandatory, that you have to remove code duplication. In this phase, you can worry about algorithms and such to make the program better. This is the phase where you can show off your skills to your users.


I really liked reading this blog and I kind of liked the idea of Test-Driven Development. I think doing it this way creates more code coverage and thus fewer bugs later on. This kind of development is a bit unique to me since I have only done behavior-driven development so far. Test-driven development changed my mind in a way. I think that doing test-driven development is more beneficial, kind of like reverse engineering, we start from something that we know is gonna work then proceed from there.


From the blog CS@Worcester – Computer Science by csrenz and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Test Case VS Test Scenario

For this week’s blog, I chose to read the Test Scenario VS Test Case from the softwaretestinghelp website.

Test Case – a concept which provides detailed information on what to test, steps to be taken and what the expected result would be. It is more about documenting details. It’s important when testing is in another place than the development team. Easier to get the devs and QA team in sync. There is only a one-time documentation of all the test cases and can be easily tracked in the future. Test cases are also helpful to when reporting bugs. Testers have the reference to the case ID’s and do not require mentioning every detail of the case. It is also helpful to new testers since all the test are already laid out.  But it is time and money consuming as it requires more resources to detail everything.

Test Scenarios – a concept which provides a one-line information about what to test. It is more about thinking and discussions rather than listing everything. It is more important when you have a time constraint and most members understand what is happening.  It is better because it can save time and makes everybody think about what to test. A good test coverage can be achieved and it reduces repeatability.  But, if created by a specific reviewer or other users, they might not be in sync and cause confusions. This type of test also requires more discussion and team efforts.

I think this is a great read as it talks about the standard or old way of testing against the preferred testing by the new generation of software testing community. Test Case is the standard way of testing systems. While using a Test Scenario is new, it offers easier documentation when it comes to testing (assuming everybody understands what the system does). Although it seems like it is not beneficial since most companies change employees here and there, I can see test scenarios saving a lot of time just in the documentation. Learning about it opens up a lot of possibility in the way we think about testing but then again, there are already automated testing so test scenarios might not offer much in the future.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Computer Science by csrenz and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Integration Testing

In this week’s blog, I will be talking about Integration Testing from Software Testing Fundamentals.

The International Software Testing Qualifications Board definition:  Integration Testing is a test performed to expose defects in the interfaces and in the interactions between integrated components or systems.

Integration testing is a level of testing where units are tested as a group making sure they all work when put together. It is performed after Unit Testing and before System Testing. Developer themselves or independent testers are responsible for performing Integration Testing. There are different kind of approaches to Integration Testing:

  • Big Bang is an approach where all or most of the units are combined together to be tested in one go when the testing team receives the entire software bundle. Kind of like System Testing but it only tests the interactions between units and not the entire system.
  • Top Down is an approach where top-level units are tested first before the lower level ones.  This approach is taken when the development of the software was also from top to bottom.
  • Bottom Up it is basically like Top Down instead you go from the bottom to the top.
  • Sandwich/Hybrid is a combination of Top Down and Bottom Up.

I picked to read this blog because it offers useful analogies to make it easier to understand. There was also a gif at the bottom of the blog where it shows what happens when you do not do an Integration Testing. There were also tips on how to do Integration Testing properly. One of them was to “ensure that you have a proper Detail Design document where interactions between each unit are clearly defined. In fact, you will not be able to perform Integration Testing without this information.” I think that was pretty much the main point of that you have to take from Integration Testing. That you need to know how the system works or the design of it, else Integration Testing would not make any sense to do. Another take on from this blog is to make sure that every unit is unit tested before you start Integration Testing.

Lack of Integration Gif: GIPHY


From the blog cs-wsu – Computer Science by csrenz and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.