Thursday, July 23, 2009

Interesting Amazon S3 tools

I have been wanting to write on this topic for quiet a long time by now. I feel good to say that I was also one of the early adapters of the cloud technology. I have been using Amazon S3 for alomst close to 2 years by now.

I initally started off with the S3Fox plug-in for Firefox. I tried BucketExplorer, but then it was too slow. By then we had completed a small web based product by name SmartS3 which we floated for our internal usage. This was not just an tool for Amazon s3, but we were having User Management integrated and we were able to server multiple users with the same s3 account!

S3Fish, a bucket explorer tool for Amazon S3 started off and we decided to do it on Microsoft platform. Detailed study made us decide to do it on MS.NET Framework v3.0. We successfully completed S3Fish, a tool that would help you to perform all the available functionality in Amazon S3 and hosted it via Code Google as open source. It was welcome by more users across the globe. We crossed more than 250 downloads in a week and we forwarded that tool to Amazon. Amazon gave us a good review, but suggested us to change the name to be propetiary and thus CloudBuddy was born.

By the time CloudBuddy was born, we had a hand full of tools for Amazon S3. A lot of tools. I decided to try CloudBerry since was more popular than any other tool. I really like the looks of the tool when I started off. But it was not very intresting on regular usage, it gave me a feel that it was another FTP / S3 explorer.

The biggest problem with technologists like us is that we always keep looking for more and new. I started convincing me that I am expecting too much, but my team came back saying that, only a user who is well aware of technology would use Amazon S3 and there is nothing wrong in the way you feel. I was so impressed with the answer from my team and I was then and till now sure that CloudBuddy would definetly be a great tool!

It was and is true. CloudBuddy has been having the MS Office plugin for alomst an year by now and there are several tools which sell Outlook plugin for cloud itself as a priced product. CloudBuddy is now coming up with a lot of new looks and more advanced features. We have taken care of Data Security as a major feature in the forth comming release. We have used the RCA/SHA1 algorithm for encrypting the files while uploading them to the cloud. I am sure that this would be a good feature to have. Even one of our CB user in our forum had asked for this.

I have not tried or used all the tools available in the market, but I have definetly tried atleast the popluar ones. One thing I see that the CB team needs to do it, have more campaign's to feature the product.

My wishes and cheers to the CB Team, for the forthcomming release of CloudBuddy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Interesting days...

Change is always interesting. This is a very subjective phrase. "Interesting" is again contextual and it differes from person to person.

From my day since joining CSS Labs ( till date, life has changed a lot. It has made me a different person from what I was in Covansys. Similarly Covansys taught me a lot lot and made a different person of what I am today, that is a seperate story to tell :)

The journy of CSS Labs has quiet been iteresting. Doing something that you wish is different from doing something that you are asked too. Former is the case with CSS Labs. Being one of the charter member of labs and working with my current BOSS and team...

Two years have gone by and looking back at the difference that I have made to my organization with technology as an enabler is what I feel proud of.

Will keep writing more on this subject, again...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thoughts On Architecture - What does it mean to be an architect?

Once again friends, the below is an interesting discussion that happened with one of the groups that I am associated in Linked-In. After my reply for this question, I got private replies from couple of people telling that this reply really motivated them...

When people say something is good, I immediately share that with the community.. So adding my 2 cents...

This was the question:-

Grady Booch: Thoughts On Architecture
"There are some things we are confident we know: every software-intensive system has an architecture (though most of them are accidental); multiple views are necessary to fully grok such an architecture (and what views one chooses is often a matter of taste, culture, history, and domain); while the code is the truth, it is never the whole truth (for a considerable amount of information lives in tribal memory).

There are also a number of things we know we don't know: what is the optimal way to represent an architecture? what is the role of architecture in the software development lifecycle? how should the as-designed architecture and the as-built architecture coevolve? and, what does it mean to be an architect?"

These are the questions Grady Booch will attempt to answer at the IT Architect Regional Conference this October. Before he gives his answers, what are yours?

And my reply was:-

"what does it mean to be an architect?"
To be an architect, first means to be the user of the system:- The end user is the one who is going to be day-in/day-out with the system. He is one who is going to be the happiest person in the world if his problem would be addressed by the system. He is one who wishes / expects that the proposed system would ease his life and give him more time and mental peace to concentrate on other things. So first an architect should wear the shoes of an end-user.

Second, the customer who give you the money :- This is a very challenging shoe to wear! Customer expects to get a Discovery Space Ship by paying for a Mercedez! In real life too, all of expect the same in each and every penny we spend. So this is the shoe that an architect needs to wear next. This shoe would help the architect to identify the tool and technologies that he/she needs to adapt to convince the customer that he has a Discovery for the price of a Mercedez. Thus I meant this to be a challenging shoe.

Third the implementor shoe:- Whatever an architect proposes and convinces his customer as state-of-the-art, would always be executed (developed) by a group who would be far below that what an solution expert is. There are always day-in/day-out issues. So this is the shoe that he/she needs to wear to understand what would be a feasible solution to achieve with the give group and get to a win-win situation.

Here it is win-win-win situation.

When an architect starts wearing these shoes and seriously spend some time before deriving at the final one, that is what it takes to get not the so called state-of-the-art but the "this-is-what-i-want" solution.

So is always the future (your end user), the present (your customer) and the past (your developers) who make things a win-win-win situation for you.

Apart from this I definitely would not like to discuss about code, patterns, design and all. If you look at it, as an architect, tech lead, project manager, you would be able to define and specify things only till the 100th feet, but from the 100th till 0, it is only the style of the individual developer. An architect is also a developer, even when is an architect. So as an architect, the solution what I propose should be making my end user happy, but which that translates as appreciated and applauds to my developers and thus I achieve a W-W-W situation!

It is always a matter of referenceability and always I ask myself "where in the referenceability curve are you?".