technology from back to front

Archive for October, 2012

Parsing with Derivatives

We use many different languages writing software. Not just the usual kinds – Ruby, Haskell – but data formats like HTML or JSON, and protocols like SIP or HTTP. We have a lot of tools dealing with these languages – yacc, bison, ANTLR. And Matt Might and his colleagues have added a new spanner to the toolbox.

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Frank Shearar

2012 Obama v Romney election battleground

It’s that time again! Here’s a new version, updated for 2012 of my battleground election graphics. Projections are taken, of course, from Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight blog at the New York times.

I’ve fixed it to handle the fact that states are simply “called” on election night, with no estimate of the margin of victory given. Instead the original projection is shown. So if Ohio is the first state called, and it goes to Obama as Mr Silver currently predicts, the top of the map might look like this:

If however it goes to Romney, the bottom of the map will look like this:

I’ll try to keep the map up to date until I go to bed – hopefully the outcome of the election will be obvious by then!

Paul Crowley

Using GitHub for planning

An important part of delivering software is knowing how long it will take to deliver some piece of functionality. Today we will see a small GitHub hack to help control estimation.

It’s all very well knowing the parts we need to implement some system. We need to know how long it will take to build. To that end, several of LShift’s GitHub-hosted projects use numeric tags to indicate the size of a task – maybe it’s in perfect engineering days, or abstract points. Regardless, with a large number of tickets, we can’t easily see how much work we’ve signed up for.

Something that would really help in understanding how much work is left in a milestone is simply totalling up the estimates. Given 5 tasks of 0.5 days each, and 2 tasks of 1 day each, it’d be nice to see at a glance that we have 5 × 0.5 + 2 × 1 = 4.5 days’ worth of work left.

Handily, Chrome makes it really easy to write an extension to augment GitHub’s pages.

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Frank Shearar



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