Daily Meetings & Distributed Teams

For many years I’ve been working in distributed teams, for different companies, for different projects. And there is one important thing, that distinguish one team from another. It’s how team meetings are organized.

I mean “Morning Standup”, “Weekly Standup”, etc.

For traditional (non-distributed) company it’s easy, just get together in the morning. According to schedule or just when everybody are ready to talk.

Fixed schedule is much more important thing for a distributed worker. For distributed team there is no morning, just Skype and different timezones. And also, person on other side usually needs some preparation before call. Turn off music, wear headphones, turn on microphone and camera, etc. Get dressed :)
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RESTful using Spring Framework

I don’t need to say that RESTful web services are very popular this days. So, you need it, for sure, but what to choose? I’ve tried different Java frameworks for REST, most times it was Jersey and Spring MVC, and think that for most cases Spring is the best option for building RESTful applications using Java.

If you already have a Spring app, then you don’t need to make complex configuration to start implementing RESTful API with Spring. Just configure view resolver for JSON, and use standard annotations like:
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Comparing Google Gmail Apps

gmails That’s happened that I’m using Android and iOS devices at same time. I mean I have Android phone to make calls, and iPod Touch for applications and internet. So, I’m having both of them at my pocket all the time.

As I said, Android is for calls, iPod for apps, but there is an app that I have on Android as well. It’s official client for Gmail. Same app, made by Google itself, for same Google service, just Android version and iOS version.
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Hsoy Templates – client- and server side templating

Introducing “Hsoy Templates”, a html templating library for modern web. The main goal was to make a templating library with easy to use syntax, that can be used on both server and client side. It have HAML syntax, and compiles into Java on server side and JavaScript on client side.

Actually it’s a version of Google Closure Templates (.soy templates) with HAML syntax.

Why you need this?

In modern web development it’s very common to update some parts of current page by data received from server, but the problem that it’s annoying to write and support same HTML view two times – for Client and for Server. Just breaks DRY principle.

Hsoy Templates gives you a way to write such templates just once, and use it on client-side, and on backend.

Features:

  • one template (a *.hsoy file)
  • HAML syntax (see http://haml.info/)
  • fast
    • compiled into Java (so can be used from Groovy, Scala, Clojure, etc)
    • compiled into Javascript (so can be used from Node.js)
  • based on Google Closure Templates library
  • commercial friendly (Apache 2.0 licence)
 

Why i’ve switched from Ubuntu to Mac

I’d used linux and Ubuntu for many years, both on server and on desktop. Main reason it was stability of linux. Linux was much more stable than Windows, where you need to reinstall it every half a year, and anyway, you’ll get a lot of crashes.

Few years ago Ubuntu has really ugly UI and lack of features for desktop users. But things are changing, right now it looks much better, developers are adding features, one by one. But, at other hand, after every added feature we get a lot of added bugs :( It’s okay, sadly, but it’s a rule of software development. The problem that nobody want to fix them. It’s cool to add a new feature, but fixing a bug isn’t, because nobody sees it. So, there is no motivation to fix bugs.

As a result – we have unstable OS. Gnome crashes few times a week, have a lot of UI issues, wifi problems, hibernate problems, multi-monitor problems, slow as a snail, and seems that you need to reinstall it periodically, etc, etc :( So Windows becomes more solid at this point.

Ok, it tries to be like Mac OS. But right now it more like a very ugly Mac OS.

Looks like Linux have lost its advantages and opportunities at desktop market :( So, I just bought a Macbook Pro.

PS linux is still doing good on servers, i’m talking only about desktop

 

Yandex – most popular search engine in Russia

Yandex – an alternative to Google in Russia. Its same as Google, it’s a search engine, it’s a maps, mail, it’s context advertising, it’s blogs and blog search, news search, money (like Google Checkout, or Paypal), moikrug (= LinkedIn), etc, etc. Except Android, maybe. It even have an Yandex flavored version of Chrome, and Google Chrome suggests to use Yandex as default search in Russia (!!! can you belive???). See more at crunchbase

Yandex have about 60% of market in Russia, as you see Google isn’t so popular there. Why? Dont know. Its something different about the Russian, other mentality maybe?

Google is working hard. Maybe some Google products sucks in Russia, but not so much. Its Google Maps, for example, that have maps only for a a few major cities, Yandex Maps have good and more detailed maps for most cities in Russia. But it’s not the rule. Gmail, in other hand, much better than Yandex Mail.

As about search – russian language is complicated, but it’s must be not a problem for Google. They have offices in Russia, and also have a lot of Russian-speaking developers in other offices (as i heard that Ireland office has a lot of guys from Russia). They can hire smartest people, and they do, but no luck.

I know some numbers, and can say that there is no big difference in quality of search results. Maybe there is an other thing: people who want to see results in russian – they strongly prefer Yandex, because Google’s SERP is a mess of english and russian sites. Who wants to see results in english – prefer Google, but it’s not a lot of people. But even more, Yandex is trying to make a deal with this – it’s just released an improvement for search engine, and now it can understand what sites language is better for current search query and for current user. Its not so easy, btw.

Well, as you see, it’s doing very good, I really like this company, and… we’ll see.

Disclaimer: I had worked in Yandex some time ago as a product manager, btw i’m trying to be objective.

 

Internet in Russia

Decided to write few articles about Internet industry in Russia. It seems that it can be interesting, because it’s really unique situation there.

First of all – Russia is a very large country, but only small part of people are using Internet in their daily life, it’s about 30-40m active internet users there (143m people in total). Actually most of Internet users are living in Moscow. Or Saint-Petersburg. As for Moscow, there is about 6m active Internet users (15% of a whole country). For comparison, USA have a little more that 200m Internet users. Btw, Internet usage in Russian is growing very fast.

But most interesting part that some major, and popular worldwide, services like Google or Facebook isn’t so much popular there. Sometimes because there are some alternatives of them, or clones, that gain main audience. But many of US services is not popular there at all, even as a alternatives. I mean services like eBay or Digg, for example.

And there is totally different situation with web users. Most of them doesn’t speak English at all, or, for example, Opera browser is very popular there.

Okay, its just an introduction, I’m going to write more about different aspects