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.

Microsoft offers Architects a view

Always be careful what you wish for. I liked Stuart Okin when he was chief security officer for Microsoft UK and thought he did a lot for Microsoft's credibility in this area, but I'm afraid I occasionally laughed at Microsoft for putting a developer type in charge of security, instead of a superannuated spook as everyone else …
David Norfolk, 06 Mar 2007
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Putting the graphic artist in the loop

One of the exciting ideas just now is Microsoft's WPF, formally Avalon. Oversimplifying somewhat, this introduces a layered approach to UI design, separating the business logic from the UI design, so graphic artists can design the look-and-feel of your applications without worrying about the code implementing the business logic …
David Norfolk, 05 Mar 2007
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Blog: Capturing and testing Business Policy.

I've just had an interesting email from Bill Nicholls in Washington State prompted by my piece on legacy systems here. He wants me to put more emphasis on the “testing” phase, although he doesn’t like calling it “testing” because (I think) “testing” no longer implies (if it ever did) any particular attention to test design, …
David Norfolk, 03 Mar 2007
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Reclaiming a different legacy

What is "legacy"? It's worth remembering that a lot of systems were written in RAD (Rapid Application Development) tools such as PowerBuilder and Visual Basic in the nineties and this is now often undocumented legacy in small companies (and some not-so-small ones) - just as COBOL systems are in large enterprises. In fact, …
David Norfolk, 02 Mar 2007
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Blog: Kalido updates MDM tool

Kalido announced the latest release of its master data management solution, MDM 8 Release 3, today. Now, I have real problems with MDM, because in my old-fashioned way, I expect product codes, customer numbers and the like to be subject to data analysis like anything else and stored in databases or data warehouses as appropriate …
David Norfolk, 21 Feb 2007
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An open API for networking technology?

Futures Although I concentrate mainly on development these days, in previous lives I was involved in internal control and network management in a City financial institution and I like to keep up to date with networking and network security – especially as I believe that networking technology represents a long-neglected opportunity for …
David Norfolk, 20 Feb 2007
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Blog: End-user experience with Citrix

I’ve always had a soft spot for Citrix as a platform but it used to have limitations for general use – not least, that it used not to work too well without a network connection. Well, it looks like those days are properly over now. Citrix has been acquiring new technology for some time and now with release 4.5 of Presentation …
David Norfolk, 19 Feb 2007
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Editor's Blog: Quality Management

Quality management often looks very different from the perspective of the pointy haired manager who sees it as a noble edifice like an East Anglian church, gleaming in the early morning sunlight under a spring sky. Whereas the Dilbertia/Dilbert in charge of actually making it work feels as tough s/he's lost in the wilds of East …
David Norfolk, 15 Feb 2007
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Blog: The meaning of the meaning of meaning

My recent piece on search engines provoked this email comment from Tom Welsh (Reg Dev contributor and Senior Consultant with Cutter Consortium): "Most people are quite unaware of the yawning gap between data and "knowledge", which is what semantics is all about. As for the term "unstructured", I concluded long ago that it is …
David Norfolk, 11 Feb 2007
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Search me, guv...

Comment I'm always a little nervous about the idea of a search engine as the solution to the tide of "unstructured data" we're all drowning in. For a start, most of it isn't really unstructured - show me an unstructured email invoice and I'll show you something that is useless because you aren't sure who it came from and what it applies …
David Norfolk, 11 Feb 2007
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Vista: fit for purpose...

Comment The UK Developer launch of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office System was pretty impressive, as such things usually are. A 3D representation of the London Underground system from Lars Lindstedt's Microsoft Technology Centre at Thames Valley, complete with trains moving around in real-time, was particularly impressive ( …
David Norfolk, 29 Jan 2007
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Is old code automatically good code?

The "old dog&" in this case is Marcus Ranum, inventor of the proxy firewall and the man who implemented the first commercial firewall product. He’s now the CSO at Tenable Network Security, the company that produces the Nessus security scanner, and author of the book The Myth of Homeland Security. Marcus Ranum He's also on …
David Norfolk, 25 Jan 2007
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Blog: Changing your bank details

Every so often, I bang on about compensating transactions - in essence, they’re the way that you clear up problems in automated systems without upsetting your customers. So, if you have badly designed computer systems which can't cope with real life, the simplest compensating transaction might be an exit to a real person, …
David Norfolk, 24 Jan 2007
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Is Solaris really a bright choice for developers?

So, you're tired of Windows and thinking of trying Linux. There are lots of good distros, RedHat or Novell have all the enterprise cred you might need. And there's a support community too, it's a no brainer.... Well, that's all true enough – but why not try Solaris - in its OpenSolaris form - too? It's just as available, at …
David Norfolk, 22 Jan 2007
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Editor's Blog: SEEDing graduates

One really goes to conferences like Microsoft TechEd to meet people you didn’t know you were going to find interesting… One such serendipitous conversation I had at TechEd this Autumn was with Iain Kelwick of the University of Hull, about SEED Software. This is an EU- and Microsoft-sponsored initiative for unemployed Comp Sci …
David Norfolk, 10 Jan 2007
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Extreme Programmers! Meet up in Leeds

eXtreme Programmers are nothing if not clubbable, but the eXtreme Tuesday Club (XtC) is a City thing, as in the City of London, and I'd hate for Reg Dev to seem London-centric. So, as there are also plenty of eXtreme Programmers up North, I was interested to hear of one of them (with some sponsorship from Erudine) trying to get …
David Norfolk, 05 Jan 2007
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Working in the COBOL mine

The most common applications sector where the integration of long-standing legacy applications is a still vital requirement is, of course, the broad reaches of the financial services community. When such an application has established itself and proved not just its capabilities but its reliability and overall efficiency to the …
David Norfolk, 05 Jan 2007
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Adopt and adapt better than rip and replace...

If the internet has done nothing else, it has made the parochial world of proprietary systems appear outdated. Software architecture "A" now had better interoperate with software architecture "B", or risk rejection as now being unfit for purpose. And all of them need to interoperate with language "X" and application "Z". But in …
David Norfolk, 03 Jan 2007
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The devil is in the details

Editors blog It's well-known that data quality is often the devil you find hiding in the implementation detail of many big integration (and other) projects. It's a particular issue when companies merge. Of course, "your" salespeople always fill in contact and customer details accurately and honestly but "their" salespeople apparently got …
David Norfolk, 02 Jan 2007
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Vintage Databases

To save time and bandwidth, can I just point out in one place that we are, of course, aware of Adabas, IMS, IDMS, Pick, Mumps, Nomad, Teradata, UniVerse, Foxpro and many other very fine vintage and not-so-vintage database technologies. Some of us were around when they appeared, some of us have actually used some of them - and we …
David Norfolk, 29 Dec 2006
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BLOG - RTFM - and why not?

My central heating chose to pack up on Xmas Eve, as it does, and this nice man from British Gas came round to fix it. [As an aside, even in Midwinter, you don't actually need central heating, especially these days when winters aren't so cold - we're not actually freezing. Which is worth remembering, since central heating is …
David Norfolk, 27 Dec 2006
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Do you have a mature testing process?

How mature is your testing? Do you slip in a few tests if you have time after the final compile, or are your requirements each defined by a set of tests before you start? Do you review the quality of what you delivered afterwards with a view to doing better next time – or avoid such post-mortems, in case they provide a further …
David Norfolk, 20 Dec 2006
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Ain't testing finished yet, Ma?

A week or so ago I met Geoff Brace, a Director of Owldata Ltd, at a BCS CMSG (Configuration Management Special Interest Group) seminar on ITIL - yes Matilda, ITIL is relevant to developers. We got into a discussion about testing, sparked by this article. It reminded Geoff about some attempts he'd made to predict defect rates in …
David Norfolk, 19 Dec 2006
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Tibco takes pop at SOA complexity

Tibco last week announced the general availability of TIBCO ActiveMatrix for service-oriented architectures (SOA). This is the industry's first “service virtualization platform” for the deployment and governance of composite applications based on distributed, standards-based services". Tibco is in competition with Oracles and …
David Norfolk, 07 Dec 2006
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Database in depth

Book review Readers have probably noticed that I was a DBA (Database Administrator) in a former life and I'm an enthusiast for the Relational Model. However, I must confess that I've always taken my Codd re-digested by Chris Date (I have two editions of his work An Introduction to Database Systems on my shelves, both of which I actually …
David Norfolk, 05 Dec 2006