Archive for February, 2013
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
At Genuitec, we are very interested in the longevity of software tooling because it is critical for our customers’ success. At its most basic level, software environment longevity is the ability to create a permanent archive of your complete software development environment coupled with the ability to reinstantiate the archive to enable future software maintenance with the same known-good environment.
A concrete example of longevity requirements can be seen in the airline industry. For example, if an airplane has an embedded system with a fault, you must be able fix that issue in an exceedingly reliable manner. Doing so requires you to have access to the environment used to initially develop the software because the inability to reproduce the exact known-good environment means that any maintenance work has a higher risk of introducing even more problems. That’s not a situation you want to be in when your software has peoples’ lives literally hanging in the balance.
Key requirements of any environment longevity solution:
- Development Stack Archival
Development configurations must be archived for each software release and must include add-on software and dependent tools. The full suite of tools must be archived to ensure reproducibility of build artifacts when later working on the software maintenance.
- Source and Associated Configuration Archival
Association of configuration and source definitions as part of a stack archive is critical to reconstituting the full environment used to develop software. Only tracking the tools, but not their configuration, requires a separate repository of configuration; which would introduce additional risk.
- Easy Reconstitution of Past Environments
Facilitating a longevity environment not only necessitates archiving software but also ensuring that teams can easily access archived builds. Easy access helps facilitate and ensure compliance as the longevity tooling becomes a key part of the business workflow.
- Offsite Archival of Stacks
While we like to believe that all systems will continue to work for decades, reality dictates that we have a reliable way to ensure reconstitution of long term archives. Longevity tools must provide self-contained artifacts that can reconstitute the archived tools and configuration without requiring server infrastructure.
- Visibility into Archived Stacks
As part of tracking and archiving tooling configurations and software, longevity mustsupport auditing and traceability for the archives. Whether from a compliance perspective, or to facilitate teams using previous archives, longevity systems must ensure easy access to archived stacks.
- Application of Patches to Archived Stacks
Patching of components in archived stacks can be required as part of maintenance activities when issues in the embedded software are a result of the tooling used, not only the source itself. When reconstituting a stack, it can be necessary to update a particular component to facilitate rectification of the issue being worked.
To Genuitec, longevity is synonymous with reproducibility and traceability. For longevity to be realized, not only must you ensure access to your development tool stacks from past years, but you must also be able to easily configure those stacks for use with any required software that was outside of your base development tooling. And, once all the tools are in place, you must finally be able to determine the precise set of source projects, branches, settings and configurations you used during the original development activities.
Some of our embedded systems customers must support the software they write today for 5 to 25 years or more. No matter if you have a shorter or longer time horizon in your industry, your basic concerns remain the same because longevity is critical for all types of software development.
How do you address your software environment longevity requirements?
- Tim Webb
About the Blogger:
Tim is lead architect for SDC at Genuitec, where we think he is the very definition of awesome. When Tim sneezes- he leaks awesome. On one occasion he sneezed so hard, SDC was born. When he’s not being awesome, he enjoys quiet picnics and long walks on the beach.
Monday, February 25th, 2013
With the number of smart devices growing by the day and the amount of time people are connected to their devices growing exponentially, we’ve reached a time in the corporate life-cycle wherein if you’re not offering your customers a mobile solution, then you’re one step closer to extinction. As such, IT Teams around the world are scrambling to develop and manage mobile technology, on-the-go sites, and apps. But where do you start? How do you prepare your programmers to adjust all they know and what they do to position your company in a mobile world? Do you learn new programming languages or outsource?
It’s a daunting but inescapable task. A task where you just wish there was an “Easy button” you could reach across your desk to push and BAM! the problem is solved.
Now that you have a headache just thinking about, what if I told you that Genuitec has your Easy button? That there is NO need to outsource or learn new code, that finding your starting point was as easy as a download?
Next month when Genuitec releases MyEclipse 2013, we will allow your Java EE and web developers to utilize the skill sets they already have and turn those skills into HTML5 and Cross-Platform hybrid apps (iOS, Android). From legacy applications to new creations, MyEclipse 2013 will provide beginning-to-end mobile technology without the hassle of learning new code.
We think your developers are already great, now they can be stupendous with Mobile First support.
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
As someone who works in the software world, I’m always on the prowl for the latest innovations, the newest IT trends and secretly hoping the Back to the Future hoverboard will suddenly become available at my local Super Target.
This week while juggling my lunch over my computer, I stumbled across a complete Jetsons’ fantasy land! BusinessWeek ran an article by Brad Stone on a company called SmartThings who is currently working on advancements for my dream home, a home that runs itself. SmartThings is actively developing smart home technology to connect electronics and appliances over the cloud to each other and to consumer’s smartphones. As a working mom, these types of innovation are incredibly exciting.
One of the other things that really spoke to me in this article was the approach being taken by SmartThings. They are hoping to create a breeding ground for innovation by working with a community of hackers and developers and supplying them with development tools. In turn, SmartThings hopes to receive a wealth of new ideas and prototypes that have been generated with their technology. You can read the full BusinessWeek article here.
This approach of reaching out to the community, is not a new approach, however, it is an approach that is sadly underutilized. To me, it makes perfect sense as being focused on a specific goal often clouds our ability to navigate other options. It’s the principle of two eyes being better than one.
This approach also makes me incredibly proud to work for Genuitec, who has been nurturing innovation in this fashion for years. We have exciting ideas all the time, but we also recognize that our customers, colleagues, and competitors have great ideas too. You may have an amazing idea but lack the backing to see it to fruition, and we’d like to help! We’re always thrilled to aid entrepreneurs with innovating the latest technological advancements. If you have an idea for the next breakthrough, I would encourage you to check out our Eclipse Venture Fund.
I look forward to hearing about the technological rabbit trails you’re on!
- Iris Meneley
About the Blogger:
Iris is the Social Media & Public Relations Coordinator for Genuitec, where she has been in employ since 2010. She is a wife and mother, an avid reader, a movie junkie and enjoys organizing to excess.
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
With all the customization options available in Mobile Development programs, it’s very easy to get caught up in the over-abundance of options, especially where design is concerned. Our brains have been trained to pile on the toppings whether we like them or not. This “more the merrier” mentality can turn your well-thought out app into a mass of clutter faster than you can state the numerical definition of Pi (that’s 3.14159265358979323846 for my non-mathematical friends).
Cluttered apps are not only hard on the eyes, but they’re also incredibly challenging to navigate through. It irritates your users, and completely diminishes your app’s ability to convey a message to the world. Any chance at ROI is immediately vanquished. The challenge to create an impactful, navigable, eye-catching app while making sure all your bases are covered remains a slippery slope. Drawing the line between too much and too little, too plain and too busy has become an art form.
Lara Strain, a tech writer for Genuitec, with the assistance of our Mobile Development team has put together a great list of Design Styling Tips to ensure your app doesn’t get off track, which I will highlight for you below. This list highlights the best practices we’ve seen in designing mobile applications. You can view the full document directly on our site, http://www.genuitec.com/mobile/docs/designStyling/designStyling.html.
Tips for Designing without Deteriorating your App
1) Simplicity makes for easy navigation and clear messaging
2) Colors & Gradients add personality but should always be used in moderation to prevent visual overload
3) Using custom artwork and images provides flair and easy branding opportunity
4) Choose a simple text and stay consistent throughout the design
5) Strengthen branding with unique and sexy splash screens or StartUp images
We hope these tips will shed some light on your design dilemmas and look forward to hearing your thoughts on mobile application design.
Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
Our Secure Delivery Center architect, Tim Webb, just returned from a speaking engagement in London at the Monki Gras event. He talked to virtualization and what it means to work in a company (Genuitec) that operates entirely virtual. We’ve been doing this since 1997 and maintain global sales to Fortune 1000 companies on a daily basis – but we have no office. Below you’ll see the slides used at this event – but let’s share some key takeaways.
1. Availability of the team. This means having the right management tools in place, such as Skype, to know who’s online and when. This is key as folks are expected to keep normal business hours during their working day, but since a work/life balance is important in Genuitec – sometimes people go off and run errands or take care of the kids, or walk the dogs (or whatever). When folks are “out” they let us know by religiously using their Skype status to inform their team of what’s going on and when. It helps us all plan better and more efficiently without an office.
2. Everything in the cloud. Since we’re all working together on various projects from creating new software, to updating existing software with marketing and sales departments working in lockstep, we must have all the information available without constantly downloading it (or bugging each other). So we use the cloud – a lot. If the marketing department needs information on products in the pipeline we’ll go to Google Drive and pull it down. If the sales team needs detailed info for a customer, they can find the technical documents all nicely organized and existing in places where we all can grab it. The cloud is key.
3. Expected responsiveness. This ties into the availability of the team. Essentially, if your Skype status is “green” your team members expect you to respond within 20 minutes otherwise, are you really available? If your status is set to “red”, then no ones bugs you, and “yellow” you’re away. Simple really, but nonetheless important in a virtual environment. Even if a team member is busy a simple… “I’ll get back to you”… suffices and let’s us know you’re on point.
4. New hires should fail fast. That sounds a bit tough, but working virtually is not for everyone. We’ve had top folks from known IT companies work here and they simply couldn’t get into the groove of what’s needed and when. We say “fail fast” because while overtime people do improve, we’re looking for folks with skill sets that go beyond software development and into time management, communication, and basic IT skills. Surprisingly, the smartest developers in the world can have trouble setting up their email client – that just doesn’t cut it when working virtually so we move on and look for folks that are the “whole package” so to speak.
5. Communication guidelines. This falls into points 1 and 3. Essentially, when working virtually you must talk about expectations on communications. We don’t care if you’re working in your underwear or even come in late to work, but it must be established right away how we all talk to each other, whether on the phone or through Skype or using IM and text messaging. In today’s day & age there are dozens of valid communications channels – and we use them all. Finding the right channel is key and then having the understanding if you’re 6,000 miles away you’ll still respond (not if you’re sleeping though or off hours). :)
6. Project managers are human resource managers. Yes, that lands on the plates of managers for one key reason – the managers drive the product/marketing/sales teams and must work with people they may not meet face-to-face. So the managers decide not only the capabilities of their staff, but if the new hire fits in culturally with the company. It’s a compatibility issue that is addressed on this level to cut out the middleman of a “HR manager” and instead take this task right to the various team managers as a priority in the hiring process.
7. Everyone is IT. At Genuitec we work on some of the most complex technologies in the market and have folks here who have left Silicon Valley to spend more time at home with family, friends and pets. The value is tremendous for everyone in this organization. But, if you get a virus on your computer, or you can’t access email, or you’re having problems installing programs — you must figure it out. There is no IT manager who will stop by your house to fix the issue, so all employees in Genuitec are highly proficient at being their own IT manager. It’s a must in the scheme of working virtually.
There’s more to learn, you can check out the slide deck below. Or if you have questions or would like to work here, just email: info//at//genuitec//dot//com
FYI: The photos in the deck below are actual Genuitec employee offices.
Monday, February 4th, 2013
CERN, the leading research facility for investigation into the origins of the universe, chose our Secure Delivery Center [SDC] to address their unique open source tooling objectives. With a focus on science coupled with a revolving door of software engineers, CERN needed a solution to facilitate rapid tooling support for control systems of the Large Hadron Collider [LHC].
SDC delivers the exact software needed for CERN engineers to develop and support their numerous tools, while CERN’s IT managers benefit by low overhead and rapid knowledge transference.
To learn how CERN uses SDC to manage the LHC and its unique operational environment, please see the case study here.
Learn more about SDC, here.
If some of the smartest scientists and software engineers who created the World Wide Web and distributed computing use SDC, maybe you should try it out – click here for a free trail of SDC.