Thursday, December 07, 2006

Our visit to Códice Software

Today we visited Códice Software, the team behind PlasticSCM, and had the chance to take a look to how they work. They are currently being evaluated fot the L2 CMMI certification.

We went to Valladolid (Spain), to the Technologic Park of Boecillo. I must say that first of all, it's a dreamlike place to work in a software development company. Calm, quiet and surrounded by a beautiful nature environment.

So we came into the building where they're located, along with other software development companies. There Pablo welcomed us to their company and invited us to come in. The first impression I got is that it's a clean and nicely decorated place. Every single piece is cleverly placed and serving a purpose. Large room to share with the teammates and enhance communication and workflow.

Then Borja told us about their testing process. The testing process is very cleverly done, and there's not a piece of code that isn't tested several times and in different situations. That's something you're being told everytime but you're never asked to do. And they demonstrated us that testing is necessary. This is a reason of why the branch-per-task development pattern is so important in the development management, allowing to verify every single step of the development, and then the whole software. So you increasingly create fail-safe and stable software releases.

Later, we saw how they successfully are using their own product, Plastic, as the SCM tool. They store a well-designed repository, boosting the development process to levels not reachable in other ways. Of course, source repositories have loads of advantages such as version-based operations (such as retrieving previous versions or rollback conflictive changes) or codebase safety.

Then, we were present at their today's Scrum meeting. Scrum is an agile methodology for development management, based on sprints and tasks that go into those sprints, releasing functional and stable versions of the software being developed in an increasing way. So after each sprint, you have a program that works, and you can play with without warning of crashing it all. Scrum tells to do short daily meetings of about 15 minutes where the team exposes what they did the previous day and what will be next in the current working day (sort of a development postmortem). So they met at the meetings room and talked briefly about the steps given and the next ones. I must say the way they manage the meetings is smart and efficient, by the way.

We then finished our visit and let them continue working on their new tasks.

So, these are my conclusions:
  1. It's important to work in a good development environment. One must feel comfortable at work, as I felt being there. Also, the working place must have all the equipment needed to help the development process, as well as enhancing teamwork.
  2. Test your software. Planify your tests according to your tasks and overall development methodology. Don't be lazy and do test your software. Skipping tests can be harmful too often.
  3. Keep repositories of your codebase. We all have done harmful changes we couldn't rollback, or messed with hordes of zip files storing the "codebase". Honestly, I've tried it, and must say that I simply can't go back to the dark world of .zip versioning systems ;)
  4. Scrum works, and agile development works. Maybe their detractors have good reasons against them, but I've witnessed why Scrum is defiitely good. Códice uses it, and it's a success story. Why should I need theorethical reasons of why this doesn't work, when I have real-world reasons of why this works?
My final conclusion is, that as a CS student, there are a lot of good-practices and bad-practices that maybe are taught to us, but we never take into account (specially when developing our graduation project). Now my mind has definitely changed. Most times the difference between a success and a failure (specifically talking about the graduation project development) can be simply following the good practices or following the no-noes.

A fruitful visit I will take as a reference for my future works. Can't wait to start using these practices for everything (of course, starting with Caelum ;))

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More Caelum news!


I'm working hard on this, but unfortunately most of it has been in the inside, so few of it can be shown.

The good news are that the tasks I first defined are advancing pretty well, and I'm moving faster than I estimated, which is good. At this pace, a new release should be out by end of this year!

Meanwhile, some more Ember shots with Caelum; this time, layered clouds added :)Now I must go for another "damn fine cup of coffee" :p
Have a good time!

Friday, December 01, 2006


Today is a cloudy day... in the world of Caelum!

Its development is kinda boosted recently. I've been working on it almost all day long, and this is the result:Some nice detailed "dynamic" altocumulus clouds during a sunset! The blur is because of the bloom filter. Anyways, the bad part is that it's not fully integrated yet, and the performance keeps quite low... :-/ I need to take a look into it as soon as possible...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Caelum meets Tux!

This seems to be a good week for Caelum. It's development is much better by using some tools like task management and the patch tracker. The "stabilisation" task has gone into beta phase, and I've got it to finally run under my Ubuntu distro.

I've had a lot of issues with the nVidia drivers and the kernel headers, but it's finally working. Here is a screenshot I took some minutes ago of the Caelum demo under Linux :)
Next: Getting Java and JavaCC to run :/

Monday, November 27, 2006

Caelum news

Some of you might know I'm developing an Ogre3D plugin named Caelum. Caelum is the latin word for "Sky", and thus its main goal is to render various sky elements and managing them. You can see the project details at It's based on a method for sky colour rendering (you can read it in english or in spanish) I developed some time ago.

The project is on hold indefinitely due to some hardware problems here, but I've started the planning of the next steps to do.

Meanwhile, I want to highlight some Ogre projects that have decided to give it a try, which really encourages me to continue working on this. That's the great part of working in a project like this: You get pretty nice results you can see in the early development :)
The first one is Ember. Here is what its wiki entry says:
Ember is a client framework for Worldforge. It's not meant to be a standalone game, instead its purpose is to provide a solid and extensible base from which to build game-specific clients. One of the goals of Ember is to allow for easy customization of the codebase. Currently it supports the game world of Mason. It's available for all modern Linux distributions, FreeBSD and MS Windows.
You can

The second one is Rigs of Rods (read their blog here), a truck simulator :)

Friday, November 24, 2006


Diane, it's 1:28 pm. It's a rainy, cold, autumn day here.

I spent about four hours yesterday night trying to get Java to work on my Ubuntu x64 distro. A waste of time. Be it because of unsupported platforms, installation problems, or compatibility issues, I couldn't get JavaCC to work. I think I'll have to find a WinXP machine as soon as possible.

And regarding java, last Sunday I found a place with the best coffee I've ever tried. A damn fine cup of coffee (or cup of joe, like Aimee says). My addiction to caffeine is getting worse.

That's all for now, Diane. See you later.

"Hello world!"

Probably the most used sentence in the programming world, and the very first that a programming language should say... What better to start this blog?

So here I am. From time to time, I'll tell you about how my life's going, my thoughts, and maybe some fun, hehehe.

Be welcome.