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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Apple’s Touch Bar on Macbook Pro and Word Perfect 5.1 and Vim Editor commands

As you already know Apple released a touch bar for their Macbook Pro laptops. I will analyze this from a different angle and see how professional content creators could leverage this with a bit of flavor from developers’ selection of editing tool.
I am talking about Word Perfect 5.1 and its keyboard template that we all used to have back in the day. Apple’s touch bar reminds me of Word Perfect 5.1 and the ability to have context relevant shortcuts. Apple just took it to the 21st century and made the context relevant shortcuts for all the majro applications that run on Macbook Pro. They are taking their innovations for usability and accessibility in one direction that is different from the touch screen direction that others are betting on. This is going to be interesting.
I gave it a bit more thought coming from the software engineering background. I don’t necessarily use native Vim editor often, but I do use the Vim plug-in for my IDEs and for text editors that I use for note-taking purposes. The Vim mode improves my productivity and it keeps my fingers on the keyboard.
I wonder if there is a way to leverage the touch bar interface more as a proxy between the keyboard and the Mac OS applications so that Vim-style of shortcuts could be used to control the applications without reaching for the touch bar. This could be something that professional content creators may use in order to speed up their interactions and keep the fingers on the keyword all the time instead of reaching out for the touch bar or the touch screen. Let’s say you are in your Final Cut Pro application and instead of using the touch bar as they have shown in the demo, you use Vim plug in the Final Cut Pro application that would leverage the touch bar as the proxy between the keyboard and the application.
I know this would be a super niche market, but I still wanted to share with you.

Almir M.
(Solutions Architect and Leader in Software Engineering field)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

You are all programmers. Yes, you are !

Programming is a skill that most of the tech guys learned in school or some type of formal education. With a lot of material online these days, you can learn programming without going through formal courses; you just need a bit of guidance from somebody in the industry, willingness to grind through it and you are set.
So we have programmers in all the categories I mentioned above. What about the rest of people in the professional world? I am talking about your coworkers who are not qualified software developers; I am talking about your coworkers that say “I am not a techie and I don’t understand your tech magic”. I am talking about product managers from non-technical background, non-technical managers, project managers, business analysts, directors, VPs, and so on.
This group of people does not give themselves enough credit when it comes to “programming” style of thinking.
Let’s go back to the definition of programming. Here is my definition without using Wikipedia or Google as I am on a plane without WiFi connection. Programming is an act of giving a computer/someone a list of instructions that should result in something meaningful.
With that in mind, do you see how I threw in there the word “someone” and did not just use the word “computer”.
So what does this really mean?
It means that a business requirement document (written by a product manager) is a list of instructions; it is a form a program. This document would contain simple instructions but in most situations it contains flows, IF/ELSE conditions embedded in paragraphs in the form your speaking language.
Your manager/director/VP telling you (a junior developer) what they want to achieve has direct IF/ELSE conditions, but if you are a more senior employee, the instructions from your manager become more indirect which is really a form of light coaching.
So they are all programmers. They all go through a thought process that is similar to the thought process that typical programmers would go through.
I am a programmer / software engineer / software developer; however you want to call me. One thing that my teammates have heard me say is that most problems are solvable at the high-level, but even at that high-level problem solving category, you need to have that programmer’s thought process.
How many times have we all been in meetings with for example VPs (non-tech background) and they question your application/software before it is launched to production and they think of things that many developers would not think of. That’s why I say that these VPs also deserve to be part of the programmer’s club.
You are all programmers! Yes, you are, and welcome to the club :)
Almir Mustafic
Solutions Architect / Leader in Software Engineering field