Monday, January 30, 2006

The Stork Finally Arrived!

After many moons, my daughter was born last night. Alexandra Ayu Moser was born at 10:03pm on January 29, 2006. She weighed 6 lbs, 15 ozs.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The flat file adapter still sucks

I hate to slam webMethods, but the flat file adapter still sucks. Why does it you ask? Well, let me tell you.

After spending the better part of two hours this morning working on a flat file dictionary, I pressed the "Save All" button in the developer. The developer promptly deleted all of my field definitions.

So, this problem still exists and I will avoid the flat file adapter at all costs. This may actually force me to code some java services... anything, anything except the horror of watching my work disappear!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More details about the upgrade..

I left out a few juicy juicy details:

a. I backed up the entire Integration Server directory.
b. I copied the users and ports configuration files and reviewed the server.cnf file for any custom key/value pairs that the code may depend upon.

This kept the ports and user names and passwords in sync with the old version and saved me a lot of time.

My 25 minute upgrade.. 6.1 to 6.5.1

I guess I acted like an old woman. First, I installed 6.1, then I installed 6.5, then I uninstalled 6.5 and then installed 6.1. Wow.. then I realized, that it would be more prudent to utilize 6.5.1.

This doesn't make sense unless I detail the time line:

a. Started current project in June 2005. 6.5 was a fairly fresh release.
b. Not all of the components were released, namely workflow, so uninstalled and ramped back to 6.1. No harm done, most work was prelim proof-of-concept. The old workflow is incompatible with the new broker so it was a no-go.
c. Installed 6.1 again in July and have been using it.
d. webMethods finally releases workflow 6.5 and declares it safe for the masses. I make several phone calls to verify the stability of the platform as a whole. Last Friday, I remotely installed the 6.5.1 platform with only a few hiccups. Mostly, my fault. The dev box is currently winblows and it wouldn't allow me to install the new broker on port 6849, so I installed on 6859.

Other than that, the install went cleanly and everything worked. All the 6.1 IS code seamlessly installed with nary a problem.

The platform is getting better and better. If I experience anything out of the ordinary, I'll definitely blog it for your benefit.

ServiceNet 6.5

After more wrangling than necessary, I finally secured a copy of ServiceNet. I'll detail more as I get into the product.

I've had the manuals for about 2 months with the promise of software soon to follow, but nothing ever came. Then, one day, I was carrying on a nonchalant conversation with a long-time webMethod’s Consultant only to find out that webMethods had indeed provided him with a copy.

I'll be sure to detail how ServiceNet stacks up against other SOA offerings.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Interview Tips and Tricks

I wish I had some tips and tricks for interviewing that I could share. I only have my experience to back me up when I'm in a corner.

I've had a need for more resources since July 2005 for my current project.

Now, after interviewing day and night, I have found the exact match for my team and have hired them.

I didn't conduct hundreds of interviews. We have recruiters here that take care of the initial screening. I received the resumes of the people who made it through round 1, 2 and 3.

So, what makes my interviews so difficult?

Before we go into that, let me rant... I always hear from past work colleagues, that if anything "ever" opens up, give me a call, I'd love to work with you again. Well, timing seems to always be against these kind of arrangements. I called no less than six colleagues who had expressed a more than serious interest, but no luck.

Also, there's nothing better than hiring someone with a positive track record. On that note, let me thank Wayne Leishman once again for referring one of my recent hires. She's dynamite. More please!

Back to difficult interviews...

These are technical interviews. Each person is different and the range of experience and exposure among professionals can be challenging. Trying to determine if there is a fit can be very difficult, because no one ever fits the "perfect" list of must-haves or nice-to-haves.

Resume padding also plays a role. It's gotten much worse over the last year or so. You wouldn't believe how many years experience someone has or how many systems they've deployed. But, if you question carefully enough, you discover that many of these claims are bogus. I am skeptical of the technical professional who claims to have worked on 500 integrations in six weeks.

I get a kick out of the people who claim to be architects but have never led a project or provide any meaningful proof that they have system design or architectural experience under their belt.

It takes me less than five minutes to determine if you can walk the walk when it comes to webMethods.

Ah, but this is just the technical facet.

Next, I look into whether your soft skills or people skills are developed to a level that I can turn you loose with a client. I need people that I can trust to do the right thing. Only experience will give you these assets.

Finally, I try to determine if you can fit into our team up to and including the company vision. This isn't always easy since many of the candidates do not have big 4 experience.

This gets you past the technical and team interviews, although I often pass a candidate over to a colleague to verify my findings.

At least for now, I no longer have to interview and interview and interview.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Years and Alligators Too!

I'd like to wish everyone a happy new years and a prosperous year for 2006. Also, wanted to let everyone in on a big secret: when you think you know everything, go hold an alligator. Trust me, all of you perspective regarding dealing with clients, employees, bosses and bad drivers go right out of the window. You learn to distrust quickly.