Author Archives: dylanbrowncs

Front end vs Back end Article

https://www.altexsoft.com/blog/front-end-development-technologies-concepts/

The frontend of an api or web system is the visual representation/interface that is seen and used by visitors, customers, etc. You interact with the frontend through your browser so frontend development is very important for any online website or service. When creating the frontend of a system the developers use HTML, CSS and Javascript which are the same tools used to make web apps. Frontends are very different from backends as the user does not see the backend or really necessarily interact with it. The backend is what happens on/in what it is developed for. Backends govern the functions and any operation that takes place within the system.

Backends are developed using different languages based on the developer or customers preferences. The backend also consists of the web server and storage of the system which it supports. But even though the backend contains what makes the site/app function, the front end is still just as important as it is what is presented directly to the users. Through mainly html front ends bring the actual user experience into play and help to dictate the functionality of a website even though the frontend is not directly involved in the execution of the functions.

I chose this article as it was very helpful when it comes to understanding what exactly a front end is and why it is important when developing something such as an app or website as it truly is the entire user experience. The user experience overall can make or break an app or any other type of programming which requires a front end and therefore the front end development process is very important.

I feel as though an article like this would be helpful not only to myself but to my peers as it thoroughly explains what a front end is as well as what a backend is. This helps fully differentiate the two so that there is no confusion in the development stages of either. Both frontends and backends are similar but also drastically different in how they are developed and the purpose they serve. This article helps to differentiate the two and helps the reader gain an understanding of what is included in each in order to develop an effective system that thrives for both the developers of the system and the users of the system. I would recommend this article to anyone questioning the difference between frontend and backend as well as anyone wondering how to develop an effective api in general.

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

Concurrency

https://www.vogella.com/tutorials/JavaConcurrency/article.html

This article discusses the use of Concurrency in Java. As defined in the article Concurrency is “the ability to run several programs or parts of a program in parallel”. Concurrency is meant to cut down on time and make a program or programs more effective and easier to use together. The article describes how Java uses several threads to “parallel process” or behave asynchronously which ultimately makes the application run faster and smoother. Concurrency is all about the performance gain in the application, this gain can be calculated using “Amdahls Law” which tells you the maximum performance gain.

According to the article a Java program runs its processes in one thread (by default) through javas “Thread Code” which is also capable of allowing multiple threads through the Thread class. Through threads you use the synchronize keyword in order to define which methods or code should be executed by one single thread. The synchronized keyword provides specific sections of code with a “lock” and any code protected by this lock will be executed by one thread instead of multiple. The memory of threads communicates with the memory of the application through the “java memory model” which also allows the thread memory to refresh itself with the main memory.

I chose this article as it goes into depth about the subject of Concurrency and helps students like myself understand what exactly concurrency is and what the purpose or use of concurrency is. Concurrency is a complex subject as it involves the thread class which isnt commonly used by beginners in java and it involves new keywords not previously learned. The article goes into detail about threads and what exactly they do/why they are important and it also tells you the exact purpose of concurrency which is program efficiency i.e. speed, correctness, etc.

I actually learned quite a bit from this article. I already knew the general idea/concept of concurrency and what it is but as far as the more in depth information which was provided like threads, synchronize and volatile I never knew exactly what each part was and what they each entailed. This article was organized very well and provides the reader with the necessary information in order to learn about and work with concurrency in their own code. Overall the article was very helpful and I would recommend it to other students as it explains the subject very well.

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

Rest API Design

https://swagger.io/resources/articles/best-practices-in-api-design/

The article I’ve chosen is based on Rest API Design, a topic that we are currently working on in class. Many important parts of Rest API Design are talked about throughout the article some of them being Rest API Design characteristics, collections and their resources, HTTP methods and more. According to the article a good api should be easy to read, complete/concise and hard for a user to misuse which is all important not only for integration of the api but also when using an api with any kind of application that it was designed for. Collections, resources and URLs are also very important to designing an effective Rest API as collections and resources allow the passing of data throughout the API and its functions. Using the proper URL helps you manipulate which data is shown at a specific time whether its the data of a specific user or an error code.

Describing the purpose or function of resources is also very important and it is done through the use of different HTTP methods. The methods listed in the article include get, post, put, patch and delete. Each of these HTTP methods is used to retrieve, create, update or delete resources. ANother way to develop a good rest API according to the article is by providing feedback for users by implementing error codes when the API is used incorrectly whether there is error in an entry by the user or if the user uses the incorrect operation when entering data. The responses you provide or error codes can help users and yourself understand your API better which will also help you when testing the functions of your API so you know how any commands or entries should be formed during use. The author also highlights that using examples in your get methods is important as it shows exactly what the user can expect when they “successfully call the API function”.

I chose this article as I found it helpful with our current class topic and it outlines all the basics of Rest API design and helps student developers like myself and my classmates better understand how to effectively design a Rest API. This article helped me understand the use of HTTP methods further as well as the importance of examples and resources which helps greatly with our current class subject. The article helps put the design of Rest API’s in an easily presentable state for students or other people in general who are interested in developing such an API.

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

Architecture

https://martinfowler.com/architecture/

This article on software architecture from Martin Fowler asks the questions “What is architecture?” and “Why does architecture matter?”. The answers are justified through the article which begins with why he does not always like using the term architecture but he accepts it because he believes a good architecture supports programming evolution. Fowler believes that architecture should be defined as “Architecture is about the important stuff. Whatever that is”. Fowler explains that the sole definition of what architecture is has been a debate among computer scientists for a long time but that the definition he puts in this article is the result of a conversation between himself and another professional named Ralph Johnson.

Although Fowler’s definition is his own and very simple it makes sense just like many other computer scientists “definitions” of software architecture. Clearly architecture can be defined in many different ways according to who you ask for a definition but Fowler also states that architecture is important because bad architecture will affect a system in different ways including being harder to modify, having more bugs when updated and these updates/new features being released slower which impacts the customer for which the system was designed. 

Fowler also discusses two different types of architecture which are application and enterprise architecture. Application architecture is based on an “application” which in Fowler’s words is a body of code perceived as a single unit by developers. Enterprise architecture is based on larger amounts of code which work independently from one another in different systems but all used by one company or “enterprise”.

I chose this article as it takes more of a thoughtful approach to the concept of software architecture and in part helps the reader open their understanding of the subject to different “definitions” of the concept which can help when developing software architecture in the future. I feel as though this article would be helpful to anyone in the programming field as it gives you multiple perceptions of architecture, what it is, and why it is important.

This article taught me the general idea of both application and enterprise architecture. I was able to see what Fowler and Johnson viewed architecture as and why they viewed it that way when other computer scientists may define or view architecture in a different light. I learned that architecture itself is very complicated and cannot be defined under one singular definition as it fits many different definitions for many different people in computer science.

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

UML Diagramming

Unified Modeling Language otherwise known as UML is one of many different modeling languages/types used in programming. The purpose of modeling languages such as UML is to show the structure of code in order to better understand it. Widespread use of UML started in 1997 when it was adopted as a “standard”. UML is used with object oriented programming and is separated into two different categories (Structural and Behavioral Diagrams). Structural Diagrams show static aspects of code while Behavior diagrams show the dynamic parts of code. 

Some concepts listed that are a big part of UML are Class, objects, inheritance, abstraction, encapsulation, and polymorphism; all of these are directly related to object oriented programming. A few types of structural uml diagrams are class diagrams which show static structure, composite diagrams which show internal code structure and show how the code being analyzed acts when it comes to the rest of the program, an object diagram shows what instances are in code and their relations/associations, component diagrams show the organization of a systems physical components. Some Behavior diagrams from uml are state machine diagrams which represent the “state” of the system, Activity diagrams show a systems control, sequence diagrams show interactions between the objects. 

I chose this article as we have worked on UML diagrams in class and this article is structured well and tells the readers what exactly UML is without overloading them with information. Readers are presented with what UML is and different ways it is used to show many different things involved in object oriented programming. The site which the article is on also has multiple other articles which show readers more complex aspects of UML so if they want to dive deeper into the subject they are free and able to do so without having to look for another website for the desired information. 

I liked this article because of its simple format and feel that it helped me when working on assignments regarding uml even though we mainly went over class diagrams knowing the other types of diagrams and what they are used for was interesting and even helpful to me in understanding the significance of class diagrams. Each diagram in UML has a “specialty” you could say as each different diagram type maps out something different and even with class diagrams being rather simple they can help you understand the benefits that UML provides for software based fields.

https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/unified-modeling-language-uml-introduction/?ref=lbp

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

Code Smells

https://jserd.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40411-017-0041-1

A code smell is used to see or detect issues in code. There are many tools used by different developers in order to make the detection of code smells easier and faster. Aswell as being used to detect more general issues in code developers can also use code smells to help them know when refactoring of code would be beneficial. Code smells most frequently represent issues with maintainability (future or present) or comprehensibility if a developer refactors their code these issues will either take a much smaller form or they can be non-existent.

This article focuses on three of the many code smells and what each of them mean. One code smell outlined in this article is the “God class” code smell, this code smell tells the developer that class contains too much code/information or that the methods inside of the class are used to do too much. Which as the article says violates the “single responsibility principle”. The “God Method” code smell is described as when a method is assigned too much functionality which makes it hard to maintain. This code smell also “tends to centralize the functionality of a subsystem” according to the article. Lastly “Feature Envy is a code smell which shows that a method is more influenced or interested in a class other than its own.

The three code smells outlined in the article are some of the most frequently detected and can be detected without using a specific code smell detection tool. Some well known detection tools listed by the author are “inFusion, JDeodorant, PMD and JSpIRIT” all four of these tools are free or can be used on a trial. All four tools can be used to analyze Java and are known to at least detect the three code smells from the article. But other tools can be used or be more effective depending on the language you use to code or the code smell present in the code.

I chose this source (article) as it is easy to follow but also relatively in depth about the general definition of code smells as well as giving a list of tools used for code smell detection which other students as well as myself could find helpful in future classes or the professional world. This article showed me what tools I should be using to detect code smells in my own code and the reason as to why code smells are important to address/fix by way of refactoring and I plan on using this article or reflecting back to it when I need to find a tool for detecting code smells in the future.

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

Strategy Pattern Design Article

https://refactoring.guru/design-patterns/strategy

This article shows the “intent” of the strategy design pattern and how to successfully use it when refactoring code which is our current class topic. According to the article the strategy pattern (a behavioral design pattern in CS helps define a group of algorithms in separate classes which will effectively use each other’s objects.

One of the larger issues addressed by using the strategy pattern helps keep the main class from growing into a more complex mess. The strategy pattern allows for a developer to take/extract a class that has different functions and funnel them into a new class which is what this pattern refers to as a strategy.

Interfaces are commonly used with the strategy pattern in order to communicate with the other “strategies” that you previously extracted from the main class. The use of interfaces in the strategy pattern also allows your code to switch between algorithms at run time by using sub objects that perform their own tasks.

I chose this article as I feel it gives readers like myself a good general understanding of how to use and implement the strategy pattern. The article effectively shows you when you should or should not use the strategy pattern along with the pros and cons of using it. Similarities between the strategy pattern and other patterns it also outlined in the article which helps you tell the patterns apart and when you should use one pattern over another.

This article from refactoring guru has helped me to better understand the strategy pattern as a whole and helped me gain a somewhat smaller but still important understanding of some aspects of other design patterns (for example command and state). There are also examples of the strategy pattern being used in different coding languages found under the “Relations with Other Patterns” section.  I plan to use the information in this article to help me understand the Strategy pattern more in current and future assignments as well as in my professional career whenever I may need to refactor code through the different design patterns.

Overall I believe the general understanding of the strategy pattern gained from this article can help myself and any other student that may be having trouble with the topic or even someone who is just curious and would like to learn more about design patterns as their are articles on the other design patterns on the same website that can be accessed easily through links near the end of the page.

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

Object Oriented Programming Podcast

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/object-oriented-programming/id1457402220?i=1000521718007

This podcast directly relates to our class as its main topic is Object Oriented Programming. The speaker starts off explaining that Object orientated programs are made of objects which interact with each other. These Programs are class based and in object oriented programming the objects are instances of the classes and their types are determined by said classes. Many different coding languages are used in object oriented programming such as Java, and Python because they support object programming which the speaker says is in combination with procedural programming. Most languages that support object programming are multi paradigm and contain variables which store information in a lower amount of data types for example integers which can include strings or lists. Methods used in object programming take inputs and generate outputs based on the data used which can be attributed to loops and conditionals. In object programming you can group methods into files (or modules) to help keep your program organized. The files or modules that you use will not conflict with methods or variables in a different file that may share the same name. The languages that support object programming are known for using inheritance in order to reuse previous code (classes). Classes contain the methods and data used in the code and they also contain class functions including the classes objects and instances. According to the podcasts author objects can at times correspond to things in the real world, the example he uses is when a graphics program uses shapes like circles or squares or when a shopping website uses a “shopping cart”. While some objects represent things relating to the real world other objects represent things that are more abstract like a file or a translation of some sort. Object programming is based on the concept of objects and the data they contain whether it be methods, data fields, etc. If you use an object to organize unlike classes that is not object oriented programming, you are meant to use objects to organize data that has similarities. An object being an instance of a class will contain methods which contain variables, the variables in objects still belong to the class and can also be called class variables. A variable can also be solely attached to the object and it will be called an instance variable. Class methods only have access to variables contained in the class but ther can also be instance methods which like instance variables belong to an object and they only have access to the instance variables for the specific object. Objects also provide a layer of abstraction which separates internal and external code. Objects can be called upon by the code using the method and parameters for the object, you must call a constructor to call upon an object. In some languages objects can be composed by using traits, class based languages instantiate the objects with the classes while in prototype languages there are no classes and objects are their own entities. The Podcast explains the basics of Object Oriented Programming and the different languages and components used.

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

Introduction

My name is Dylan Brown and I am a Computer Science major. I will be using this blog as a way to document accomplishments and assignments through my courses and afterwards.

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