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Simple code: Immutability

Immutability is a special thing that in my mind deserves a short explanation and praise. If you're familiar with functional programming you surely recognice the concept of immutability because it's a key ingredient of the paradigm. In the world of object oriented programming it's not as used and as easy to use approach but there are ways to incorporate immutability to parts of the code and I strongly suggest you to do so. Quick intro to immutablity The basic idea of immutability is unchangeable data.  Lets take a example. We have a need to modify a object's property but because the object is immutable we can't just change value but instead we make a copy of the object and while making the copy we provide the new value for the copy. In code it looks something like this. val pencil = Product(name = "Pencil", category = "Office supply") val blackMarker = pencil.copy(name = "Black marker") The same idea can be applied in functions and metho

Simple code: Contracts

Code works around contracts and contracts should be carefully thought and crafted. What are contracts A High abstraction level of contracts for code are API's. They define a interface that is basically a contract that the producer and consumer of the API agree to use to communicate with each other. Two common forms of API's are libraries that are used in code and external API's  that are used via HTTP, RPC etc. When thinking in a bit deeper contracts consist firstly of functions, methods or external endpoints and secondly of data, more precisely on data models and data types within the models.   Defining contracts Contracts should always be defined with careful thought. I've come accross few times to someone saying that "this is for intenal use only so it doesn't need to defined and/or documented as thoughtfully as a public API would be" but I disagree with that. The same care should be be given to internal and external contracts because the contracts are

Simple code: Functions and methods

What makes a good function or method? I don't think it's a single thing but a combination of things where each is significant. If one the things is flawed it affects to all others and the whole function is flawed. So what are those "things"? Have a meaningful name Function should have a name that describes it's purpose or functionality. When a function has a meaningful name it's easy to read and understand what's it's purpose. Let's take a example. If function's purpose is to find a customer by it's id a good name could be findCustomerById(id: String) or it could just as well be just  findCustomer(id: String) because the function signature implies that the customer is found by it's id the word find also implies that the customer might be found or it might not be found. If the function's name would be changed to getCustomer(id: String) it's meaning changes because now it implies that there's no fallback, the customer is e

Simple code

I've been writing a series of blog posts trying to summarize what are the key incredients of good code. The working title for the series was called "my view of clean code" but clean code is already a existing term (and a book, read it if you haven't). My view is mostly same, a bit different and with a idea that these are not rules or laws but conventions, ideas and practices that can be applied in many situations but this is not a silver bullet. I'll be publishing ten posts in addition to this one on various subjects that relate to code, code bases, interactions in code or interactions between systems and how to build all this with the aspire to make everything simple so that the code is as easy to test, reason and as understandable as possible. Each post will be a short and simple description of the subject with possibly some example code. A new post will be published every other week. In the first part I'll be writing about functions and methods and that wil

Dedicated time for learning Python at work

In the spring of 2019 I had the opportunity to use some paid work time for learning something new. I decided to spend the given time to brush up on my Python knowledge. I had some experience in programming with Python but not much and I didn't have a understanding of Python conventions or ecosystem. Limited time frame I had a limited time frame that was split to four sessions. In addition to the time given for each session I spent at least the same amount of time on preparing each session. First session, the basics It was quite hard to find a resource that summarised Python basics on a sufficient level but I managed to find Alex Martinelli's slides Python for Programmers from 2007 that contained exactly what I was looking for. Even though the slides are from over a decade ago and the Python version was 2.x at that time all the information is still applicable to current Python 3.x version as is or with minor changes. Second session, testing in Python Python has a good

Automated browser testing in 2018

Every now and then I do some research on browser testing. More specifically I try to find and evaluate what kind of ready to use solutions or libraries have emerged since my previous research or if some of the previously tested solutions has come up with something new. Back in September 2017 I had some extra time on my hands and I used a couple of days to see what are the new and interesting solutions at that time. I came across some tools that I have used in the past and found two new interesting options in which one stood out. Say hello to TestCafe The most interesting solution that I found was called TestCafe . It's a open source Node.js library from a company called Developer Express Inc. They also have a commercial product called TestCafe ( confusing ) which I haven't tried as the open source library provided everything I was interested in and it seemed to be under active development . The thing that caught my interest at first was that this library doesn't depen

DIY home automation, new generation

I've had my DIY home automation system for controlling outlets and reading sensor data running for about two years now. The system has been working fine and I haven't had any need to touch the code since I added the sensor reading to it, until a few months back. Need for new functionality Few months ago I got a new IoT toy for a lend from a friend until I'd get my own toys, a ruuvitag sensor beacon. Ever since I found the ruuvitag for the first time from kickstarter I had the idea of getting a bunch of ruuvitags and adding their weather station sensor readings as part of my home automation system. The original home automation backend included only tellstick compatible devices and was written in Python, and in my mind it was kind of a hack. The ruuvitag beacons communicate via BLE i.e. Bluetooth Low Energy and that meant that I needed to add functionality to read the beacon data via bluetooth. I found a ruuvitag Python library and initially thought that I'd just