Archive for August, 2007

What does your desktop look like?

August 27th, 2007

Just curious.. Mine is here (click for large version):

My main monitor (MacBook Pro screen). The secondary monitor usually has the emails, IM windows, DVD or iTunes.


If you’re wondering, I’m using a custom theme for VS.Net. In fact i got the one Andrew mentioned, and tweaked it until I was happy with it.

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Castle API

August 27th, 2007

During the weekend I managed to put online a web site for Castle API.

Hope that can be helpful to someone.

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Testing a different hiring approach

August 27th, 2007

After a long deliberation, I decided to change our hiring process. I don’t even open the resumes people send, I invite them to send some code. I send them a problem that they need to solve using whatever language or tool. Giving the fact that code is what we ultimately sell, that sounds like the most sensible thing to do. If the code is good, or promising, then fifty percent of the problem is solved.

The ability to make good judgments is also something I’d like to test, but I have no idea how. That would certainly resolve the other fifty percent of the problem.

August 24th, 2007

We have been working with the Visient team since December to deliver an full-fledged multi-tenant platform which happens to be built on top of Castle. It has now reached the second milestone and one of the “tenants” went to production this week:

Albeit you can think it’s a common simple portal web app, it goes far beyond that. To start with nothing there is static content. A powerful CMS was created to allow users and portal manager to have full control over the content and its disposition. While there are existing solutions to Portal/CMS out there, this one is smart enough to aggregate features that target specifics markets, and need to play along with the portal ultimate goal which is to create business opportunities. The platform itself could be packaged and sold as a product due to its enormous potential.

Well, wish I could delve into the gory details, but I’m under a NDA :-)

Javascript with jQuery

August 22nd, 2007

I’m joining the crowd that says “Javascript don’t suck, you do!” (kudos to this guy, which btw has the funniest blog on .net space). The more I work with it, the more I like it. Some thoughts:


It rocks. Such an active and dynamic community. The documentation could have more samples though. My advice is that you grab the source from their SVN. I learned more reading their test cases than by reading their docs.

jQuery Metadata

Simply beautiful


Got some mixed feelings about it. I’m definitely comfortable with it, but not sure it’s the best JS lib out there.

Castle and Prototype

MonoRail is too coupled with Prototype. I realized that after converting my UI code to jQuery only. One can argue that jQuery can work peacefully with prototype, but I think it loses all its sugar.

We need to fix that.

JS is not for sissies

Some useful references.

Hiring is nearly impossible

August 9th, 2007

On my previous post I touched the subject of hiring, and how it’s being a big stopper for us. This week I interviewed a handful of people, and almost all of them made me cry.

One of the questions I ask on the phone interview is “do you participate in any open source initiative”. An OK reply is “not really, but I have used X and Y, and reported bugs, and asked questions on their forum”. A great one would be “Yes, I’ve been accepted as a committer for project X and started project Y. It does make me a better developer”. One of the answers I got this week was “What is open source?”

I also ask about MVC and Domain-Driven Design. If they have used some or all of them, I ask them to explain what they are and how it was used. Some adventuring in telling me that they know both, but for some reason cannot explain them.

Some emphasize their certifications. I couldn’t care less. The day MS releases a certification about making you a better programmer, I would consider it, but I don’t think that is going to happen on my lifetime.

But all of that prevent companies from growing. You start to reject consultancy and developments because you don’t have the capacity. For the kind of projects that we have here — definitely non-trivial — and for the kind of clients that we have — most of them technical people that reads code and knows how to tell the good from the bad — I just cannot accept an average programmer to join the team. He could kill in no time the reputation that we have built so far.

Now I know there are good people out there. I have worked with a bunch of them. The question is how to attract those people, making them leave their companies and joining yours.

I dont think money is sole answer. It must be something related to challenges, freedom to try new designs and tools, and an ego boost associated with the company’s name. The more freedom they have, as long as their are accountable on estimating and delivering, the better they feel.

That’s my guess, would love to hear more opinions.

An almost informal job offer

August 8th, 2007

Long time ago I created a linkedin account using my email. Never really cared for it. Today a message sent through it came to my inbox. Surprisingly it did not find its way to Junk mail folder, so I actually read it with by finger on the delete button. Tuned out it was an informal job offer from Google for a position as a software engineer. Funny enough it made very clear it was for software development really. No support, no infrastructure.

I have mixed feelings about it, though. If it happened an year ago I’d be thrilled. Today, I’m not so sure. I asked for more information and will see how it goes. I’m honestly more thrilled with the Castle Stronghold and its potential right now. But we’re facing a very delicate issue with hiring (I’m starting to think it’s nearly impossible to find good people in the market, or maybe its the usual MS’ programmers mindset in Brazil that is problematic), and the dollar exchange rate is downhill — worldwide I believe — which make us less competitive on the offshore world. Anyway our positioning and perception on the market is really valuable, and that’s something.

But I could really dive into Google’s interview process, at least for the experience. I learned a lot on my seventeen interviews at MS, and I do apply the same techniques when I interview people. At same time I lack the time and energy for it. Well, gonna think about it.

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