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CodeMash Blog 5 of 10

CodeMash is a unique event that educates software developers on current practices, methodologies, and technology trends in a variety of platforms and development languages such as Java, .Net, Ruby, Python and PHP. Different than most conferences, this three-day event ‘mashes’ together ideologies and individual developer experiences to discuss, learn and even attack certain problems. Grand Rapids based, CQL, sent seven of its developers to this large software development conference. Following is our Codemash Installment #5 of 10.

The People vs. Javascript

This was a 4 hour presentation on the topic of the flaws in Javascript. The format was a 53 question online quiz that all the people in the session took, with the presenters explaining the answers after the group had answered. (The quiz itself was interesting, as it was written using Javascript sockets, with the presenter “pushing” new questions to the clients, and the clients posting the answers back to the server. The “score” for each answer was displayed in real-time as people answered, and next to each person’s name was an indicator for whether they answered the question correctly.) The questions mostly seemed to be the “trick-question” type of question, but they ended up being a very good teaching tool, as they illustrated the quirks of Javascript very well. The presentation was both interesting and informative, and was one of my better CodeMash experiences.

Blazingly Fast Services Using Node.js and MongoDB

This was a pretty good session showing off Node.js (Javascript on the server). Most of the presentation was coding a web server in Node.js for a small two page website. The site was the usual – show a list of products, click a link to add or edit one. Save. Back to list. (Boring). It was the server side that was interesting. The presenter used a web framework called Express to set up routes and handle the GET and POST requests, saving and retrieving objects in MongoDB using a library called Mongoose. Keep in mind, this is all in Javascript - very strange for a web developer to see server side code in Javascript, but kind of cool at the same time. Javascript is enjoying somewhat of a resurgence of late, partly due to Node.js, and I can see why. There are a lot of modules being written for Node.js, and some companies are taking it seriously as a server technology. Maybe something we could try sometime?

Database Migration (and Rollbacks)

This presentation was basically an introduction to a tool called FluentMigrator for doing database deployments. This tool is a fluent C# library that you use to deploy database updates and optionally roll them back. It can also be included in MSDeploy deployments, which would make it easier to deploy web and database updates all at once. I think the consensus of our group is that this is a neat idea, and maybe worth a try, but would take some time and careful consideration before fully trusting it. The presentation showed some very simple examples, and while a lot of our database deployments are straight forward, we usually don’t need to roll them back either (and if so, a simple script is usually good enough). I just can’t see the advantage of using a tool like this, unless we were to move to a fully automated deployment process (which is unlikely based on our process). At the very least, it’s good to be aware of tools like this, so we understand our options.

Check back for Codemash Installment #6 of 10.

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