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I feel fortunate where I work

I moved jobs a little under 3 months ago and I know work for Maclean Electrical as a developer in a small team.

At Maclean’s I work in an Agile development team working on a number of projects which we use to drive the business forward and make the company more productive.

Maclean Electrical

Our code base is a made of a number of different projects including some windows service projects, some MVC web apps, a Windows Forms application and even an ASP.NET 2 web app.

The development team strive for a number of goals a couple of which are below as below:-

  • Test Driven Development – write a failing test, write the code tp make the test pass, refactor your code.
  • Code Coverage – the code you write should meet a high level of test code coverage, each project had individual levels but should be around 70% as a minimum.
  • Refactor where possible – refactoring the code you come across so that you always leave it better than you found it where possible.
  • If you break the build, its your responsibility to fix it, yeah it’s normally me I know.

We have a very nice setup at work using TeamCity as our build server and we have ported over a few things as Nuget packages to make life easier going forward – I can push a deployment of the code which runs all the unit tests from the build server to deployment or the test environment in one click.

At work we are about to start looking at using RavenDB and the developers are all being sent on a course in London for training on a 2 day course.

Working for a company who listens to their developers and has fantastic communication with everyone in the team is always good in my book. The developer’s in the team often chat about what technologies are new and who’s looking at what and what they have thought about it. We don’t stick with what we know and are always looking at new technology as a way of sharpening our skills which I love to do anyway.

I guess we have a team of passionate developers who communicate well and who really enjoy their jobs – if you enjoy your job it makes a huge difference. If you want a book on a particular subject then it’s ordered, if you come across a tool that you find helpful its bought.

Do you enjoy your job as much as I do? – I do hope so.



Steps for improving my development skills in 2012

Note:- This will be an on going blog post.

My plan is as follows:-

Firstly I plan to write a lot more code at home, to me that’s definitely the best way to learn. My first goal this year is to get better at writing unit tests/tdd and learning how to use mocking properly.

January: Watch all of John Skeets Tekpub series on C#, go through Roy Osherove’s Unit Testing Kata’s and watch the @tekpub and @pluralsight videos on Unit Testing.

How did I fare in January?:

  • having set out my goals above for January I would say I have learned a lot when it comes to TDD, still got a lot to learn especially when it comes to mocking.
  • I have watched the first 6 of the 25 video series so still got a lot to watch and learn about. The detail in this particular series is exceptional and if you want to learn c# in detail then this is for you.
  • I bought the following book on Dependency Injection :-

February: Get up close and personal with RavenDB.

March: Time to start an app using RavenDB.

I shall update as we go but this is a good start. Let me know if you come across something you think is worth learning.



My Review of 2011

In 2011 I started blogging and this post will be a review of the year which is about to come to an end.

At the start of 2011 I was working on a windows mobile 6.5 project up until around April, which was the first time I have even looked at any windows mobile development – the project itself was a good one and I enjoyed working on it – my overall feeling from it though was that windows mobile 6.5 was old and clunky and things seem to have gotten a lot better with the latest version including the mango release.

From April to August I was working for Barclay’s Stockbrokers in Glasgow working on moving their entire code base from windows server 2003 to server 2008 and re-writing the way al off this software was built and packaged using MSBuild and WIX.

From August to the start of November I was back at base which was Pulsion Technology working on various projects.

In mid November I resigned from Pulsion and took a job at my new employers Maclean Electrical in Cumbernauld, where I am now working. Moving jobs after 11 years was a little daunting at first but I am so so glad I made the move.

During the year I have purchased Tekpub and I also have a subscription to Pluralsight training which are both fantastic – I am also a Friend of Redgate and have been looking at their most recent releases which look very interesting indeed.

In 2012 I hope to travel to one of the big conferences at some point as I didn’t travel abroad this year – I also hope to get stuck into RavenDB soon and learn more about Agile and see what else 2012 brings with it.

Thats it folks enjoy 2012!



Dev and Build process

Good processes are something that I take a lot of interest in and something that I always like to read about to see how other people implement thei.

The following is a list of practices we currently follow:-

Visual Studio 2010 runs with ReSharper 6 which also uses StyleCop with certain rules by which the code written must adhere to before Subversion will allow us to commit the code – now this is really nice indeed, it means that everyone who checks code in must use an issue number for the issue tracker we use.

Unit Tests are ran when a build is triggered within TeamCity and the code coverage must reach a certain level on a project or the build fails – this also highlights areas that the code hasn’t got unit tests for and helps to promote the idea of writing unit tests, also for any new code as well as when you write code to fix a bug.

Having around 2000 unit tests run quickly and the code built in around 5 minutes is just sweet.

Who knows what will change in the future but for now I like the way things are done.