Author Archives: Pawel Stypulkowski

Craft over Art

For this week’s pattern I have chosen “Craft over Art”. It describes of the pattern where you are given a problem and you are solving it for a customer. You can do it the simple and tested way or create a new solution that will let you express yourself as a programming artist and will look nice on the resume. It describes the conundrum of making something simple and useful right away or making something beautiful and complicated and not usable right away.

I have chosen this pattern because I have struggled with it many times before in my professional career. Many times have I been given a problem to solve for a customer and I had to decide to make it the quick and easy way that I already know will work, or should I do it some new, more complex way that can possibly save some time in the long run. The way that the “Apprenticeship Patterns” describes it should be done with a mix of both solutions, make it somewhat easy but tested way but with possible improvements. I think this is a good approach but there is a catch to it in my opinion, what is acceptable to the customer? Can they wait for a different, nicer way or quick, not totally efficient way will suffice? I think in the moments like that it is up to a Project Manager or the customer to decide and anybody working on this should act accordingly.

We as programmers and developers are in the end a service providers, unless we work for ourselves and do not have any hard deadlines, we need to stick to timelines and or project deadlines. What works and is tested very often is the right solution because time spent on implementing new solution can be something that ultimately may cause a project to fail and nobody wants that. The book also says that we as craftsmen need to provide at leas a minimal level of quality, and I think that if something is well defined and tested and works has that kind of quality. Why go for a new fancy way that might now work 100% of the time, or it requires a lot of time to be understood by somebody else. My boss likes to remind me that “if it is not broken do not fix it, because you will only cause more headaches to yourself and somebody who will work with my code later”.

From the blog #CS@Worcester – Pawel’s CS Experience by Pawel Stypulkowski and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

The White Belt

Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman by Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye is the book assigned to us in my Computer Science Capstone class, it seems like a rather interesting read from the first look I had at it. The book describes different problems and solutions that a lot of software developers struggle with at different times in their careers. It has a rather easygoing approach to those things and is a good read that should be done by every upcoming and experienced developer, in my opinion. I know I will read it.

I was blown away by the intro of the book, which is chapter 1, and then and chapter 2 made me read it all the way. It was hitting close to home in my professional development. It made me think about all the things I’m going through right now, how my enthusiasm for my job went down and how I do not learn new things as well as I used to. Especially the white belt part makes me read it over and over. I realized that I grew complacent in my current job status and the change that is coming soon does not make me excited about the new possibilities at all, the fact that I’m dreading learning new skills for work is rather laughable since that was the way I got to where I am today.

I can see how this book will be a very useful tool for anybody who works in software development. Just by glancing at the introductions of the other chapters I can see that it will definitely be a very good motivation and inspiration to move things along, either it be my schoolwork or professional work. Simple things like what the book describes, for example chapter 6: Construct Your Curriculum, have been put on hold for me because I thought I didn’t have to do much anymore and I was all set when it comes to my skillset.

I have a very good feeling about this book, and it purpose of inspiring people to grow as developers, it is very thought provoking and makes you think critically about yourself and the problem we all face. I will most likely read this whole book as soon as I can to increase my enthusiasm for the work I do, and knowledge I’m amassing both through school and my profession. It definitely makes me want to be better but at the same time I’m understanding better that I need to learn things slowly, learn to walk before I can run. I have grown lazy when it comes to programming and I want to change that after reading just parts of this book. I will try to read the whole book as soon I can.

From the blog #CS@Worcester – Pawel’s CS Experience by Pawel Stypulkowski and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Libre Food Pantry

The title of this blog post is also the name of the project I will be working on this semester in SC-448 together with my group The BZ PJ’s. It is a rather interesting project that will have us design and create an interface to a food pantry that will allow other to take food with them.

What is really interesting to me is the learning aspect. The learning about agile development and FOSSism, both of which will be a great practice for my future career in the Computer Science field. Especially the Agile Development practice will be something I’m looking forward to as it has become the standard of the industry and the more I and other know about it and are comfortable doing the better.

From the blog #CS@Worcester – Pawel’s CS Experience by Pawel Stypulkowski and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Beginning of THE END

Like the title says this will be the blog for my final semester of my Computer Science Major at Worcester State University. Let’s hope it will be as fun as the rest of them. This time we will be working in groups on LibreFoodPantry.

From the blog #CS@Worcester – Pawel’s CS Experience by Pawel Stypulkowski and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

The end of a struggle…

The final week of the final project was a lot of fun and headache at the same time. My senioritis only got worse over last few days and my motivation to do any kind of schoolwork is at a lowest it ever been this semester. I have forced myself to do work and the project is pretty much done. Me and my group member still need to meet one final time to put finishing touches on everything and create a presentation, but I am not too worried about that.

The challenge this week was the backend code, to be more specific making it add new entries to the database we were using. The REST API we are asking to add things was having some problems with connecting to the database at first, connecting might be a wrong word to use here, the database was refusing the instruction and saying it is a read-only database. After some googling we have found the solution, the file with the database was in the wrong directory on the C:/ drive. It was somewhere where special permissions are required to modify it, making it read-only automatically. Solution: copy the file, move it to some new directory, adjust your connection path in the backend code. (thank you Stack Overflow).

The second challenge for this week came from the fact that me and my group member worked somewhat in parallel on our project(s) due to the conflicts in our schedules. Because of it we somewhat ended with two similar yet a little different project and the fun, and also a hard part, was to merge them into one working whole. We had a little bit different philosophy on how a certain aspects of the project should be done and making it all work together was challenging to say the least. Again, some quick google searches helped us tremendously and in my opinion the overall code should give us a good grade.

This project was a lot of fun and a lot oh headaches, but that is the way of software development, the end result might not always be a satisfying outcome but it is the journey that get us there that helps us learn and grow in this field. I came to a realization that I do not like working with databases or SQL, it seems a little to convoluted in my opinion and every little mistake might be a fatal one for a database. I will definitely stick to more modern programming languages and to working in the software development field.

From the blog #CS@Worcester – Pawel’s CS Experience by Pawel Stypulkowski and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Project, part 2…

Project for my databases and software architecture has been going well so far. But lately my luck has run out. In my last post about this project I have outlined the steps me and my group member took to design our website as well as make sure the back end of it is working correctly. That part won’t be a problem anymore in my opinion. All that is left in the backend is to make some extra triggers in the database and confirm that all the information is being passed correctly. Like I said I do not foresee any problem with that part.

The fun part or the rabbit hole as I like to call it is now implementing correctly the front end. I have a lot of knowledge base available, but the problem comes in the fact that I want to make certain things work the way I want them to and that might not be how they actually work. To begin with I have started with reading the Angular tutorials (everything can be found here) and trying to figure out how to do some simple programs and designs. Me and my group partner have been working somewhat separately at this point because of our conflicting schedules but we have a working version that, if we run out of time, will use. For me the biggest problem at this point is to have the layout working correctly, all the functions and their behavior are not a problem, but to have the components line up where I need them to be causes me no small amount of headache.

While trying to make this project look nicer on my own, I have met with my partner at a café so we could finally work together and try to figure out some of the problems we were having. One such problem turns out to be a database trigger, we need at least one to have somewhat good database design. The trigger, when we finally learned how to create one, is a simple one that assigns 0 to a column value for a new row in a table. It is nothing spectacular or advanced, but it works and to be honest this is for an introduction database class so in my opinion we do not need anything fancy. (again here is a tutorial for triggers).

As the school year approaches rather fast, I will be spending most of my days on the near future either on this project or on studying for final exams. I cannot wait to be finally done with this semester, as much as I have had fun and learned a lot, I’m starting to suffer from senioritis and my motivation wanes.

From the blog #CS@Worcester – Pawel’s CS Experience by Pawel Stypulkowski and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Technical Review

The school semester is almost over and slowly everything is coming to a completion. This will be my last post for the Testing Class, Over the course of it I have learned quite a lot of valuable skills in the Computer Science field.

The last covered topic of the class was the Technical Review, maybe not as advanced as previous exercises this one let us practice probably one of the most important and widely used techniques, the Technical Review, or simply code review. Some info about that can be found here. This is a form of static white-box testing technique which is conducted to spot the defects early in the life cycle that cannot be detected by black box testing techniques. It should not be lead by a person who wrote the code, or at least one member of the review has to be a somebody not associated with the code.

This is a very good and very easy form of troubleshooting and detecting bugs early in the production, and it should be used as soon as possible after the implementation of the code .

From the blog #CS@Worcester – Pawel’s CS Experience by Pawel Stypulkowski and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Projects, projects, projects…

Working on the Final Project for the Software Architecture class has been fun so far. During this initial week we had to figure out what are we going to do. I have paired with one of my classmates named Zac to work together. All we knew that the project was supposed to be done with the TypeScript and Angular framework. Well then what to do? We had no idea, at least at first, until we got the Databases class where again I have paired with Zac and we were supposed to do a project with databases and some SQL. That is where it hit us: “how about we combine both projects?”, what we meant is using Angular we can create a website that will connect and interact with a database through a REST API we learned about before. Genius I say, only problem was to figure out if that will be allowed, killing two birds with one stone, and guess what, it was ok.

So, with that in mind we went to work. First step was to figure
out what database do we want to use, since that will decide on what shape rest
of the project will take. That is where Zac came in, he is a very talented
musician and he quickly found a free database online that relates to music, it
had quite a few entries, but not too many so it will be fine working with it.

Great, a third the setup is done, step two create a
Wireframe and write a proposal for both classes. Huh, a what? Well apparently,
wireframe is a visual/conceptual design for a web app. Here is some
explanation. That helped us so we went to work. I tell you what trying to
design how a website will look is not that easy, me and Zac had to discuss few
things before we settled on something. Version one is not very impressive and
will most likely change but good enough for now. With it we had the conceptual
work done.

Now all that is left is to make it a reality. Well easier
said than done but that is why we are in school, to learn those kinds of things.
We have started with the basics; can we use Java to talk to a Database? Luckily
in that regard professor from Databases class helped. (here is the
article about it) Ok so we can talk, let’s see if me and my teammate can do
some simple queries with the REST API. YES, WE CAN! Ok we are in business. More
fun will come next, use what we receive from the database and make it work with
Angular, but I will talk about that later…….

From the blog #CS@Worcester – Pawel’s CS Experience by Pawel Stypulkowski and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Testing with MOCKING

Having learned about mocking it was finally time to put it to test. We were given some code and exercises to work with and learn by practice, I love that by the way, POGIL is awesome. We were given a Mocking Framework called Mockito to use and it seems like it is a very useful tool for testing.
I am still a little bit confused about Mockito and its use (practical side) but that is fine, there is plenty of knowledge base right on their own website here. Yes their logo is a Mojito…. I have read few things and it helped me to better understand the framework, the website also has links to FAQ and blogs by the creators. I believe anybody will be able to work with Mockito after doing some reading and maybe some practice.

From the blog #CS@Worcester – Pawel’s CS Experience by Pawel Stypulkowski and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

First STUBS now others…

Last time I have learned abut Stubs in programming, this time I came to find out that there is more to it then I thought. For the Testing class we had to read this article by Martin Fowler and learn about apparently different kinds of Stubs, but Mocks are not Stubs…..

The article is a little bit lengthy but it is a good source of information if you want to, or have to learn more about testing, it also had a plenty of examples and explanations how the differences between stubs and mocks and dummies and fakes look like. When it comes down to it remembering these definitions from Fowler is the minimum of work:

  • Dummy objects are passed around but never actually used. Usually they are just used to fill parameter lists.
  • Fake objects actually have working implementations, but usually take some shortcut which makes them not suitable for production (an in memory database is a good example).
  • Stubs provide canned answers to calls made during the test, usually not responding at all to anything outside what’s programmed in for the test.
  • Spies are stubs that also record some information based on how they were called. One form of this might be an email service that records how many messages it was sent.
  • Mocks are what we are talking about here: objects pre-programmed with expectations which form a specification of the calls they are expected to receive.

From the blog #CS@Worcester – Pawel’s CS Experience by Pawel Stypulkowski and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.