Hal Helms

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Top Stories by Hal Helms

In the last year, I've seen a great number of developers make the commitment to learn Fusebox - and for good reason: the Fusebox framework and the Fusebox Lifecycle Process (FLiP) give developers both a framework and a methodology that work well in creating Web applications. Even so, there are still many pitfalls that can trip up Fusebox programmers. If you're learning Fusebox, here are some tips on avoiding common mistakes: 1.   Asking too much of wireframes The Fusebox Lifecycle Process (FliP) begins with wireframes. A wireframe is a skeletal application meant to engage the client in the process of discovering what is required. I love wireframes. I find them tremendously helpful in the opening stages of a project, when we're trying to find out what the client wants. They're also very useful as a sales tool; clients see them and get excited by the ability to actuall... (more)

A Developer's Story, Part 1

"Actually, it's no one's fault." This was the conclusion I had come to after a week of working on a nightmare project I had been called in on. The CIO had asked me for a briefing on what I had found so far. "But how could this be such a mess?" the CIO wanted to know. "Granted, the project involves a sizable change of an existing piece of software, but that was written only three years ago. I've got 1,500 customers waiting to use this new version. It's very high profile - and we can't get it out the door. Costs are crazy. I don't even want to think how far above budget we are. We... (more)

The Best Recipe

About two years ago, I decided that it would be "fun" to learn to cook. I figured I would be a quick learner; after all, I liked to eat (passion for the subject), I had been a skilled cabinetmaker (possessed manual skills), and I enjoyed watching "Iron Chef" on the Food Network (had an available learning resource). Compared to cabinetmaking and software development, how hard could it be? When I told my wife, she adopted a Mona Lisa-type smile and told me what a good idea she thought it was. She was remarkably encouraging. So, I started on my journey to becoming a chef (the simpl... (more)

Build a Simple Mach-II Application

In the August edition of CFDJ, Ben Edwards and I presented a first look at Mach-II, a new, object-oriented framework for building software applications. In this issue, I offer a tutorial (with commentary) on building a simple Mach-II application. My choice of subjects for our Mach-II application may have been influenced by spending the last two and a half weeks in Las Vegas training students on Java, Mach-II, and Fusebox 4, culminating in the Fusebox conference. What inspired me for the application was watching otherwise intelligent people trying to outdo each other in throwing ... (more)

The Power of Antipatterns

It seems that lately, you can't pick up a book or magazine without hearing about design patterns. If you're new to the idea of design patterns, they're simply time-tested solutions to common problems. Design patterns began with the work of Christopher Alexander, a PhD in architecture (as in buildings). Alexander noted that certain problems have optimal solutions, and designated these solutions as "design patterns." Here, Alexander describes design patterns (from his Web site, patternlanguage.com): "For example, if you are building a house you need to go from outside to inside and... (more)