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Ben Rady
Chicago
Coder by day, parent by night.
Interests: programming, cooking, clojure, ruby, javascript, html5
Recent Activity
When you find yourself in the position of trying to persuade someone who doesn't share your life experiences, you may reach for a common metaphor. This metaphor becomes something that you can use to create a frame of reference...a set... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2019 at Radyology
Dixit is a favorite game in my house, but we can’t always find the minimum three players to play. So my daughter came up with a two player cooperative variant that I think is even more fun than the original.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2018 at Radyology
I speculated on Twitter that adding members to a software team reduces the number of new technologies that team can use. This is because unless all members are comfortable with a new technology, adding it can cause a Conway's-law-like split.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2018 at Radyology
There are a few "best practices" that I've been able to do without, that I previously thought were absolutely essential. I would think that's a function of a few different factors, but I'm curious about one in particular. I've worked... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2017 at Radyology
I forgot to put something on the Internet. For almost 8 years now, I've held the belief that effective automated test suites have four essential attributes. These attributes have been referenced by other authors, and were the subject of a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2016 at Radyology
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My earlier piece on serverless auth seems to have gotten some attention from the Internet. In that post, I made a comparison to client-server architecture. I think that comparison is fair, but after discussing it with people I have a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2016 at Radyology
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Serverless computing has been getting a lot of attention lately. There are frameworks, a conference, some notable blog posts, and a few books (including mine). I'm really glad to see this happening. I think serverless web apps can be incredibly... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2016 at Radyology
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I've been working on a book that explains the style of single page app that I've been building for the last few years. Up until very recently, I couldn't find a way to use this style for public-facing apps, because... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2016 at Radyology
Like many people involved in Ethereum, my attention has been thoroughly captured by the recent events surrounding TheDAO. As an Ethereum miner, I have a little stake in this game. The reentrancy vulnerability found in TheDAO smart contract has resulted... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2016 at Radyology
Microservices have problems. Monoliths have problems. How do you wind up in a happy middle? Here's what I do. As I talked about in my new book, I'm skeptical of starting systems with a microservice architecture. Splitting a new system... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2016 at Radyology
Let's start with a word problem. Assume you live in a busy trick-or-treating neighborhood and that, on average, a group of four rings your doorbell every minute and takes 1/2 oz of candy per person. If you leave a bowl... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2014 at Radyology
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When I moved into my house, the mailbox was in pretty sorry shape. It was corroded, and the mail flap was stuck open. On top of that, it had an integrated doorbell that didn't work. Lastly, the entire border of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2014 at Radyology
As a technologist, I often think about Marc Andreesen's assertion that software is eating the world. It's a very provocative statement, but I can't really disagree with it. Whether we like it or not, we are building a new society... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at Radyology
Vim's undo list isn't a list. It's a tree...meaning that it keeps track of all the edits you make after having "undone/redone" something. Putting this power to use can be a bit daunting, unless you keep a couple of simple... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2014 at Radyology
Lines of code is a great metric for productivity. Not only is it not broken, I would argue that's it's clearly the best. The important question to ask about this metric is "How does programmer productivity relate to value delivered... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2014 at Radyology
Posted Sep 9, 2013 at Radyology
Have you ever wanted to have your computer do something when you came home, or when you left? Here's a cheap and easy way to do it. The arp-scan utility (available in most decent package managers) can scan your local... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2013 at Radyology
The problem with RC cars and little kids is that RC cars are actually rather hard to control. And really, rather than standing there controlling the car, most kids would rather be chasing it around (at least, most of my... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2013 at Radyology
Here's a simple bash script I use to do things to files whenever they change. It takes a command as an argument and runs that command with the name of a changed file. Many times, it's all I need to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2012 at Radyology
Issac G -- Dropping metaphors and talking about money (savings or revenue) is great. We should all strive to do that, whenever and however we can. Absolutely. Also agree that focusing on valuable problems is more important that technical ability. And I agree that solving problems that don't need solving can be an issue...but I do think it's easier to hide waste in "productivity" than it is in fake problem solving. When you're building something, it's really easy to hold it up, lie to yourself (and others), and say "I did something today"...even if what you did doesn't help anyone do anything. On the other hand, if you got someone who's paying you to solve their problems, and their problems aren't being solved, it's pretty clear that you're not doing your job.
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Issac G -- What I'm saying is that our use of "productivity" as a metaphor for delivering business value is flawed. "Units produced" is simply not part of the equation. We might as well try to measure 'pizzas consumed' or 'whiteboards erased'. The act of production is not necessarily related to the delivery of business value, and in some cases (as I demonstrated in my post) production results in negative net business value vs another solution to a problem. So I think we need to stop thinking about "productivity" in software. Martin asserts "any true measure of software development productivity must be based on delivered business value". I agree, and I propose there is no such thing. We're better off dropping metaphors altogether and just talking about what programmers do: Solve problems.
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Benfield -- I strongly disagree. Functionality might be loosely related to some abstract notion of productivity and maintainability, but that doesn't mean it's valuable to anyone. Value is the essential aspect of things we care about. That's why "productivity" is such a broken metaphor. Producing functionality that nobody wants can look and feel "productive" (and programmers do this all the time). Producing functionality that a customer "wants" -- when what they need is a 5 minute explanation of what's already there -- is wasteful.
1 reply
Bill Caputo, through repeated conversations we've had, has convinced me of something very surprising. It was something that changed the way I think about the world, and how I do my job. There is no such thing as software productivity.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2012 at Radyology
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To run across a lake, you only have to do one thing: Run fast. The same is true in software development. Imagine you're running across a lake. As long as you're moving fast enough to make it from shore to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2012 at Radyology
Ben Rady has shared their blog Radyology
Sep 14, 2012