Update and October Meetup Round-Up

It’s been a little while since my last post and I’ve been getting anxious about posting another. So what I have I been up to? A warning, the next couple of paragraphs are a bit of a rant.

I wanted to post earlier this week, but I have been working on a HTML email template for a designer to use in Campaign Monitor. When non-web developers ask me about web development, I’m quick to tell them that with modern browsers and jQuery and Bootstrap it’s not like it used to be. I think the biggest challenge currently is having responsive designs for the different screen sizes of desktop and mobile devices. Well, HTML emails might be the last bastion of older web development and once again one of the more frustrating programs to work with was a Microsoft technology (Outlook).

To get the template I was developing formatted correctly in Outlook, I had to place all text in <p> elements and then then surround that with a <font> element with the desired font style. Yes the obsolete font element, which MDN states in bold with an exclamation “Do not use this element!”. Further the font element is wrapped in “if mso” conditions to prevent it affecting other email programs. Yeah, pretty ugly and spending an extra couple of hours tweaking the template for Outlook was frustrating.

Otherwise, and more enjoyably, I recently read both of Wayne Bennett’s autobiographies. The Man In The Mirror was pretty light with a summary of each year he coached and some good anecdotes. Don’t Die With The Music In You provided motivation and inspiration. It included lots of quotes from other athletes and coaches. One of my favourites was “Desire, dedication and enthusiasm are the things that dominate in life, whether it be in sport or in the business world.” which he attributed to George Allen.

I’ve also read the AWS Well Architected framework. I’m in the middle of re-reading it again while taking notes. If you’re interested in them (or want a condensed version) my notes are here.

Finally the meetups. I didn’t attend as many this month as a couple weren’t on and I couldn’t make it to some of the others.

Brisbane Functional Programming Group

Good talks on a couple of functional programming concepts, although I struggled to follow along at times due to my lack of experience. I didn’t know about zippers, so it was great to hear about them. I had wondered how practical immutable data structures.

Brisbane .NET User Group

Felix Rieseberg and Rita Zhang spoke about open source at Microsoft and the benefits of using open source software in general. We use several open source libraries and I look forward to contributing where we can.

Brisbane PostgreSQL Users’ Group

This was the very first meetup of this group and it was great to be there at the start. We’ve been using PostgreSQL with success at One Model. It’s support for JSON is pretty good and I’ve noticed it getting a lot of coverage recently. It was definitely an area people at the meetup wanted to find out more about as well. It’s early, but hopefully this meetup can build into a community.

Brisbane Software Testers

Zhimin Zhan gave a presentation on automating web tests. Zhimin has a lot of experience and gave a pretty good talk. I would have liked a bit more focus on the how as I’m already pretty convinced on the why. It was cool to see the tools he’s built and how he uses them when developing software. That’s what I would have liked to have seen more of.

Update and October Meetup Round-Up