Saturday, 27 November 2010


I’ve been monitoring CodePlex for a while now — looking out for VB.NET projects seeking additional help.

Most of them were either not to my liking (too much reliance on third-party library files, too far outside of my interests, etc.), but I did stumble upon one that I felt like I could help out with.

I decided to help out with goTranslateIt. It’s not the most complex project out there, but I saw enough of the code to see opportunities for improvement.

It was fun to work on.

Realistically, I’m not sure how practical the application is in terms of real-world usage. For me, if I need to translate something, I typically just load up a web-based translator, get the translation, and I’m done.

There aren’t many situations I can think of where people need to do enough translations where they’d want a winform-based application installed on their system.

I like doing fine-tuning of GUI functionality or coming up with ways to make things a bit more efficient. I had a lot of opportunities for that.

Also enjoyable was closing out the only open issue of the app — a bug that seemed to only affect translations for Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Cajun Creole when using the Bing translation API. The problem was easy to identify and thanks to other changes I made during my initial code cleanup, the fix was pretty simple.

Going forward, the biggest improvements I could see for it would be to make a more generic Translation Provider class and implement the Google and Bing methods within that. Hopefully this would help simplify things a bit and make it easier to add additional translators later on…

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Another One Bites The Dust…

A lot of my favorite blogs have been fading away in the past few years and there hasn’t been enough good ones stepping up to take their places.

One developer’s blog I absolutely loved back in the day was Steve Yegge’s Blog Rants. Even though he was always writing crazy-long posts, they were usually quite good, witty, and informative. His last post was in May 2009. While I’ll probably never have my own startup, write in Haskell, or whatever it was he was ranting about, it was always a bit interesting seeing things in a different light.

With a well-written blog and a pretty large audience, I used to read Jeff Attwood’s “Coding Horror” blog all of the time. Now that his focus is on his new company (and rightfully so, I guess), he tends to have a lot less meaningful posts. Instead, it’s either a quick couple paragraphs to talk about new stuff on StackOverflow or it’s just something to get people to react strongly and leave lots of comments agreeing or disagreeing with what he’s written. I don’t get a whole lot out of it anymore, which is a shame.

Last but certainly not least, I guess Joel is going to be added to my list…

I’m pretty bummed to read that Joel Spolsky is giving up on blogging, writing for Inc., and doing podcasts. He had a lot of great insights to share. I really liked hearing about things like evidence-based time estimates on projects. I used to love reading his blog and even have some of the books.

I guess it’s not THAT bad, though. Blogs like these are great when you’re still wet-behind-the-ears and need someone to authoritatively tell you what should and shouldn’t be done. Once you get a feel for real-world development and have a good enough grasp on best-practices, you really don’t need them as much.

If the blogging paradigm is slowly dying for the big and influential bloggers I like, I guess that’s just the way it goes… Thankfully, I still have a few good tech podcasts left :)