Monthly Archives: January 2013

Heading for SAP HANA

A couple weeks ago, I started a new position as software development manager building a team for a new cloud based product dealing with big data. Evaluating various storage solutions we came along the SAP HANA database, an large-scale in–memory database with fascinating computing capabilities. Not only SAP HANA, all kinds of other great technologies sitting along the way waiting for being picked up on the upcoming journey.

We will focus a lot on SQL 1992 Standard and the new SQLScript language provided by SAP HANA, R, JavaScript, HTML5 but also Eclipse and Java writing plug-ins for third party components. We will deal a lot with RESTful Web services, JSON format, OData protocol and huge amounts of data. So if you feel home at these these technologies looking for new challenges in Karlsruhe (Mannheim area), drop me a line.

Changing the technology stack? Not really….

Said that, for my day job I am heading away from C# and .NET quite a lot. I still use C# a lot for me side projects. However, for quite a while I started using Python more an more for many tasks I performed with .NET before. I will still write for the .NET magazine dotnetpro, even when my recent article series is about JavaScript frameworks, though. 

During my time at Microsoft Research, we investigated a lot of heterogeneous technologies, used them and developed even some. Beside C#, we used F# a lot, ANSI C, R as well and even ANTLR. We developed a new scripting language called Vedea fully compatible to the Processing syntax. Before we worked on visual languages for programming and worked with the CCR/DSS team on the concurrent programming models.     

Not be afraid of technology, you should be, Yoda might say…

One thing I’ve learned during my time at MSRC was not being narrow minded and not being freighted by technology. Our architect at MSRC once told me not being afraid of technology. It might take some time, maybe it is be not easy nor very convenient, however, someone built it, so you can figure it out.

What I do realize more often than not, is the fact developers stick within their comfort zone. They want to stay with a particular technology because it’s easy, the feel at home, the know everything a lot and so on…

Time to change, or maybe not (yet)?

Recently a friend told me, he thinks it’s impossible to change to another technology after coding in C# for several years… That’s just not right. Once you understood the concepts behind a certain kind of technology, there is no reason not to move on. So here are some excuses I have heard during the last few yeas…

  • I don’t like [put in any kind of technology]
  • I don’t like the syntax of [same as above] 
  • I never can learn everything I missed during the last [put in any timeframe]
  • That’s a step backwards [put in any high-tech company] did with this technology
  • This [put in any kind of technology] has no future

In fact, any of these statements just is a excuse not to learn something new, to stick with the well known and not moving out of your comfort zone. Said that. stand up, learn something new and move a step forward… technologies change rapidly, so you should change as well…

On Track – OpenTDD Open Source Simulation Game

I truly adore open source developers in the field of PC games. Since working on the Vedea graphics engine at Microsoft Research, I haven’t found much time working on graphics engines or game like projects. I recently spent some time in investigating about game projects pushed by a development community and was positively surprised how much effort is put into various gaming projects.

The first one I came across was OpenTDD, an open source version of the legend Transport Tycoon Deluxe by Microprose at some point in the 1990s.

“OpenTTD is an open source simulation game based upon the popular Microprose game ‘Transport Tycoon Deluxe’, written by Chris Sawyer. It attempts to mimic the original game as closely as possible while extending it with new features.”

If you still own a original CD, you can use the sound and graphics bits or just download a free available version of the resources provided by the community during installation.

OpenTDD

There are also additional content available, details how to get it is described in the online manual. It is quite easy to start with the simulation, however, there are endless options you discover throughout the gameplay, including enhancements over the original simulation.

OpenTDD is still actively developed and maintained, which is a great achievement of the developers of the game. o ahead an give it a try if you like simulation games or in case you have been a fan of Transport Tycoon.

Ditto Clipboard Manager

One of the most annoying limitations using any version of Windows, is the clipboard and its limited capacity of one entry. Even Microsoft’s DOS supported sort of a clipboard striking the F7 key to choose from the last ten commands.

Command Prompt Clipboard

However, using Windows only one single item can be placed into the clipboard. Using multiple tools, documents over time one would speed up work significantly if it would be possible to keep many things in the clipboard at once.

Quite a while ago, Microsoft introduced the Clipboard Ring for Visual Studio to cycle through the most recent copied code snippets as especially developers often need different fragments of code over and over again (said that kids, please remember, copied code is never good at all).

Anyway, how great would be the experience using Windows if one could access such a clipboard ring or similar outside of Visual Studio? Ditto Clipboard Manager is a small open source project, providing especially this functionality:

“Ditto is an extension to the standard windows clipboard. It saves each item placed on the clipboard allowing you access to any of those items at a later time. Ditto allows you to save any type of information that can be put on the clipboard, text, images, html, custom formats, …..”

It does keep anything in your clipboard, is easy accessible and does even provide a preview for many things copied during your work day.

Ditto

There is a whole bunch of shortcuts and  if you don’t like its appearance go ahead and theme it differently. I haven’t tried all the options Ditto does provide, however, I am already using it on all my machines at work as well as home. So go and give it a try.