M#, Carbon C++, Speculation Continues

•April 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Anyone who’s read Joe Duffy’s 2014 blog postings knows that there is something brewing in the Microsoft compiler and language department.  What language the new language will be based on (C#, or maybe C++) isn’t clear, or the name of said language.  Channel 9 forum’s offers some thoughts based on LinkedIn profiles etc.  Will anything be said about the new language at Build 2015 conference?  Or will we have to continue waiting for some while longer for Joe to post another titbit of information?

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

•April 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Jon Pittman’s “The Tyranny of the Minimum Viable Product” posting offers an interesting read on a subject that is often difficult when a stakeholder is asked to define the features of an MVP for a new product.

The intent behind the MVP idea is to minimize wasted effort and risk — to focus the product on only the key elements that will capture the imagination of early customers, let them understand the vision and direction, and see the product as an early demonstration of that vision.

Unfortunately, the devil is in the detail.  Stakeholders often get lost in the world of features, and before you know it, the MVP has n features, and n years of development to achieve MVP readiness.

LLVM-Based Compiler For .NET

•April 14, 2015 • 1 Comment

The NEW Microsoft is somewhat embracing Open Source.  2015 started with the CoreCLR being open sourced – the CoreCLR is the execution engine for .NET apps and performs compilation to machine code, garbage collection, and other core functionality to .NET.

Today,we hear that Russell Hadley on the LLVM mailing list that Microsoft has a new effort to

Produce MSIL code generators based on LLVM and targeting the open source dotnet CoreCLR

This new JIT will allow any C# program written for the .NET Core class libraries to run on any platform that CoreCLR can be ported to and that LLVM will target.


WatchKit Packaging and WKInterfaceController

•April 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Having spent the last few (late) night with Xcode playing with WatchKit apps, there are a few interesting takeaways for any new WatchKit developers:

  • Packaging of WatchKit apps is nicely explained by this diagram – target structure.   The storyboards are separate from the actual WatchKit code (WKInterfaceController etc).  More interestingly, and least well publicised is the fact that Apple Watch also uses wifi if possible, together with the default Bluetooth LE to communicate with its paired iPhone.
  • Actions and Outlets work as you’d expect – Control-Drag the UI widget from the storyboard into the Assistant editor page that contains the WKInterfaceController derived code, and the outlet will automatically be created and bound.  Essentially creating an IPC channel over Bluetooth to the paired iPhone :)
  • Shared app group’s are relevant if you want the two processes to access the same files or data (e.g. preference)
  • openParentApplication looks like effectively an RPC call between the WatchKit extension sandbox process and the parent iOS process.
  • This tutorial offers assistance on adding Glances and Handoff functionality to your WatchKit app.

Apple Watch – Banking and Trading

•April 9, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Before taking a look at what is currently available for Apple Watch in the banking and trading space, its probably worth having a read of the WatchKit, and the three types of apps available on the Apple Watch:

  • WatchKit App – architecture overview can be seen here.
  • Glances
  • Actionable Notifications.

Julian has a fairly simple tutorial, “WatchKit Introduction: Building a Simple Guess Game”, if you want to kick the tires on an Apple Watch.


In the Consumer banking space, Citi is one of the many banks that are jumping on the Apple Watch wagon. Tangerine (Scotiabank), Fidelity and PFM specialist Mint are also going Watch.  Misys has developed a bank-to-consumer marketing app prototype.  Down under, CommBank will allow bank balances to be show with a tap, and also Cardless Cash withdrawals at ATMs.

The Apple Watch app includes a transaction alerts that show color-coded visuals of how close users are to their credit limits. This is part of a trend in which personal financial management (PFM) services are making a comeback, and what some believe will become even more personal, wearable devices.

The CommBank app for smartwatches will initially provide customers with three key functions: The ability to check account balances, find the nearest ATM, and make cashless card withdrawals from ATMS.


On the trading side, IG appears to be ahead with regards to trading from your wrist.  IG Apple Watch trading app is a distilled version of the existing iPhone app that allows investors to find, edit and open trades from their wrists.  Key IG app features include:

  • Spread bet, trade CFDs, and buy and sell stocks.
  • Get iPhone app notifications on your wrist.
  • Open positions and view markets from your watchlist.
  • Open, edit and close positions, or see all open positions.
  • See upcoming financial events.
  • Use one-tap login and switch between accounts easily.

Distributed Teams – Agile Practices

•April 8, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Jutta Eckstein has an interesting talk on InfoQ that discusses “Applying Agile Development Practices in Distributed Teams”.  Distributed teams working on the same project/code base are always challenging.  Code ownership is clearly called out in the talk for obvious reasons.

The Golden Rule slide offers some sensible rules for handover between location/time zones – build are green.  I would also add that ideally a CD process is being used, and the build has deployed successfully before handover to another region.

Virtual Teams

•March 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Slashdot provided a few interesting links on Virtual Teams recently:

  • Why Remote Teams Are the Future (and How to Make Them Work)
  • Virtual Success: The Dark Side of Virtual Teams
  • 21 Months In: How to Manage a Remote Team

A few keys points are worth noting:

hiring people you can trust, and conversely, trusting the people you hire

Leaders that understand how to recognize and prepare for challenges and then raise solutions before they become costly stumbling blocks are setting themselves up for success. However, most leaders are taken aback by the diverse challenges that virtual teams can bring and spend the majority of their time attempting to assess what is going on and put out the fires.



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