Author Archives: Sovibol Keo

Solidifying Values

I think the entirety of the Thea’s Pantry documentations page is useful, especially as someone that may be the scrum master for the team, I think that it is of utmost importance to take in this knowledge.  I can imagine it being the scrum master’s responsibility to have the clients stories in mind and maintain a workflow while the team is able to self-organize and operate well.

What was most interesting to me was the Values Page from the LibreFoodPantry.  I find them to be very noble and respect the efforts in “ensur[ing] a healthy and safe environment in which to collaborate and learn”. The Manifesto for Agile Software development page stood out to me as being very noble for some reason and I really enjoyed how those specific values were laid out. I think that as a humanitarian project it is important to have well defined values, ones which drive the mission. The FOSSisms were also intriguing to me as the concept of FOSS culture is pretty new to me. On a deeper level there are some FOSSism that I could say are words to live by outside of software development, wisdom that can carry over into our own personal lives. The topic of values in general have stood out to me, within my own life there’s been a presence of solidifying what my values are and seeing that there appears to be defined values within software development kinda serves as a source of hope and inspiration for building on my own values.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Sovibol's Glass Case by Sovibol Keo and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Whats Next?

I have had this unhealthy assumption in my mind that CS is just preparing us to just sit at our desk all day and write code for hours upon hours(at least in the industry context). Although, in the cases where this may be true, for those that are in that position, there may be a good chance that they are doing what they enjoy. I don’t see this being the entire case for me. Knowing this, a couple questions and thoughts come to mind; in exploring different roles one can play in the tech industry, where may my own opportunities lie? Can I recognize what I am learning in relation to that, maybe even evaluate how/what I am learning to where I might see myself? Can I map out my career?

I think it is important to ask such questions while taking these CS courses. While asking such questions during the courses I can recognize where my strengths may lie and discover possible passions/interest. I am prone to overthinking(especially with complex ideas) and such practices allow me to step back a little. Going off previously stated questions, there is something about the front-end that is quite alluring to me. Which leads me to an article that I found titled “Exploring the front-end of project management”

Although it doesn’t talk about specific front-end development tools, (a topic in which I would like to look more into) and more so on what comprises the front-end and the role of management, it is a exploration into the front-end, or defined in the paper as the “earliest stages of a project”.  I think that the article is still relevant as we can recognize that the POGIL group work style of the class allows students to be able to work in groups, the prevalence of different roles is to almost simulate the professional setting in which on may work. This style teaches students to be able to work well with others and communicate very complex ideas. I personally find a lot of enjoyment in working in groups and struggling and learning together, specifically; exploring and playing with the different roles from manager to presenter, working through unexpected situations through analysis and modification, and sharing finding with the entire class. From my brief research, the front-end to me seems to be where I can explore not only different roles but explore even more broad experience from different aspects of the tech industry.

On a different note, I made an observation in my last post about the nature of the learning that is done in CS and how topics can connect. I described that connection of topics as niches. I wanted to make a correction and niches may not be the right word. Perhaps, layers, at least in the context of this class I could argue that front-end being a layer in software development is more suitable. If anyone gets what I am trying to say and can find a better way to word it, please let me know.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Sovibol's Glass Case by Sovibol Keo and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Thoughts on Front-End Development

I often find it hard to relate back to other courses and easily forget about what I have previously learned. Luckily, my memory is not as bad as I think it is and it eventually comes back to me, especially in the case where I have to come back to a skill/technique regularly. I find that with Computer Science the evolution of knowledge is one that is clear yet has a depth of knowledge that intertwines one course with the next.

On one hand, you can have a course that is so specific in a niche of CS that it may be hard to see its relevance in another CS course on the other hand you may have a course that is seemingly so broad that it is hard to pinpoint how it may carry over.

I think that with any specific area of interest, as one continues with their education, the degree to which prior knowledge is necessary and relevant to learning a new topic only increases the further you progress.

All this is to say that last semester I took a cloud computing course and I remember that course being broad in its application of cloud computing. I wanted to look into the use of cloud computing in the context of software design and architecture. Secondly, after only getting a taste of front-end development in this course I wanted more and I wanted to solidify my understanding of the back-end and front-end in an attempt to satisfy a goal of mine described in a previous blog post.

Overall I’m not seeing any major differences between implementing software through the cloud vs other options other than the vast benefits that cloud computing can offer. Benefits of cloud computing range from storage, server, database, software networking, intelligence, and analytics. The blog begins with describing what cloud computing is then goes into detail about what front-end and back-end cloud architecture is along with cloud based delivery.

I was then led to another blog about specifically front-end development as I was not satisfied with what the previous blog provided. This blog hooked me with its first line saying “Front-end developers need to design sites that are engaging enough to nudge the target audience toward a conversion.” I find this idea to be very interesting because it starts to dive into the purpose of front-end development.  In my next post I will discuss where I may see myself in the future and what role I might want to play in the tech industry. There is a point in the blog in which the duties of a front-end developer are laid out leading to an intrigue and wonder about whether this is a niche in CS where I may see myself, in front-end development I feel it might be a role in which I can use a variety of skills/techniques in order to develop myself.

From the blog CS WSU – Sovibol's Glass Case by Sovibol Keo and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Smells and Senses

I want to focus this blog post not on something that I’m interested in but rather something I think that I should know. I decided to put some more research into design smells, this topic seemed valuable because I have this perception that understanding and looking at code is not a skill that I have yet to developed. I wish to improve upon this, so I found this presentation on code refactoring and design smells that is pretty in depth and it goes into a little more detail about what we had discussed in class. In the class activity we connected technical uses of the word to technical definitions based on our understanding of the common definition. This activity provided a basis for understanding different smells. This led me to find a higher-level presentation on design smells and grasp some level of understanding of what was being discussed. In the video the speaker Sandi Metz suggests that when you can identify a code smell you can then refactor the code to better suite future use. What refactoring is, is the ability to rearrange code without changing its behavior. The ability to look at code and associate information is exactly what I am looking for.

There were a couple of ideas that stood out to me. The presenter offered an analogy that stood out to me that  refactoring is kind of like a recipe. Sandi then provides a valuable resource that maps specific code smells to a reference in Martin Fowlers book , a refactoring recipe that is “curative”  to that code smell. This leads me to another suggestion that it is okay at some level to “own your code smell” if it is working and won’t change in the future. This reference to Martin Fowlers books immediately reminded me of his very informative blog. The book itself seems very interesting to me and could potentially offer a wealth of valuable knowledge that could vastly improve my abilities.

As an avid home cook this analogy spoke to my soul, all this talk of smells and recipes sparked an understanding of code that I was not familiar with. In my journey as a home cook, I have been exploring the ability to make food more creatively as instructed by a transformative cookbook that I have been reading. There is an idea that I have been working on that suggests not following a recipe and relying on your senses and being actively involved to create a wonderful dish. I find that this relates heavily to my journey in becoming a software developer, taking information from outside resources and interpreting it in a practical way all while relying on my senses and built intuition.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Sovibol's Glass Case by Sovibol Keo and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Intentions and Goals Part 2: Defining Needs

Setting goals allows me to take things one at a time and move over those self-imposed barriers effortlessly, but it is the learning and the love of the process that don’t even allow me to put those barriers there in the first place.
Now on to one of the actual goals, I have been wanting to use what I am learning as a computer science major to implement into my current workplace. I think that it has been a great opportunity to work there and they have provided a good environment for self-development similar to that of being in school. As a token of appreciation, it would mean a lot to me to be able to leave something useful behind. That something useful would be in the form of Software. In the past year or so I have had a level of engagement in my courses that I haven’t had in a while and that is most likely due to recognizing the practical application of what I’m being taught. This has led me to be vigilant at my workplace and observe problems that can be solved with software. After figuring out what the problems are and defining those issues
For a while, I have been stuck on what to do now after defining the problems from the software development class, and based on the topic of my last two blog posts it is clear to me that figuring out suitable architecture is important to a well-developed software system. To do this, I need to understand the important requirements of the users involved. Currently, I am under the impression that microservices architecture would be most suitable as many of its defining characteristics would fulfill the requirements of the business. Within this process of developing software, I am learning that there is a lot of picking and choosing systems that are specific to the needs of the business. Although it can still be overwhelming, I am relieved that there are already many preexisting systems and that picking and choosing make it a little easier instead of having to completely create something from scratch. On the aspect of picking already developed systems, the topic of API comes into mind I found this useful article outlining different APIs and their use cases and how some are still in use today and fit specific needs. The article points to the idea that even though some APIs might seemingly be outdated that they still have a use case that only requires such an API and nothing more.

I understand that I still have a lot to look out and plenty to learn but recognizing that there is a direct application to what I am learning provides some great motivation and hope that will allow me to continue to get over whatever barriers may be in the way whether self-imposed or not.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Sovibol's Glass Case by Sovibol Keo and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Processing Architecture

When absorbing information, I find that it can often be overwhelming, sometimes leading to a point of disconnect. I see this occurring when you start asking questions like “Why am I learning this?” and “In what world would I ever need to use this?”. In the case of software architecture, I had a similar moment where I wondered how one would approach designing architecture.

 I found an article that suggest a solution to all my prior questions and in my previous blog post regarding the designing of software architecture, in which I questioned how one would create a design that suites a specific purpose. This article from 2006 suggest a general model for software architecture design that was derived from 5 other preexisting design approaches that were used within the industry. The article identifies that because software architecture design methods shares a basic problem that all these methods have much in common and can be derived, the basic problem being; “maintaining intellectual control over the design of software systems that: require involvement of and negotiation among multiple stakeholders; are often developed by large, distributed teams over extended periods of time; must address multiple possibly conflicting goals and concerns; and must be maintained for a long period of time.” Through this article I was introduced to 5 new design methods: Attribute-Driven Design, Siemens’ 4 views, RUP’s 4+1 views, Business architecture process and organization, and Architectural separation of concerns. This article also provide insight in the scale at which software architecture design is applicable. Whether large or small scale what remains is that there is a basic problem to be solved, and that it can be solved with an architecture design.

Below, I have included a link to the article where you can find the concluded derivations of the models. What stood out to me was the concept of workflow and backlogs. I was vaguely familiar with the idea of a back log from a previous CS course, Software Project Management. So, it is good to see that it can also be applied to architecture as well. On the idea of a workflow, I find that they offer notable insight into what is to be expected of someone in the industry.

It is important to follow through with a thought or question and to do that one must put in the work and find what you’re looking for yourself. When you don’t take action, you remain in that state of disconnect. This blog gives me an outlet to explore and I feel as though I am starting to reap the benefits of such a medium. It has allowed me to develop my own enthusiasm along with maintaining a vigilance for practicality.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Sovibol's Glass Case by Sovibol Keo and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Emerging Technology: PolyGloT

I found an academic conference article describing a new eTutoring system, called PolyGloT. I find that technology serves many different needs to varying degrees of success. Specifically, in the aspect of education technology can either be additive or a burden or sometimes even a mix of both. The one size fits all approach to education has varying degrees of success as it does not always accommodate the needs of a specific student.  In so far that one way of education may not be the most suitable way for an individual to truly grasp a subject for the purpose of practical understanding under the goal of career development.

I found that for myself specifically, trying to conform to a system has only gotten in the way of my actual learning and after four years I’ve only just begun to realize what education means to me and how I truly learn. Fortunately, technological educational resources have filled in the gaps and often been additive to my education. Outside of education aspects of computer games and social networks harbored creativity and arguably social benefits like what the current education system may be successful at. So, what is PolyGloT? PolyGloT is a personalized and gamified eTutoring system in its early development phase, this platform aims to help accommodate neurodiversity in students within a system that is currently a one size fits all approach, PolyGlot does this by “provid[ing] an open, content-agnostic and extensible framework (see [below] for its architecture) for designing and consuming adaptive and gamified learning experiences.”

On the topic of my own education, I have found that practical, hands-on approaches have been the most optimal way for me to truly grasp a subject and understand its application. For this reason, seeing that this article actively applies principles being taught adds a confirmation to what I’m being taught and even piques my interest. Specifically, the architectural design helped me understand the practical use of this tool. Seeing it “out in the wild” helped me grasp its capabilities and purposes almost vicariously, allowing me to see its potential and use it for myself. Which leads me to the question of whether their design is based on an existing design pattern or can they just be created for whatever purpose fits my needs.

Although we have yet to cover the topic of frontend and backend in our CS-343 class, this topic stands out to me as I see that its is the deciding factor in whether a system achieves its purpose successfully. In the case of PolyGloT I think that this correlation is key in allowing teachers to effectively teach a neurodiverse class. What is clear from our activities in class is that designing a solid architecture is necessary in having an efficient and working system. Similarly, the structure of this course is one that is allowing me to grasp subjects and more importantly replicate a structural aspect of software development as a profession. I see this course as the architecture to my career in computer science and its practical replication allows for a solid foundation.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Sovibol's Glass Case by Sovibol Keo and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Welcome To Sovi’s Glass Case

This marks the first post of hopefully many blogs, Hello World.

From the blog CS WSU – Sovibol's Glass Case by Sovibol Keo and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.