David Norfolk

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David Norfolk, BSc, CEng, MBCS, CITP, ARPS is practice leader with responsibility for development and governance at Bloor Research International. He is on the committee of the BCS Configuration Management Specialist Group and you can find him on Linkedin.
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Operations management for developers

Editors' Blog Almost 30 years ago when I first did my IT training, part of it was spent in ops, mounting tapes and trying to keep important systems operating efficiently. At the same time, I met a programmer who took pleasure in "keeping the operators awake" by making them mount tapes pointlessly. Then I went into DBA, which (in those days) …
David Norfolk, 04 May 2007
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Adding mobility with Antenna Software

Editors' Blog I recently had a chance to talk to a couple of execs from Antenna Software - Gregg Plekan, SVP Product Development and Jim Somers, VP of Marketing – about its Antenna Mobility Platform (AMP), announced at San Francisco Gartner Symposium/ITxpo on April 23, 2007. Antenna Software has been around since 1998 or so and claims to be …
David Norfolk, 30 Apr 2007
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A hosted 'Web 2.0' requirements management experience

I make no secret of the fact that I think requirements management and analysis are just about the most important parts of the development process. If you understand the business requirements, producing a system that can be shown to satisfy them (or miss some out) is comparatively trivial. In fact, it’s programmable – the process …
David Norfolk, 27 Apr 2007
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Do Microsoft's EULAs have any real legal basis?

I've just had an anonymous comment added to an irrelevent topic with the excuse: "The Drink or die thread seems to be closed so let's continue this here." Well, I can't find this "Drink or die" thread anyway - it's this one, perhaps. However, I'm posting the orphan comment as a blog entry so you can all comment. It's all about …
David Norfolk, 25 Apr 2007
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Teradata Universe in Warsaw

After a couple of days with the Teradata people at its Universe Conference 2007 (22-25 April), I'm seriously impressed. I like Teradata's "one data warehouse" concept, with all the disaggregated data in a normalised store. I like the way it separates the logical views of the data (including the semantic view) from underlying …
David Norfolk, 24 Apr 2007
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Another postcard from Intel in Lisboa

Intel has to find something to do with all that processing power it supplies and perhaps rendering yer actual Avatar is it. Photo of Jon Erickson. Well, whatever the driver, at the Think Parallel Intel EMEA Software Conference 2.0 in Lisbon, Jonathan Erickson (Editor-in-Chief, Dr Dobb’s Journal) gave a convincing presentation …
David Norfolk, 22 Apr 2007
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A postcard from Intel in Lisbon

So you thought Intel was a hardware company? In fact, it's also a major supplier of software – compilers and developer tools. This was what the Think Parallel Intel EMEA Software Conference 2.0 in Lisbon was all about. I've only space to cover the main theme here (there was an interesting session I must return to, on Second …
David Norfolk, 19 Apr 2007
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Fast trekkin' to requirements

Many people in IT are scared of managing requirements, especially in smaller companies, according to Andy Gurd, director of product marketing at Telelogic (which sells the excellent DOORS requirements management tool). Some of this is understandable, since requirements management is sometimes associated with "high ceremony" …
David Norfolk, 18 Apr 2007
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Linux and Solaris face off

Earlier this year, we asked our readers why people thinking of Linux aren't also thinking of OpenSolaris (or vice versa), now that both are pukka OSS operating systems. Well, one reason that people might choose to miss out on OpenSolaris is because we're (in general) a conservative lot – once bitten, twice shy – and a lot of …
David Norfolk, 13 Apr 2007
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Overlooking tradeoffs could kill your project

One of our readers, Bill Nicholls, has just written in with a comment on my "Housebuilding as a metaphor for software development" blog. He says: "Deadline, quality, functions - pick any two." In short, every project is a tradeoff. The above assumes that cost is fixed, but if that is a variable, the above line becomes: "Cost, …
David Norfolk, 12 Apr 2007
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What would a 'software guarantee' look like in practice?

I commented favourably on Managed Object's "software guarantee" here - but also commented that such a "guarantee" has to be worded carefully if it isn't to have unintended consequences. Well, Managed Objects has sent me a sample contract which it would use as a basis for "milestone payments" from its customers. Milestone …
David Norfolk, 09 Apr 2007
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JavaScript hijacking - a new exploit, or not?

I've had an email comment on my JavaScript Hijacking piece to the effect that everyone knows that you do your input validation on the server and that data you send down in JavaScript or in HTML is unsafe - so this really isn't a new exploit. Well, that first part is true enough, but I disagree with the second. However, Brian …
David Norfolk, 03 Apr 2007
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New vulnerability strikes heart of Web 2.0

Whatever you think of "Web 2.0" (it's really not mandatory to release everything in permanent beta) you probably thought that this generic approach to mashups, Ajax and all that good stuff didn't change the usual coding "good practice" rules much. Well, Brian Chess of Fortify Software says you're wrong. Although Web 2.0 style …
David Norfolk, 03 Apr 2007
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Is BSM entering the mainstream with a software guarantee?

A question sometimes asked is "what do we need analysts for?" Well, according to Dr Jim White of Managed Objects, customers for new technology often select the short list for "requests for quotation" from the analyst's "Magic Quadrants", "Waves", or whatever. So, analysts help businesses choose sensible short lists for …
David Norfolk, 02 Apr 2007
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PowerPoint grows up

April Fool's Is Visual Studio Team System Rosario to include the long-awaited PowerPoint plug-in? Well, that's the buzz down at the old "Firkin and Flowchart". The jokes about the "compile button" in PowerPoint that generates working software from marketing B/S will have to be revisited as Microsoft announces PowerPoint Integration for VSTS …
David Norfolk, 01 Apr 2007
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Microsoft: a successful low-maturity company?

In the comments on my blog about the CMMI Made Practical conference here, I quote Microsoft as an example of a very successful low-maturity company. I make no secret of my partiality for CMMI-style process improvement (almost 30 years in IT has convinced me that it’s far from a process-free zone) but it’s not the only way to run …
David Norfolk, 28 Mar 2007
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CMMI, practically speaking

London was recently host to a conference showcasing CMMI process improvement. Primarily sponsored by the consultancy Lamri, the conference was held on 19-20 March. To some extent, it's a marketing exercise, but the presence of representatives from the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon and truly independent …
David Norfolk, 26 Mar 2007
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Postcard from QCON

It was interesting to compare this QCon conference with Microsoft's Architect Insight conference. Without denigrating an interesting Microsoft conference, QCon ran longer and had a wider scope (it wasn't just for architects; neither for just one platform) and a more mature architectural content (the people responsible for …
David Norfolk, 23 Mar 2007
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Fortran developer John Backus dies

Obituary John W Backus, team leader of the original FORTRAN development team at IBM, died on 17 March at the respectable age of 82. I never met John Backus, but he was responsible for changing my life – and probably that of many other scientific programmers of my generation. I was at the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian …
David Norfolk, 21 Mar 2007
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A postcard from SunLIVE07

Sun's jamboree was held in the magnificent Methodist Central Hall in London to the sound of the Beatles' Revolution (Evolution, plus Innovation equals.... geddit?). The main theme was "going green" - now there's a surprise, but Sun actually has a good story here, to my mind. A 4 watt desktop device lasting some 20 years before …
David Norfolk, 17 Mar 2007
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Blog: Housebuilding as a metaphor for software development

I've long believed that when you start a project you worry about the technology and whether it works. but in the post-mortem afterwards, you find that most of the real issues were to do with project management. Even technology failure can be mitigated, if the project is managed properly. Sometimes the right course is to cancel …
David Norfolk, 16 Mar 2007
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Architectual insights

OK, after my first postcard from Architect Insight I promised something a bit longer and more low-level from Microsoft's Welsh conference (you can find the programme here). I chose, largely, to follow the lifecycle track – and, a note to Microsoft, seven concurrent tracks is too many. Almost by definition architects have broad …
David Norfolk, 15 Mar 2007
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eXtreme methods

Kevlin Henney raised an interesting point (here) about the view of eXtreme Programming in the revision to Myers' Art of Software Testing. I didn't pick up on this in my review, probably because it never occurs to me to adopt normative development processes without also applying common sense – methodology (and why not call it …
David Norfolk, 12 Mar 2007
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Who classifies the bugs?

I enjoyed Mary Branscombe's piece on Adobe development practices (here). However, one point that occurred to me (after a misspent past life in software QA) is how do you stop coders marking bugs as closed (or reclassifying them as "features" or "enhancement requests") in order to get back to the fun stuff? How much power does …
David Norfolk, 08 Mar 2007
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Fortify and the Java open review project

Comment I got some flack recently for daring to suggest (or appearing to) that open source software (OSS) should be "fit for purpose" (here). After all, since all those saintly OSS developers are working for nothing, why should we expect their software to work? Well, I can't imagine a company with any hope of staying in business using …
David Norfolk, 07 Mar 2007