18 October 2010

HTTP Response codes & msgs as Java enum

Just in case it saves someone else the tedious typing... Capitalisation of messages duplicates the inconsistencies in RFC2616. Don't ask me...

    public enum HttpResponse {
        HTTP_100( 100, "HTTP/1.0 100 Continue\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_101( 101, "HTTP/1.0 101 Switching Protocols\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_200( 200, "HTTP/1.0 200 OK\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_201( 201, "HTTP/1.0 201 Created\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_202( 202, "HTTP/1.0 202 Accepted\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_203( 203, "HTTP/1.0 203 Non-Authoritative Information\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_204( 204, "HTTP/1.0 204 No Content\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_205( 205, "HTTP/1.0 205 Reset Content\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_206( 206, "HTTP/1.0 206 Partial Content\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_300( 300, "HTTP/1.0 300 Multiple Choices\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_301( 301, "HTTP/1.0 301 Moved Permanently\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_302( 302, "HTTP/1.0 302 Found\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_303( 303, "HTTP/1.0 303 See Other\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_304( 304, "HTTP/1.0 304 Not Modified\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_305( 305, "HTTP/1.0 305 Use Proxy\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_307( 307, "HTTP/1.0 307 Temporary Redirect\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_400( 400, "HTTP/1.0 400 Bad Request\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_401( 401, "HTTP/1.0 401 Unauthorized\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_402( 402, "HTTP/1.0 402 Payment Required\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_403( 403, "HTTP/1.0 403 Forbidden\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_404( 404, "HTTP/1.0 404 Not Found\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_405( 405, "HTTP/1.0 405 Method Not Allowed\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_406( 406, "HTTP/1.0 406 Not Acceptable\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_407( 407, "HTTP/1.0 407 Proxy Authentication Required\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_408( 408, "HTTP/1.0 408 Request Time-out\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_409( 409, "HTTP/1.0 409 Conflict\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_410( 410, "HTTP/1.0 410 Gone\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_411( 411, "HTTP/1.0 411 Length Required\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_412( 412, "HTTP/1.0 412 Precondition Failed\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_413( 413, "HTTP/1.0 413 Request Entity Too Large\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_414( 414, "HTTP/1.0 414 Request-URI Too Large\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_415( 415, "HTTP/1.0 415 Unsupported Media Type\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_416( 416, "HTTP/1.0 416 Requested range not satisfiable\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_417( 417, "HTTP/1.0 417 Expectation Failed\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_500( 500, "HTTP/1.0 500 Internal Server Error\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_501( 501, "HTTP/1.0 501 Not Implemented\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_502( 502, "HTTP/1.0 502 Bad Gateway\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_503( 503, "HTTP/1.0 503 Service Unavailable\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_504( 504, "HTTP/1.0 504 Gateway Time-out\r\n\r\n" ),
        HTTP_505( 505, "HTTP/1.0 505 HTTP Version not supported\r\n\r\n" );

        private final int intValue;
        private final String msg;

        private HttpResponse( int intValue, final String msg ){
            this.intValue = intValue;
            this.msg = msg;

        public int intValue(){
            return intValue;

        public String responseString(){
            return msg;

        public static HttpResponse forResponseCode( int responseCode ){
            for( HttpResponse v : values() ){
                if( responseCode == v.intValue() ) return v;
            throw new IllegalArgumentException();

13 October 2010

A Lesson from Vegetable Gardening for Hiring (and Keeping) Better Software Developers

Right now I'm in the midst of Busy Season in the Veggie Garden: Spring Planting Time. Even busier than harvest time. You see, you can almost always delay a harvest by a few days or a week without serious consequences. But you can't delay sowing seed without reaping serious consequences 4 to 6 months down the line. Veggie gardening is all about strategy.

Just the other day I heard about a successful and growing Cape Town company planning a hiring spree for Java developers. They'll be looking for quite a number of Java developers at all skill and experience levels.

But they face two key problems:
  1. There is an extreme scarcity of Java developers at any and all levels in Cape Town and surrounds.
  2. They'll be competing against a very large number of other employers looking for large numbers of Java developers. I have, over the past couple of months, heard of numerous companies searching for 10, 12 and more "skilled Java developers".
If you're in Cape Town you can probably take a reasonably accurate guess as to who those companies are. And they're not finding any developers, are they. Let alone really excellent developers...

This is great news for Java devs: Salaries are pretty competitive, even if not quite up to Jo'burg levels just yet.

Hell for employers, though.

Strategy is about Time

My main problem this Planting Season is that I don't have any compost for the garden. The key to making great compost is adding plenty of water, and the key to great veggie crops is building the soil by adding compost, year after year after year. But we're (still) in a drought, so no water. Successful crops are going to be a serious challenge this Summer...

CEOs, CTOs and Development Managers who get it know that investing in their developers' skills, knowledge and experience is investing in their own success and the success of their business. And the secret is that it can't be done overnight. It takes long-term commitment to helping their developers build their skills. And intelligent developers reward real, honest commitment to skills- and career-development with loyalty.

And developers talk to each other. In their mailing lists and user-group meetings, on Facebook and Twitter, word-of-mouth ensures that developers have a pretty good idea of who is doing the interesting software, who is providing a stimulating development environment. In short, who the good employers are. (Especially in Cape Town! The software world in CT really is a very small village.)

Compost making and soil-building is a strategic practise for farmers and gardeners everywhere, whether they are organic growers (like me) or not, soil-building is of vital strategic importance. Without healthy soil we have nothing.

Likewise, CEOs, CTOs and Dev Managers of companies for whom software development is a strategic business activity have a vital interest in developing their developers.

Planning to Hire Developers Any Time Soon?

If you are planning to attempt to hire developers (particularly Java developers; particularly in or around Cape Town) within the next 6 months, ask yourself the following 3 questions:
  1. How are you going to source the best and brightest devs when they're almost unreachable at any price?
  2. How are you going to make your company more attractive to those devs than all the competition you face?
  3. How are you going to keep developers from job-hopping when they get that email from a competing employer or headhunter offering them a huge raise?
If you have good answers to all of those, then please don't call me!

If you'd like help creating fertile ground for interesting minds who can help drive your software development to greater successes, call me.

05 October 2010

Duck Typing Developer Styles: 4 Ducks

Developers can be categorised along two orthogonal dimensions: coding-skills and design-skills. This post explains how to locate a developer according to this scheme, and describes how best to manage each development-style.

Tame Ducks are easy to manage, get on with the job, etc. They produce decent working code, but won't come up with the most innovative solutions. Great maintenance coders.

Wild Ducks are your innovators who will break new ground, but it's hard to get them to follow rules, comply with standards, etc. Give them the tough stuff to code.

Lame Ducks: deal with a Lame Duck by making Duck Sandwich. Sandwich the Lame Duck between a Wild Duck and a Tame Duck. They will either learn and gain competence, so becoming a Tame Duck in time, or they will Ship Out through fear of revealing their lack of knowledge.

QUACKS: talk a good project; strong tendency to bullshit their way through design by resorting to TLAs like SOA. XML and xDD. Deal with them by - again - making Duck Sandwich. The Wild Duck has exquisitely sensitive bullshit-detection capacity which, combined with their cultivated lack of tact and intolerance for freeloaders, will leave the Quack with no place to hide. The Tame Duck is there to back up the Wild Duck's assertions as to the Quack's actual performance. The Quack will almost certainly soon move on.

(Where do I fit in? ;-)

Credit: I first heard this Duck-Typing Scheme from an important mentor in my career, Nat Lunn, sometime around 1990, and so I must credit the whole story to him. Thanks, Nat!
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