The Hybrid Strategy

When thinking about moving to the cloud it’s very often portrayed as one or the other – Cloud or On-Premise.

And this is wrong.  There is a third market which has existed for some time that organizations may find themselves in for an extended period of time as they trial, test and validate before going from on-premise to the cloud.

The Hybrid.

The Hybrid is the world where some of your organization exists on-premise and some in the cloud.  It might not be a direct break between organizations or people, it could be a segregation of applications or channels of communication – asynchronous in the cloud, real-time on premise, data on premise, communications in the cloud.

Whichever the break, it exists and as a developer it’s a windfall of an opportunity for one very important reason.

The Developers who can build code that work on-premise and in the cloud and manage that dicey Hybrid world will be the winners as long as they are able to ensure that the customer experience never changes.  Sure it would hopefully get better as they transition to the cloud, but it should be seamless, effortless and simple.  It should not be a gargantuan task or undertaking that takes the company offline for 5 hours before coming back and realizing something was gone before having to fall back to the on-premise model.

The opportunity to not only build software that functions on-premise and on-cloud but also in a here and there scenario allows that developer to move past the current Cloud First strategies and into their own Customer First strategy which is infinitely more beneficial to your customer.

Selling Yourself

This is the last thing anybody wants to do, it’s not easy, its awkward and everyone always worries how they come off.

But it’s a necessity to life – especially in technology.

Whether it be to an interview, a performance review or meeting someone at a conference for the first time, at some point you are going to have to Sell Yourself… not for the sale… but for the you.

Now this not about shilling the product you just spent 8 months working on, no this is about you the person having to show your team, your leader, your peers, etc that you deserve to be there and better yet, you deserve to take on new opportunities.

So what do you focus on when you are just selling you?

  • What do you bring to the table?
  • Why are you invaluable?
  • What unique skill sets do you have?  (Notice unique, everyone knows JQuery but what about your knowledge makes you brilliant).
  • What would be the impact if you left?  How much of a crater would you leave?
  • Keep up with your platform and fields of interest in your industry?

But then how do you do this?

  • It’s not a gathering of resumes, but the best way to show what you bring to the table it to put your work ON the table – show people what you have done, inside and outside your team.
  • Take the hard, most risky work, volunteer for it, own it, make it yours and make it sing.
  • Embed your creativity into all that you build, if we wanted templates, we wouldn’t be here.
  • If/When you leave – you want them calling you months after you have left – not because your code is so bad, but because it is so good and you took the time to understand the problem in order to build it.
  • Read, Code, Blog – Learn it, live it, love it, never stop, build your own following.

These are some ideas, but the list can go on and on and I hope your mind is whirring with ideas.

But here’s the secret to selling yourself, if you are doing it right, no one will ever know.

Take the Complex, Make it Simple

I’ve blogged about taking something complex and making it simple before (and half a million others  have as well so its good we’re all on the same path) but beyond that I am a big believe in the install and a user’s first experience with your “thing” – product, device, software, hard drive, et al – is a lasting impression.

Today, I was looking to install WordPress on Windows 2012, knowing I’d need MySQL and PHP and hook it up to IIS, or do I use Apache,  etc, etc and then do I need PHP MyAdmin.  The list goes on just like that sentence.

Found this great article on using the Microsoft Web Platform Installer which I had not used in a number of years and was blown away by the simplicity of using the app and getting everything I needed done (by their count 16 tasks) which resulted in having WordPress installed and up and running clean as can be.

To elaborate what this app did;

  • Allowed me to select my version of PHP, MySQL and WordPress.
  • Queued it all for an install with IIS (I didn’t want to use Apache)
  • Ran through my 16 install tasks.
  • Prompted me with 3 screens; 1 for MySQL Creds, 1 for PHP Creds, 1 for WordPress Creds
  • Presented me with the login page to my new website.

How am I feeling after this experience;

  • Blown away, I went from hours to 10 minutes.
  • I installed it all the way I wanted, where I wanted, how I wanted.
  • I was able to start working in 15 minutes on my project.

The installation, often overlooked, always remembered, it’s the gateway to creating your best user experience with whatever you are building.

BTW – If you are interested in doing the above, the tutorial I followed for this is located here  and the tool itself is located here.

Service Restarts Go Boom!

Want to throw a wrench into someone’s day?  Assign them a critical production bug.

Everything they had planned for that day just went out the window as they now to try to identify, isolate and solve the problem.  Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s not and the time it can take to resolve can go from an hour to the entire day.

Want to throw a grenade into someone’s day?  Tell them they have to restart a service or reboot the system for this production bug to be resolved AFTER a change to data has been made.

There is nothing that drives users or release managers over the edge more than having to restart your crummy service all because you had to change a configuration file and/or update a database table.  And yes, I am going to call it a crummy service because there are so many patterns and libraries out there that it is so easy to wire an event to a configuration, listen on the event and reload and/or set a time to refresh your cache.

IT guys love, love, love self-healing services that when they fall over restart, when something changes they reload.  In short – they just don’t do, they think.

Want to impress someone with your amazing coding skills?  Ask them (IT) to update the logging flag on your service so you can see the debug statements coming out and identify what is really going on in the service, all while not affecting a user’s ability to interact with and use the system while you are working on it.

It’s something small, it might take you an extra day of coding with some unit tests et al (configuration files), other changes maybe a bit longer, but in the end – the work will always, always be worth it.

Don’t believe me?  Just take a look at the guy’s face who needs to make the change on that critical server next time, their smile will say it a.