Software Engineering Radio

Nov 24 2020 54 mins 13k

Software Engineering Radio is a podcast targeted at the professional software developer. The goal is to be a lasting educational resource, not a newscast. Episodes are either tutorials on a specific topic, or an interview with a well-known character from the software engineering world. All SE Radio episodes are original content – we do not record conferences or talks given in other venues. Each episode comprises two speakers to ensure a lively listening experience. SE Radio is an independent and non-commercial organization. All content is licensed under the Creative Commons 2.5 license.

Episode 63: A Pattern Language for Distributed Systems with Henney and Buschmann
Jul 25 2007 66 mins  
In this Episode we talked about the new POSA 4 book which has recently been published. We talk to two of the authors, Kevlin Henney and Frank Buschmann (the third author, Doug Schmidt was not available - and he had also been on the podcast a couple of times :-)). The book contains a pattern language for distributed systems. It contains 114 patterns that had been published before by many different other authors. The patterns have been rewritten to form a consistent language. We basically talked through the different sections of the book, which gives a really good overview over the challenges and the solutions of building distributed systems. These sections include From Mud to Structure, Distribution Infrastructure, Event Demultiplexing and Dispatching, Interface Partitioning, Component Patitioning, Application Contrl, Concurrency, Synchronization, Object Interaction, Adaptazion and Extension, Modal Behaviour, Resource Management and finally, Database Access. The book references several other previous works (as listed below). Interestingly, many of these referenced works and authors have also been discussed previously on the podcast. Here are the back references: Domain Driven Design, Eric Evans Messaging Patterns, Gregor Hohpe POSA 2 Patterns, Doug Schmidt Concurrency: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and the interview with Goetz and Holmes Remoting Patterns Part 1 and Part 2 POSA3, Resource Management

Episode 59: Static Code Analysis
Jun 16 2007 45 mins  
This episode is a discussion with Jonathan Aldrich (Assistant Professor at CMU) about static analysis. The discussion covered theory as well as practice and tools. We started with an explanation of what static analysis actually is, which kinds of errors it can find and how it is different from testing and reviews. The core challenge of such an analysis tool is to understand the semantics of the program and reduce its possible state space to make it analysable - in effect reconstructing the programmer's intent from the code. The user can "help" the tool with this challenge by using suitable annotations; also, languages could do a better job of being analysable. The conceptual discussion was concluded by looking at the principles of static analysis (termination, soundness. precision) and how this approach relates to model analysis. The second more practical part started out with a discussion of how Microsoft successfully uses static analysis in their Windows development. We then discussed some of the tools available; these include Findbugs, Coverity, Codesonar, Clockwork, Fortify, Polyspace and Codesurfer. To conclude the discussion of tools, we discussed the commonalities and differences with architecture visualization tools as well as metrics and heuristics. Part three of the discussion briefly looked at how to introduce static analysis tools into an organization's development process and tool chain. We concluded the discussion by looking at situations where static analysis does not work, as well as at the FLUID research project at CMU.

Episode 57: Compile-Time Metaprogramming
May 27 2007 44 mins  
This episode is about compile-time metaprogramming, and specifically, about implementing DSLs via compile-time metaprogramming. Our guest, Laurence Tratt, illustrates the idea with his (research) programming language called Converge. We started by talking about the importance of a custom syntax for DSL and took a brief look at the definition of DSLs by a chap called Paul Hudak. We then briefly covered the disctinction between internal and external DSLs. More to the point of this episode, we discussed the concept of compile-time metaprogramming, and the language features necessary to achieve it: in converge, these concepts are called splice, quasi-quote and insertion. We then looked at how the Converge compiler works, and at the additional features that are required to implement DSLs based on the metaprogramming features mentioned above. Using an example, we then walked through how to implement a simple DSL. Looking at some of the more technical details, we discussed the difference between the parse tree and the abstract syntax tree and at different kinds of parsers - specifically, the Earley parser used by Converge. In multi-stage languages (i.e. languages that execute programs and meta programs) error reporting is important, but non trivial. We discussed how this is done in Converge. We finally looked at how to integrate Converge's expression language into your DSL and how to package DSL definition for later use. The last segment look at the process of implementing a DSL in converge and about some of the history and practical experience with Converge. Lessons learned from building Converge wrap up the episode.

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