Blogs and Communities

Ideas and Thoughts From the Corgis

  • GIS Basics
    JAN 17, 2017 • Written by David Grieser

    Do you use a GPS navigator on road trips? Or a GPS watch to track your run or bike ride? Then, you’ve been exposed to GIS. GIS stands for Geographic Information System. Even if you haven’t used the two items I mentioned, I’m confident you’ve experienced it, as most everyone has used GIS in one form or another. The most common usage is the maps application on a smartphone.

  • The Postman Always Helps Twice
    JAN 10, 2017 • Written by Nickie McCabe

    In my role as Director of Operations at Corgibytes, one of my responsibilities is automating and optimizing our day-to-day tasks and workflow. As a result, one of the common patterns of my work is gathering, manipulating, and presenting data of various sorts. Thankfully, much of the data I’m gathering is accessible via API, which means I get to use one of my favorite technical tools: Postman.

  • A Brief History of Enterprise Software - Part 2, Cloud City and Open Source Makin' It Rain
    JAN 5, 2017 • Written by Brian Bassett

    A few months ago, I wrote about how a small group of engineers with a noble idea created open source software and changed the world. The idea proved the collective intelligence model for software development and allowed for an explosion of software products. In this post, we will explore how those early gains accelerated quickly through cloud computing and the birth of Software as a Service (SaaS)

  • Starting a Journey with Clojure and ClojureScript
    JAN 3, 2017 • Written by Kamil Ogórek

    If you've never tried functional programming development, I assure you that this is one of the best time investments you can make. You will not only learn a new programming language, but also a completely new way of thinking. A completely different paradigm.

  • White Space as an Active Element: Learning to Say No
    DEC 22, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    If you sent me an email today, you’d get an autoresponder that starts with a quote from Jan Tschichold. What better quote to feature during my own “White Space” time in December and January, during which I’ve purposely limited my meeting schedule and am only checking email once a day.

  • Technical Interviews Are Not Spec Work
    DEC 20, 2016 • Written by M. Scott Ford

    We're interviewing people to join the Corgibytes team. When I mention this to others, I hear a wide range of opinions on what exactly those technical interviews should look like. Over the years, I've experienced the gamut myself. Some were intensive. Some thought-provoking. Some... bizarre.

  • I Hate Testing Angular Applications
    DEC 13, 2016 • Written by Catalina De la cuesta

    First, a confession: I recently wrote a blog post about unit testing an Angular application. Well, as it turns out, what I was in fact doing was trying to convince everybody of the joys of Angular testing. Including myself.

  • Technical Blogging as Storytelling
    DEC 8, 2016 • Written by Jocelyne Morin-Nurse

    Do you remember the scene in Silver Linings Playbook when our main character portrayed by Bradley Cooper, Pat Solitano Jr, finishes reading his Hemingway novel (if you haven’t, caution, strong language)? I’ve done that. In my mind only, sure. But I have uttered swear words after finishing books, movies, TV series, and even blog posts.

  • On Getting Old(er) in Tech
    DEC 6, 2016 • Written by Don Denoncourt

    After years of scoffing at talk of prejudice in the information technology field -- as a white male with good hair --, I'm starting to call prejudice against my being old(er). It’s true: age discrimination is a real thing.

  • Boosting Confidence in Your Code
    NOV 29, 2016 • Written by David Grieser

    I was looking for inspiration for my next blog topic and read through some of my old posts. I came across one called “Confidence From Your Code” that originally appeared on Femgineer in 2014. I thought: “Perfect! It's been a few years since I wrote that, I now work with Corgibytes and have even more legacy code experience, I'll update my thoughts.”

  • Corgis' First Computers
    NOV 24, 2016 • Written by Jocelyne Morin-Nurse

    Working on a remote team, we need to be extra creative to find ways to socialize, get to know each other better and even share a few laughs. Those natural moments like a quick hello-how-are-you in the hallway just don't happen. That's why we've enlisted the help of our very own custom bot member, Ein.

  • Free Class on Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps!
    NOV 22, 2016 • Written by Jocelyne Morin-Nurse

    Our beloved Chief Code Whisperer, M. Scott Ford, was invited – again – to be a guest lecturer at the Harvard Extension School. Watch this FREE class on continuous integration, continuous delivery, and DevOps from our own “Bob Vila of the Internet” (and special thanks to Trainer and Coach Richard Kasperowski, Teaching Assistant Wendy Wong, the Harvard Extension School, and the amazing students in the Agile Software Development class).

  • The Importance of Empathy
    NOV 15, 2016 • Written by Nickie McCabe

    Over the past year, we’ve written a lot about empathy on this blog. We’ve discussed empathy-driven development, the empathy spectrum, and the fact that empathy is a skill. And like any skill, it can be learned and takes practice to build. But perhaps one of the most important posts was actually an update to an existing one.

  • A Brief History of Enterprise Software - Part 1, Making the World a Better Place
    NOV 10, 2016 • Written by Brian Bassett

    As a person who has worked in enterprise software and technology for almost 20 years, I always marvel at how different this industry looks from twenty, ten, or even just five years ago. Over the last two years, the landscape has shifted for classic enterprise vendors like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft in dramatic ways, but the massive tectonic shifts we now see have only been due to the incremental changes deep below the surface for decades.

  • Highlights of This Year's EuroClojure and ReactiveConf
    NOV 8, 2016 • Written by Kamil Ogórek

    If you love old architecture and castles, you'll fall for Bratislava. Easily one of the most beautiful places you can visit in Europe, this Slovakian capital is small enough that you can drive/walk quickly to most places, but big enough to fill your schedule for a few days. It may surprise some to find out that, when it comes to software development, the area is very quickly becoming one of the European tech hubs. Last month, Bratislava hosted two big conferences in one week.

  • Throwaway Code
    NOV 1, 2016 • Written by M. Scott Ford

    Over the years, I've heard a lot of different attitudes regarding code that’s going to be thrown away. Let me be clear here. I’m not talking about code that we think might get thrown away. I’m talking about code that we know will get thrown away.

  • I'm in the Band
    OCT 27, 2016 • Written by Jocelyne Morin-Nurse

    Last Friday, I caught a friend’s band at a local pub. I know how it sounds. “A friend’s band. That’s cute.” Except it’s not like that. This friend is an exceptional guitarist. When he plays, it’s like watching Joe Satriani, Jimmy Hendrix, Slash. His instrument becomes an expression of his soul.

  • Testing an Angular Application
    OCT 25, 2016 • Written by Catalina De la cuesta

    I recently started writing tests for an Angular application, so I had to go through the entire process of researching the tools, installing and setting up the libraries, writing the tests and learning the tricks. Here's what I discovered.

  • Git Blame Isn't for Incrimination
    OCT 18, 2016 • Written by David Grieser

    When building a feature or fixing a bug, you will be reading the code that exists. One thing I do often is ask, “Why was this done this way?” Programming is not a binary profession. Fuzzy logic would be a better way to explain how problems get solved. Just as programmers' experiences vary, you can find many solutions to get from 0 to 1. So, when I want to answer my initial question, I leverage git blame.

  • KonMari Your Code; Refactor Your Life
    OCT 13, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    Is your code difficult to work with? Chances are, it’s time to get rid of code you don’t need. That can be a scary prospect, but the rewards can be well worth the effort. Recently, I was inspired by KonMari, a technique for decluttering physical spaces, to help me visualize how to refactor codebases to make them easier to work with.

  • Autodeploying Angular Applications to AWS OpsWorks
    OCT 11, 2016 • Written by Don Denoncourt

    Amazon OpsWorks is an excellent, low-cost option for Platform-as-a-Service hosting. OpsWorks provides relatively easy-to-use UI mechanisms to manage, deploy and host applications on AWS EC2. Corgibytes uses OpsWorks to host both Rails-based and Angular-based servers for one of our clients. Configuring the Rails-based OpsWorks hosts was easy – mostly because there are tons of blog posts on how to do it. But setting up the Angular server was a bit more problematic for me, as my good friend, Google, provided little help.

  • Bootstrapping a Simple Blog Scheduler
    OCT 4, 2016 • Written by Nickie McCabe

    As our blogging efforts increased this past quarter, our Lead Content Whisperer, Jo, requested a mechanism to publish blog posts in advance. I was happy to volunteer to build a simple solution using the tools we already had in place.

  • Surviving as a Less-Technical on a Highly-Technical Team
    SEP 29, 2016 • Written by Jocelyne Morin-Nurse

    Markdown, GitHub, Atom, Jekyll, rubber duck, refactoring… Those are just a few of the terms I had never heard before starting here at Corgibytes. Yes, I had heard of a rubber duck, but not being a rubber duck. In case anyone’s thinking “Oh, she’s one of those drips,” let me stop you right there. I’m a knowledge-thirsty geek.

  • Setting up a Minimal, Yet Useful Javascript Dev Environment
    SEP 27, 2016 • Written by Kamil Ogórek

    In an era of omnipresent frameworks, libraries and tooling, it may be hard to decide what tool to use and when. I know from experience, that the first thing you do, once you decide to write a module or CLI tool, is set up an environment. Some people love it, some hate it. But no matter on which side you are, you’ll most likely end up spending way too much time doing it, polishing every aspect of the setup.

  • Embracing the Red Bar: Safely Refactoring Tests
    SEP 20, 2016 • Written by M. Scott Ford

    Do you ever refactor your test code? If not, I hope you consider making this part of your normal practice. Test code is still code and should adhere to the same high standards as the code that's running directly in production. As important as it is, refactoring your test code is actually a little risky. It's very likely that you could turn a perfectly valid test into one that always passes, regardless of whether or not the code that it covers is correct. Let's explore a technique for protecting against that possibility.

  • Three Books That Influenced Corgibytes Culture
    SEP 15, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    One of the comments I get frequently is how the culture of Corgibytes feels distinctive. Clients enjoy working with us, employees are happy and not stressed out, and the company just kind of purrs. This didn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of lots of intention and implementing specific strategies.

  • I’m Not a Ninja Programmer, I’m a Yogi Developer!
    SEP 13, 2016 • Written by Catalina De la cuesta

    One of the many cool things that we do here at Corgibytes is yoga classes three times a week. The word “yoga” conjures up images of fit ladies on their mats in a classroom, and the teacher in the front doing crazy poses. You probably don’t imagine a group of people, each one sitting at his own desk, on different continents, connected online with the teacher and doing the crazy poses in their chairs. Well, that’s how our yoga classes are, and as unusual as this might sound, it is amazing. I love yoga classes!

  • Moving Remote to Remote
    SEP 6, 2016 • Written by David Grieser

    My first job out of college took me 1,500 miles from where I grew up. After a year of working there, I spent most days working from home along with my other co-workers. The team commuted to a single point about once a week since we enjoyed hanging out with each other and it helped us catch up on what we were working on. Shortly after this, I had a desire to move back home to spend time with family, but wanted to keep working with a great team. That wasn’t a problem and this soon unlocked the awesomeness that was being remote.

  • Bridging the Technical/Non-Technical Divide
    SEP 1, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    Eight years ago, I went to my high school reunion. I had worked successfully in the field of sales and marketing since graduation. I had started my own consultancy when I was twenty-four which helped clients with sales and developing their “brand voice.” I was the human voice behind businesses large and small. At the time I loved my job and had no plans on leaving my industry. At the reunion, I looked around, and after the mandatory mingling that comes with being a social butterfly, I locked eyes with someone I recognized. He was leaning against the bar, drinking a soda, and looking utterly uncomfortable. Yep. That was none other than M. Scott Ford.

  • My Quest for Mediocrity
    AUG 30, 2016 • Written by Don Denoncourt

    “How would you rate yourself as a programmer?” They always have to ask THAT question in job interviews. And I hate it. So much. Why do I hate it? Because I know they won’t like my answer. But what am I supposed to do, lie? Nope. I have to be honest. Which is why I take my time before responding. I take a deep breath, look deeply into the eyes of the interviewer, and, finally, I say: “Average.”

  • Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks
    AUG 23, 2016 • Written by Nickie McCabe

    One of the great benefits of working for a small company like Corgibytes is the ability to adopt change quickly, especially in day-to-day operations. Some of the biggest improvements in operational efficiency have come through our virtual office manager and assistant, a little canine chat bot we call Ein.

  • When an “Office” Is No Longer a Spatial Thing
    AUG 16, 2016 • Written by Jocelyne Morin-Nurse

    “You’re so lucky! You get to work in your pajamas!” That’s the most common reaction I get when I tell people I work from home. I don’t work in my pajamas. I’m pretty sure none of my colleagues do either. And if they do, they’re not sharing it. Obviously, it’s a personal decision, but, for me, when I’m in my pajamas, I want to chill, not work. And although my “office” is at times my recliner, I am working, not lounging.

  • Software Remodeling
    AUG 11, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    My dad is a self-described contrarian and eccentric. I love that about him. He doesn’t ever do something because that’s the way you’re “supposed to.” He’s also incredibly driven and energetic. He’s a fixer. If he sees a problem, watch out. If it aligns with one of his passions, he’ll put all of his energy towards finding a solution.

  • The IDE vs Text Editor Battle
    AUG 9, 2016 • Written by Catalina De la cuesta

    There are 10 types of programmers: those who use an IDE, and those who think that the ones who use an IDE are not real programmers. I'll start by making it clear that I belong to the first group and do care _a little bit_ about the other group’s opinion. So I decided to dig a little deeper and collect opinions about this topic. The choice was either to become a real programmer and switch to a text editor, or to reinforce that I am a real programmer who uses an IDE!

  • You Are Not Your Stereotype
    AUG 4, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    Stereotype threat is especially pervasive in technology. For women, this manifests as the “girls are bad at math” stereotype. For men, it's more often “you have no social skills.”

  • How We Use Daily Journals
    AUG 2, 2016 • Written by Nickie McCabe

    One of the most important expectations we have for all team members is that he or she keep a daily journal. While I was skeptical when we first started this practice, now I can’t imagine our team functioning without it.

  • Renaming Rails Models: A Do-Over Approach
    JUL 21, 2016 • Written by Don Denoncourt

    The process of renaming models in Rails can be very error prone. To just start renaming files and changing class names and search-replace variable names is fraught with peril -- so I figured having the ability to repeat the process, in essence fix my scripting mistakes and “do-over,” was important.

  • We're Excited about Docker Distributed Application Bundles
    JUN 22, 2016 • Written by M. Scott Ford

    Docker's new Distributed Application Bundles are an exciting development. They have the potential to be revolutionary for describing the structure of a distributed application and making that description something that can be deployed as a single file.

  • A Mob of Corgis
    JUN 12, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    An experience report of using Mob Programming at Corgibytes. Trust, which was already high, became even stronger. Clients became more engaged and several commented on how much value they were getting from working with the Corgibytes team. When clients felt like they were getting more value, sales, grew, too.

  • Communication Is Just As Important As Code
    JUN 6, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    I had the pleasure of keynoting at Ruby Nation where I expanded on one of the core values at Corgibytes: Communication Is Just As Important As Code. This post is pretty much a transcript of my talk. I got great feedback and am looking forward to presenting on this topic more.

  • Building Software with the Empathy Spectrum
    MAY 27, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    If we want our developers to have more empathy for our customers, we as employers need to have more empathy for developers. We need to cast off the stereotype of good developers being only those people who are emotionless, data-driven, Spock-like caricatures, and embrace the fact that as humans, we all experience emotion.

  • Portrait of an IBMi Modernization Project
    MAY 9, 2016 • Written by Don Denoncourt

    I’m going to list tools and strategies that a state-of-the-art application development project should be using. Essentially a portrait of the infrastructure of a successful IBMi application start. I’ll start with suggestions on dealing with the daunting task of selecting a language and framework. Then, I’ll recommend tools for source control, testing, editing, collaborative communication, knowledge base management, and project management. And I’ll finish with some considerations for RPG integration strategies and database enhancements.

  • How We at Corgibytes Developed Our Core Values
    APR 28, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    At Corgibytes, we have five core values: Think of Others, Calm the Chaos, Communication is Just as Important as Code, Adopt a Growth Mindset, and Craftsmanship in Context. These values are the nucleus of our company: the center of all decisions, big and small, for the Corgibytes executive team and staff. Here's a look at each one in detail.

  • Engineers, Interruptibility, and Inception Layers
    APR 15, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    How do you interrupt your engineers appropriately? At Corgibytes, we use Inception Layers do describe how interruptible we are.

  • How Empathy Driven Development is Transforming The Tech Industry
    APR 1, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    When we put empathy at the center of our technology, human connection becomes stronger. Infusing empathy throughout your organization and development strategy can have profound positive impacts on customer loyalty, employee retention, and vendor service.

  • Pyramid of Automated Tests
    MAR 28, 2016 • Written by M. Scott Ford

    Integration tests? Unit tests? Acceptance tests? How do all these tests work together and what should you focus on first? We like to think of testing as a pyramid. The goal is to build an entire pyramid and keep it growing at scale.

  • Why We Stopped Estimating Ongoing Development
    MAR 4, 2016 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    Estimates are useful. They help business owners predict and control their budget, scope, and timelines. Right? Well, not always. Over the years, we’ve learned that there are some projects where estimates work great and others where it’s a disaster.

  • Delayed Job on OpsWorks: A Chef Recipe Debugging Story
    JAN 5, 2016 • Written by Don Denoncourt

    One of my current projects' Rails application is hosted on AWS OpsWorks. OpsWorks is a lower-cost alternative to Heroku and EngineYard that still provides a full-suite of features, from deployment to scalability and fail-over. As with most Rails applications, this application requires background tasks.

  • I Lied About My Role Model in a Job Interview
    OCT 25, 2015 • Written by Don Denoncourt

    When I was interviewed by Corgibytes for a lead developer position, I was asked who were my role models. I responded David Heinemeier-Hansson (DHH) and Kent Beck. I expounded: DHH because he is a business developer rather than a computer scientist and he has great ideas about achieving excellence while maintaining a work/life balance. And furthermore Kent Beck because, as brilliant as he is, he still sees himself as a coder. Whatever.... The thing is, I lied.

  • 5 Reasons to Try bitHound for Your Next JavaScript Project
    OCT 13, 2015 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    When a JavaScript project comes our way, we’ve found bitHound to be a fantastic tool to help us understand where we can have the most impact on a project. We love them, and not just because their company also has a dog in their name. So what makes bitHound stand out from other static analysis tools out there? We’re glad you asked.

  • Developer Differences: Makers vs Menders
    AUG 14, 2015 • Written by Andrea Goulet

    While it's true that there are many software developers who do enjoy starting with a clean slate, there is also a group who loves working on making existing applications better. Rather than starting from scratch and building an 80% solution, these developers are ideal for taking over a project once it's become stable, and nurturing it for a long time. Neither developer is better. Both are needed in the software world. You just need to understand when to use each one.

  • Hey, White House! APIs Are Not Copyrightable.
    JUN 1, 2015 • Written by M. Scott Ford

    There's been an interesting case winding it's way through the court system in the United States over the past few years. The outcome of the case is hinging on one small question: Can you copyright an API?