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Software architect, engineering leader, musician, husband, dad

The Go programming language from a Java perspective — part 3

In this series’ first two articles, I described myself as a long-time Java engineer who has recently decided to give Go a go. Although I’ll always love Java, I know that it’s important to keep learning languages. I chose Go because it’s a statically-typed, compiled language that doesn’t face some of the issues (such as slow compile times and startup times) that Java faces.

This series is not meant to pit Java versus Go. Both are strong languages with their own strengths and weaknesses. Rather, it is meant to provide my first observations of Go as a Java developer. …


The Go programming language from a Java perspective — part 2

In this series’ first article, I described myself as a long-time Java engineer who has recently decided to give Go a go. Although I’ll always love Java, I know that it’s important to keep learning languages. I chose Go because it’s a statically-typed, compiled language that doesn’t face some of the issues (such as slow compile times and startup times) that Java faces.

This series is not meant to pit Java versus Go. Both are strong languages with their own strengths and weaknesses. Rather, it is meant to provide my first observations of Go as a Java developer. …


The Go programming language from a Java perspective — part 1

As someone who’s programmed in Java for almost as long as the language has existed, I’ll always consider myself a “Java guy”. Sure, as one of the predominant platforms in the industry, Java is sometimes looked down on today (“It’s verbose!” “It’s slow!” “It’s old!”) But I’m personally excited about the future of the language and the platform.

With that said, it’s important to learn other languages and technologies. So as I’ve been learning the Google Cloud Platform, I’ve also been learning Go. My approach to learning is to skip the tutorials and get straight to designing and building my…


If you’re going to move to microservices, make sure you move in the right direction

Photo by Rory McKeever on Unsplash

Your company’s monolithic web application has become too big and brittle. Deploying it has become slow and scary. So as a company, you’ve decided to follow the path so many others have taken — breaking apart the monolith into microservices.

As you probably know, the journey can be long and difficult. There are plenty of wrong turns lurking, and paths you’ll want to avoid. I’ve been there myself. So let’s take a look at where you’re at; maybe my experience can help.

Hmm…

Well, it’s great that your company is eager and has already gotten started. But I’ve noticed a…


Specifically, it’s calling myself a “software engineer” in the first place

Photo by Dzmitry Dudov (Dead__Angel_) on Unsplash

I started my working life not in software, but in marketing. I’m a creative person, and I thought that a life of crafting taglines and writing jingles would suit me well. It turned out that the marketing world was far more rote than I had pictured it to be. Surprisingly (or perhaps not) I found that programming — hitherto a hobby for me — was instead providing me with the creative outlet I craved.

So after my first couple of marketing jobs, I found one in Web development. …


I had to, because I was on a bus, next to a family, perusing a story about sex

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I like it when my readers clap for my stories.

And while claps might have some practical value (increasing a story’s visibility and revenue), I believe the real benefit is their feel-good value. They are an easy way for readers to say to writers, “Good job. You have — however briefly — provided me with something entertaining/educational/thought-provoking/etc. Keep it up!

So sure, I like getting claps.

In turn, I clap for stories that I've enjoyed reading. They’re easy to give, of course; one need only to click on the clappy-hand (👏) icon. Despite what I’d first assumed, clicking on the…


It’s what they imply about the company itself

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

As luck would have it, I am currently not managing any engineers. This break in management duties provides me with a window to talk about what — I assume — is a very unpopular opinion that I hold.

It involves company hack-a-thons. You know, those two- or three-day stretches that companies set aside to let their engineers work on something they find interesting. Sometimes the engineers have to work on a company-specific project. Sometimes they are free to build whatever they want to. As long as they finish it within a small, arbitrary time slot.

So here’s the thing. I’ve…


Nearly every tutorial out there sucks. We can do better.

Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash

“Give a person a fish,” we say, “and you feed them for a day; teach a person to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.”

This adage reminds us that if we want to truly teach someone and make them self-sufficient, we shouldn’t simply hand them exactly what they need. Instead, we should guide them, and ensure that they understand how to do what we’re teaching them to do.

Part of this involves showing them not just what they need to do to achieve a certain task (bait the hook with a cricket) but why they need to do…


It’s one of the most popular songs to sing as a group… and also one of the most difficult

Photo by Becky Fantham on Unsplash

One of my favorite scenes in the 1999 classic film Office Space is the one in which the office workers sing Happy Birthday to Lumbergh, their boss. While most fans of that scene love the fact of Milton once again not getting a piece of birthday cake, the gem in the scene for me is simply the bland, joyless way in which the song is sung by the bland, joyless workers.

Because even in the cheeriest of circumstances, Happy Birthday almost always sounds terrible when sung in a group. Which, given that the song ranks among the most commonly-sung in…


And the stories behind the recordings

Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash

We all have our own favorite musicians. By and large, we base them on the songs they perform, and the recordings that they produce. But rarely can those musicians claim sole credit for their recordings. Even the most famous and talented musical artists usually enter the recording studio with other musicians, each skilled at their own instrument(s). Together, they collaborate to produce the final recordings.

Sometimes those other musicians are the artist’s regular backup band. …

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