links for 2006-02-10

links for 2006-02-08

Next version of NoUnit (a JUnit Extension)

NoUnit is an open-source code coverage tool that shows you the effectiveness of your JUnit tests.

After a suitable pause , I’m now thinking of starting work on the next version of NoUnit. Some of the features I’m thinking of including are:

  • Eclipse Plugin , so that you can run NoUnit code coverage reports as easily as you do JUnit tests in Eclipse.
  • Support for JUnit 4 and Java 1.5 Annotations
  • Support for EJB 2.0, EJB 3.0 and Spring – currently NoUnit only shows direct calls between Java classes.
  • Various outstanding bugs and change requests from users.

Is there anything else you think should be included? Leave your comments here.

Next Version of NoUnit (a JUnit Extension)

NoUnit is an open-source code coverage tool that shows you the effectiveness of your JUnit tests.

After a suitable pause , I’m now thinking of starting work on the next version of NoUnit. Some of the features I’m thinking of including are:

  • Eclipse Plugin , so that you can run NoUnit code coverage reports as easily as you do JUnit tests in Eclipse.
  • Support for JUnit 4 and Java 1.5 Annotations
  • Support for EJB 2.0, EJB 3.0 and Spring – currently NoUnit only shows direct calls between Java classes.
  • Various outstanding bugs and change requests from users.
  • Is there anything else you think should be included? Leave your comments here.

Abba, Ajax and an update on the Web 2.0 presentation

For everybody waiting for the breaking news of the latest of the Web 2.0 presentation that we talked about earlier….

Met Fergal Breen (my Co-Presenter from IrishDev) over lunch – and had a very pleasant conversation about not only Web 2.0 , Ajax but Java Server Faces (JSF) and the latest moves from Oracle regarding Fusion and ADF. Also a couple of eye-opening stories about life in the Media (anybody that can parley a job with IrishDev into an invitation to Stringfellows Dublin opening night definately has character to say the least).

The upshot of all this is that the slides are now in much better shape. They mightn’t have the pictures of Abba , the 3 bridges and the Berlin Wall attached to them (you’re going to have to go to the presentation on Feb 21st in Dublin to find out). Overall , the slides are at the point where I could do a presentation from them , so that is progress.

Expect more editing as Fergal adds his topics. We decided there was more of a ‘flow’ with going for one presentation with two presenters, rather than trying to do an arbitrary split between slides.

How to avoid losing 150m Euro

It now seems obvious that the Healthcare Payroll system was destined to fail. If you were working on the project, I’m sure it felt very differently at the time. How can your projects avoid a similar fate? While IT may sometimes seem disconnected from reality, the following guidelines show that ‘Real World’ lessons still apply.

  1. Know what you want and stick to it. If you’re building a house and change the plans several times the builder is going to fleece you, no matter how low the initial quote was. The same goes for IT Projects – if you change your mind after the price is agreed, you’re going to pay more.
  2. If you don’t know what you’re doing , find a friend who does. I know very little about houses, so when I was buying my own I got a friendly surveyor to check it out. With IT projects, this ‘friend’ should be genuinely on your side, and have something to lose (e.g. financial or reputation) if things go wrong.
  3. Little and often is better. Like exercise, smaller projects that deliver results little but early are best. If the results are good, try a second (and third) round to add more functionality based on the feedback from users.
  4. It’s been all done before. Tailored suits cost a lot more than ready-made ones – and most people are happy with a ‘Good enough’ instead of ‘Perfect fit’. There are literally thousands of ‘off-the-peg’ computer systems out there ready for final alteration to what you need.
  5. If you don’t understand the answer, ask more questions. Thankfully the days we sat and nodded at the Doctor’s Latin words are long gone. IT Consultants may sometimes speak a different language, but if they can’t explain what they’re talking about in English that you understand, the chances are they’re trying to hide something.
  6. Don’t build on sand. Like houses , projects need good foundations. For IT Projects , the good foundations are sound knowledge of the Business Processes being coded into the system. Changing processes and changing IT systems at the same time is like building on sand.
  7. Sometimes the tortoise wins the race. Unless your entire business model is built around being the very first to market, then being a tortoise and letting others race ahead has very big advantages. Not only can you learn from other people’s mistakes, but the chances are you’ll get it at a much reduced cost – For example websites now cost a fraction of what they did during the dot.com boom.
  8. Use a safety net. When building houses, often the first thing to go up is scaffolding, for safety reasons. The equivalent safety net in IT is called ‘Unit Tests’. Not only do they help you get there faster, but they let you know if you’ve broken something you’ve already built.
  9. Be a good poker player. Good poker players never give away valuable cards. For IT projects, owning all cards mean just that – make sure that you have full rights to the solution so that you can still move tables and use a different supplier. Even if you never make the move, knowing that you can is an effective bargaining chip.

And finally …

When you are in a hole, stop digging. The decision to call a halt to the projects was no doubt a difficult one, and is to be applauded. Too often, the temptation is to keep on going and hope things will turn out right. Recognising problems at an early stage means there is more chance of being able to fix them.

links for 2006-02-03

links for 2006-02-01