Category Archives: Week 1

What’s That smell?

A topic that caught my eye when looking over the syllabus for my CS-343 class was Code Smells, so I decided to delve deeper into the topic. I read a blog post titled “CODE SMELLS THAT ARE FOUND THE MOST” by Ekaterina Novoseltseva, which talks about commonly found design flaws in code and how to address them. Ekaterina goes through a list of those design flaws like the bloater which are code, methods, or classes that are too large or have grown too large making them difficult to work with. Another mentioned design flaw would be the change preventer, which as its name implies prevents change by making the coder change multiple places in order to fix/change one section of code. There are many more examples of code smells that are explained in the blog.
One of the code smells that stood out to me was long methods because for a while that was something I would do while coding and it made my code almost impossible to track and understand, as well as, made it hard to trouble shoot where my issues where when my code did not pass test classes. Having long methods made coding extremely difficult and created more problems than it did good. another code smell that really hit home was duplicate code, even though it is easy for me to just copy and paste the same code into multiple methods, it makes more sense to create a single method that can be used in multiple places. simplification of code is something that I have been working on because it makes coding a lot smoother and easier to adjust and make changes to in the future. The last code smell that really spoke to me was dead code which is code that is not being used. Too many times I find myself writing code that is too complicated or doesn’t work, and then commenting it out or saving it for future changes and usually forgetting about it which makes it all the more confusing for some one reading or looking at my code. learning more about code smells has given me the confidence and knowledge to avoid them in the future and to make simpler and cleaner code. Design of all things is meant to be efficient and useful to both the designer and the user, so to practice and understand good design a person must understand bad design as well.
Link to the Blog Referenced in this post:

From the blog CS@Worcester – Tyler Quist’s CS Blog by Tyler Quist and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Software Quality-Quantity Trade-off

Programming was extremely hard for me at first. Once I discovered that programming isn’t just typing code, I spent so much time worrying about getting the perfect design, imagining what could go wrong, and researching alternatives that I rarely actually coded anything, at least for a brief period. While this concern may have taught me a lot in my research, I know better now. There’s a trade-off between time spent designing and time actually making software work.

Likewise, there is a trade-off between creating high-quality software and adding more valuable features, as Martin Fowler discusses in this blog post. Fowler is a software developer and author who has written extensively on the topic of software quality and design. In this blog post, he poses the question “is high quality software worth the cost?”.

Short answer: yes it is. To go further, Fowler believes that the question really doesn’t apply to software because high quality software is cheaper. He also makes the distinction between internal and external quality in software. For example, users notice a quality user interface, but have no idea which design patterns were used.

Internal quality is the goal of quality assurance and testing, and while it isn’t directly visible to the user, it makes it so much easier to provide a user with additional features by adding to an existing code base. In my last post, I wrote about SOLID and a podcast by Coding Blocks. They discussed how good patterns take a lot more code to write in the beginning, because things are broken up into smaller classes, with more, smaller methods. But as Fowler describes, the initial work more than pays off in the long run when code is easy to read and understand.

Anyone who has learned to program has spent hours looking for a mistake on a small project. These get harder to find as a project grows, especially when there are hidden dependencies among poorly-formatted code. Now imagine you wrote the code 2 years ago. And you can’t even fix it because you’re on vacation, but it’s preventing users from accessing their accounts so your coworker has to. Quality code and tests will drastically improve the chances that the problem is quickly patched and your users are happy. Take it one step further: this problem could have prevented entirely with sufficient testing and more focus on quality.

Most time is spent reading code rather than writing it. Fowler mentions this, but it is also an important theme in Clean Code by Robert C. Martin [1]. If you write quality code now, you can write even more quality code in the future.

[1] Martin, Robert C., et al. Clean Code: a Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship. Prentice Hall, 2016.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Inquiries and Queries by ausausdauer and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

SOLID: Laying the Groundwork for Design Patterns

At the core of software design must be basic principles. Following basic principles allows us to make sure we are on track with a standard. It creates consistency and makes it easier to maintain our code in the future, because we will know what to expect.

Following a single principle might be easy, but there are many object-oriented design principles. Sometimes, it is quicker to hack a solution together than to think up an elegant solution. These solutions may then be built upon, and the project will slowly stray from its original intent. Gaining the intuition of when and how to apply these principles is necessary to ensure that a project doesn’t become a mess of spaghetti as these quick-fix solutions add up.

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

– Steve Jobs

Coding Blocks Episode 7 discusses these topics in the context of five of the most important design principles, known as SOLID. This podcast is great and I highly recommend it: it is hosted by professional programmers who discuss and debate the topics of each episode.

Each of these principles likely warrants its own podcast, and one or more blog posts to describe them in detail. Below is a short description of each one.

S: Single Responsibility Principle

  • An object should only do one thing.

O: Open Closed Principle

  • Code should have the ability to be extended, but it shouldn’t have to be modified.

L: Liskov Substitution Principle

  • Replacing an object with one of its subtypes should not break the code.

I: Interface Segregation Principle

  • Smaller, more specific interfaces are better. If an interface is too broad, an object may need to implement many methods it doesn’t need.

D: Dependency Inversion Principle

  • Within a class, you don’t want to depend on an implementation. Instead, a higher-level class should depend on interfaces, which are implemented by lower-level classes. Don’t have an abstraction relying on an implementation. Have the implementation relying on an abstraction (interfaces).


The biggest takeaway from this podcast episode was that even professional programmers do not follow all of these principles all the time. Some of the concepts are confusing and contradict other principles. Some of them should only be applied when refactoring code after it is working, with the goal of improving your code.

However, when learning these principles, projects should be created with the sole goal of implementing these principles. Mentally solidifying these concepts by focusing on each one and converting it into code will help a developer to predict issues that may come up in the future when implementing production code. Knowing the context of the system, code can be written that mostly follows these principles right off the bat, and improvements can be made later as code is added and the patterns emerge. Most importantly: the foundation will be SOLID.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Inquiries and Queries by ausausdauer and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Beginning My Summer Research Project

This summer I will be conducting research under the Aisiku Undergraduate Research Fellowship which is awarded to STEM projects for students at Worcester State University. The goal of this project is to research and select the best version control software to use for the LibreFoodPantry projects which fall under the category of Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software. I will be looking at the GitHub Free, GitLab Free, and GitLab Gold packages and selecting which one out of these three is the most suitable for contributing to and maintaining the LibreFoodPantry projects. I will be writing weekly blog posts to keep track of what I learned and did during the week while working on this project throughout the summer.


This week I began the project by looking at the features of GitHub Free, GitLab Free, and GitLab Gold. I created a table in a document with a column for each one of these and started listing out the features that are provided in the product comparisons page for GitHub and GitLab. Once I listed out all the provided features for all three of these I started to do a comparison between the features listed for the GitHub and GitLab plans. The comparison for GitLab Free and GitLab Gold is easier since GitLab Gold has the same base options as GitLab Free in addition to other advanced features which are listed in the plan comparison page. I then started going through all the features listed in GitHub Free’s plan page and seeing if the GitLab versions had them and if they were similar features. I kept track of differences by highlighting the text of the features in the table with different colors. I ended up finding that most of the GitHub features were comparable to GitLab such as having code owners or project boards. I found out that GitHub has a couple of features that both versions of GitLab we are looking at doesn’t such as an apps marketplace. GitHub also has a couple of features it does better than GitLab such as offering repository insights. There were also a couple of features that GitLab does do better such as having built-in continuous integration and continuous delivery. Overall I found that I started to prefer the GitLab platform by the end of the first week and their website offers better and more thorough documentation for its features than GitHub’s does. At the end of the week I had a meeting with my faculty advisor for the project to go over my progress and findings so far. In the beginning of the meeting we both came to the conclusion that the research being done for this project is applicable outside of the scope of just the LibreFoodPantry projects and can be used for other open source projects. We decided that I would continue looking at the features between the platforms during the second week. My advisor also created testing groups on each of the platforms and added me as an administrator so that we can start testing workflows after I finish comparing features. We also discussed the details about an upcoming meeting for LibreFoodPantry (which should help refine the workflows we will be examining in this project) and my involvement in this.


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

Unleash Your Enthusiasm

To go through the long road of Software Craftsmanship we should be eager apprentices, so a superior enthusiasm should be with us since the first day of the long journey. Enthusiasm is the first factor that will accelerate your learning. Being a software developer you cannot avoid working with a team in your workplace. As … Continue reading Unleash Your Enthusiasm

From the blog cs-wsu – Kristi Pina's Blog by kpina23 and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

B1: Learn How You Fail

          The book describes the “Learn How You Fail” pattern by talking about failure in general throughout a developer’s life. It explains that everyone fails at some point in their life and it shows the potential of growth. The blog continues to say that identifying where an individual specially fails can create better self-knowledge for their habits and behaviors. The main goal of this pattern is to then learn from these habits and behaviors to correct the ones that limit your potential. It brings to light the importance of creating an accurate self-assessment and awareness of weaknesses to find a realistic goal that can be accomplished. The book gives an example for coding where the programmer should try to use a text editor to implement a binary search in any language. Then write the tests for that search and run through it without a compiler manually to find any possible error you have made. You can compile the code after doing this to find any remaining errors that you may not have picked up.

          I found this pattern very interesting and informative in terms of self-understanding and creating reasonable goals. The way the pattern explains how habits and behaviors can become second nature which eventually leads to errors that we make unintendedly was very thought provoking. I enjoyed following the logic behind this and understanding how this can affect me in the long run as a developer if I don’t look for these errors now. This pattern has caused me to value my failures even more by teaching me more about learning from them. I always went with the logic that if I failed, I should simply not make that mistake again. However, this pattern showed me that instead of avoiding mistakes, I should naturally make them and learn from them in detail. This learning experience could provide me with deeper insight on how I will learn in the future and plan for my profession in a much easier light. I don’t disagree with the pattern at all, in fact, I thoroughly enjoyed every part of it. I especially enjoyed the example given using the text editor as a IDE to find mistakes in writing and compiling code.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Student To Scholar by kumarcomputerscience and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Honing Your First Language

When I picked up Apprenticeship Patterns, on Chapter 2, Emptying the Cup, the very first pattern caught my eye when the context and problem they presented seemed to apply to my situation closely. The pattern is “Your first language”, and the authors hit the nail on the head in my case when they explain the case of a budding programmer who only has limited knowledge of one or two programming languages, but the job opportunities demand a high level of technical proficiency.

Their advice is to stick with one language and become fluent in it. The logic is to hone your language skills by solving real world problems, developing code through test driven development, with the guide of experienced programmers.

The authors stress the importance of deciding which language to take on as your first. It makes sense, seen as how that language will be the primary tool we use to solve problems. In my case, it seems clear to me which is the right one. As many of us, my first and most familiar language is Java. Not only that, I am fortunate enough to have an internship opportunity which uses Java and JavaScript. So I have the real world opportunity to hone my knowledge, and access to mentors who are more knowledgeable than myself.

One final piece of advice the authors gave which I will take them up on is to find a community of people who are focusing on the same language and have similar experiences as you. For me right now that is my peers, and it is plain to me the mutual benefits of working with others who are in the same boat.

As much as I feel internal pressure to learn a variety of languages like C++, Python, etc., reading this pattern resonated with me and helped me make an informed decision to focus on what is pragmatic, as opposed to getting caught up in the ocean of possibilities. Since my first professional opportunity is using Java and JavaScript, I will focus on honing my skills in those areas as opposed to spending that time getting a surface level understanding of a different language that I might not immediately use.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Bit by Bit by rdentremont58 and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

IndividualApprenticeship Patterns – Find Mentors

As we will be looking for the best skill or training from masters, we need mentors or a mentors who we can watch up to.

From the readings and with the understanding if got, finding a mentor is not all that easy, let alone mentors. As someone who want to be an apprentice or who is already an apprentice, he or she must be very careful choosing a mentor. Some of the things he or she must know before choosing a mentor(s).

  1. He or she must know her or his needs and also be very ready to be committed. Once he or she knows what he wants from the mentor then he starts searching. Only he know what things like dreams or desires and what type of person can help him get to where he wants to be. I also learnt from the readings, mentors do not have to be from the same company/industry, country or gender. One has to be more open minded to new possibilities by working outside of your comfort zone.
  2. To really succeed in the working world, one has to search for many mentors as possible. This helps you gain more skills from different areas. For example, you can be learning networking from a particular mentor whilst also learning another area like software programming from a different mentor. With that you are gaining a lot which does not limit you to a particular field or area.
  3. You need to choose very carefully when selecting a mentor. You don’t want to waste all your time learning things that will never be useful in your career. Also while carefully choosing for a mentor, one has to be sure he is very comfortable with the mentor.
  4.  As time passes on, your life evolves, your needs change and the desire for a new mentor may become apparent.  However, the mentors that helped you grow and prosper should never be ignored. Though you may now have different mentors, the relationships you formed with those from the previous chapters in your life must remain active.

From the readings, I got the understating i need not to rush in getting a mentor. When choosing one, i have to be very careful. I should not limit myself to only one mentor but to learn from many mentors. In that case, at least i gain a bit of knowledge in every field. One particular thing that interested me was “Passing along what you have learned from your mentors is one of the ways in which you can begin the transition to journeyman status.” From, i come to understand that in order for me to get to the top or to be a master, i have to also search the knowledge i have gain to others.

From the blog CS@worcester – Site Title by Derek Odame and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice pattern:
You will learn by making mistakes and it is inevitable. How would you purposely make mistakes while on the job? This pattern suggests in order to do so you must find a mentor and have them hand you a task you are not comfortable with and move forward from there. Practice your skills and make improvements each time.

George Leonard says, “The people we know as masters don’t devote themselves to their particular skill just to get better at it. The truth is, they love to practice—and because of this they do get better. And then to complete the circle, the better they get the more they enjoy performing the basic moves over and over again.” I couldn’t agree with this quote more. Over the years we have completed numerous projects and learned many methods on solving problems we encounter while completing these projects. Over time we developed the skills of analyzing the way we go about writing code and fixing bugs without even realizing it.

10,000 hours. That is the amount of time it takes an individual to truly ‘master’ something. Now will that be the case for us? I wouldn’t say so to an extent due to the changes in technology but basic skills like planning, designing, problem solving and debugging would definitely improve given we put hours into working on these skills. The author also makes a very good point when he says practice does not make perfect if you are practicing the wrong skill over and over. There must be changes to improve on that skill each time one practices it.

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

Journey into A Different Road (A Individual Apprenticeship Patterns)

On this Software Development Capstone journey part of my assignment is to choose 10 Individual Apprenticeship Patterns out of 35 patterns among Chapters 2-6 from the book Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsmanby Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye. For my first individual Apprenticeship pattern I have chosen A different road. I will first summarize the pattern and then I will state my reaction of this pattern.

A Different Road summarized

After using Draw Your Own Map pattern and creating the map which you been following. You come to realized that the map you drew has led you away from the long road or the road your on is no longer the one for you. Even if you decide to take a detour and do something different from software development your software craftsmanship will always benefit you no matter what. Also, if you do leave and then decide to come back you will be bringing back with you new set of skills that will be beneficial because it will be a fresh new set of eyes with a new prospective. Although sometimes when you take a break some software organization might make you jump over a few hoops and ask you over 21 question seeking justification from you for leaving for a while and then deciding to come back.  The key is to no worry because you are a software craftsmen and everything you have learned will always be with you. An action you should take whenever you no longer want to be a software developer or you’re wondering what would/should you do? This pattern suggestion for you is to list the kind of jobs you would like to do and then find people who matches your jobs list and who also loves their job. Once you found that person you are to “Ask them what they love about it and compare that to the things you love about software development.”

My Reaction

This pattern helps you not worry and be confident that the road although different is not entirely different. It also, reassure you that its okay to take a different road. I agree with this idea. I found that this idea is not just interesting but also useful and thought-provoking. This pattern has definitely changed the way I think about my profession and the way I think I will work because it has made me less worry and more confident in knowing that I should not be afraid to go on different roads because as a software craftsman I will have a set of quality that will last a life time.

Thank you for your time. This has been YessyMer in the World Of Computer Science, until next time.







From the blog cs@Worcester – YessyMer In the world of Computer Science by yesmercedes and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.