Monthly Archives: June 2004

Summer site artwork

First Edition Canvas

The picture above, which was the basis of my previous banner, was taken over a year ago during a brunch for Mother’s Day. My brother was sitting next to me and just happened to catch the reflection of my son in my sunglasses. My son was his usual happy, smiley self, and I liked the picture so much that it became the original inspiration for this site. If weblogging is about being more transparent, I can’t think of a better spokesperson for my weblog than my son, who like most children his age is the epitome of transparency and integrity. I pray that this will remain a core part of his personality regardless of age or circumstance.

The picture below, which is the basis of my new banner, was taken yesterday during a trip to a local park as part of celebrating Father’s Day. My son happens to think that seeing his own reflection in my blue Revo’s is pretty neat, but what’s really cool is actually wearing the sunglasses himself. So, we donned them on a very pleased little boy and tried to catch me in his reflection. A little bit of work in Photoshop and viola–new banner artwork.

Second Edition Canvas

‘Bout time to reply again (cont’d)

‘Bout time to reply again

I’ve been busy at work again after taking a great vacation with my family to San Diego (Mission Beach area). So, I now have 54 items in the Reply follow up category within my RSS Bandit reader. (I tend to use this category for posts related to blogging, RSS, syndication, etc.) Let’s see how far I can reduce this collection before my son wakes up from his nap.

A fair amount of what I’ve flagged represents what I’ll call interesting perspective:

I really need to get my RSS feed up and running. Just as soon as I do, I’ll be regularly pinging weblogs.com so that folks can discover me more easily and I can gain the benefit of that discovery (e.g. other viewpoints, similar interests, related sidebars, etc.). Oh that’s right, Dave Winer is transitioning this service away. Perhaps once the transition to buzzword.com is complete, a similar service will be available there. This news causes me to seriously consider where my content continues to live and to also consider costs-benefits with a particular choice.

By the way, I only whittled off 14 items before the wake-up siren sounded. Guess I’ll knock off the rest later.

Logging vs. tracing

A few days ago the subjects of logging and tracing came up with a fellow architect and coworker. Too often I find that one person’s logging is another’s tracing or that what’s batted around as tracing is just verbose logging. Are the terms synonymous or do they support unique requirements?

From our discussion, the consensus seemed to be that tracing requirements are indeed different than logging requirements. Tracing is typically used by off-site technical support via customer enablement on-site to diagnose where a problem occurs. A trace represents a path through the system simultaneously in great detail and no detail at all. (You see entry and exit points, but you typically don’t get a sense of the processing in between the two.)

More importantly we agreed that a significant issue with logging implementations today is the lack of context or perspective applied by developers in determining what to log. Too often the customer is left with too little to too much information, or worse yet only irrelevant data or relevant data without critical context. Here are some questions you should consider when implementing logging:

  • Who are the consumers of the logs you produce?
  • What are their viewpoints of the system generating the logs?
  • Does logging support preventative measures?
  • Does it support post-mortem analyses?
  • Does it support ongoing SLA verification and fine-tuning?
  • Are all errors or warnings in your system equal?
  • Is a warning in one part of the system a precursor to a critical failure in another?
  • How can you categorize your system to log based on logical or functional domains?

Coincidentally after our conversation, my route back to my office took me past the mailslots. There in mine was the issue of InfoWorld where Jon Udell penned The Artful Logger (and added more perspective in a follow-up blog post).

As Jon says, in the end, logs should tell a compelling story.

Software Factories

Through my membership on the Microsoft Architect Advisory Board, I’ve had the privilege to discuss/debate architecture with Jack Greenfield a bit. Jack and Keith Short are publishing a book soon on their vision of software development industrialization through a paradigm shift called software factories.

Both Jack and Keith are architects in the Enterprise Tools group within Visual Studio. You’re familiar with their handiwork if you’ve heard of or are exercising early access bits for “Whitehorse” or “Burton” within “Whidbey” (i.e. Visual Studio 2005 and the recently announced Team System, for which Chris Sells gave a nice post, Michael Platt added his voice, TheServerSide.NET recorded two videos: [1][2], and Neno Loje setup an excellent
portal).

Together Keith and Jack have significant experience in building a suitable container (IDE) for software factories. I look forward to the final release of their book, Software Factories: Assembling Applications with Patterns, Models, Frameworks, and Tools, and the official launch of their associated web site. The future is here today!

Update 12/1/2008: For more of my book reviews and to see what else is in my book library (i.e. just the business-related or software-related non-fiction therein), please visit my Books page.