Keeping Up With Software Development

Keeping up with the changes in the software development industry always feels like a losing battle. Just when I feel like I’ve started to catch up and learn the things I need to know to do my job (and hobby), a new version of something is released or even worse, something totally revolutionary comes out which means we have to start learning from first principles again.

WebAssembly is one such technology which is a game changer but still at the prototype stage. When it does hit, prepare for the whirlwind. Prepare to throw away most of what you knew and re-learn that which is now deemed the state of the art and the way to do things.

At some point in history it was possible for a single human being to learn all scientific knowledge known to mankind if they could somehow get hold of the information. We’ve long since surpassed that point with a single technology like .NET, let alone software development in general.

Then you’ve got the cross-functional developers out there. The ones that try to learn everything required to build a complete application. I try to do this but I have the constant feeling that I’m behind, that I need to catch up. It’s impossible to learn everything in any real depth, so you have to skim the surface of some technologies to get by. I wish I knew more about T-SQL, ElasticSearch, Webpack and pretty much all of the myriad of JavaScript frameworks.

I’m not complaining of course, having to learn is what keeps it interesting and what keeps us coming back for more.

The list below is my personal list of RSS feeds that I follow to keep up to date. I’ve put this list together over several years and use an RSS feed reader called Feedly which keeps track of the articles I’ve read. Hopefully, it helps you keep up to date.

Link Aggregators

These are sites which aggregate articles from various sources.

  • ASP.NET Community Spotlight (RSS) – Quality blog posts from the ASP.NET community.
  • CSS-Tricks (RSS) – Learn about CSS mainly but also HTML and JavaScript tricks and browser features and differences.
  • The Morning Brew (RSS) – A great list of articles put together by Chris Alcock every day without fail. A great service to the community.

Products

Keep up to date with product announcements and updates.

  • The Visual Studio Blog (RSS) – Various Visual Studio related official announcements.
  • Microsoft Azure Blog (RSS) – Official announcements about new Azure services. The cloud is changing fast, keep up here.
  • Windows Blog (RSS) – Find out about new features in Windows and Windows Phone.
  • SQL Server Blog (RSS) – Keep up to date with the latest SQL Server announcements.
  • ASP.NET Docs (RSS) – Read new articles in the ASP.NET Core docs.
  • Microsoft Power BI Blog (RSS) – If you haven’t used Power BI yet, think of it like Excel for your SQL or No-SQL database. You can produces tables and nice visualizations from your raw data.
  • Bootstrap Blog (RSS) – I use Bootstrap to build web UI’s. I’ve looked into Foundation and Material Design but so far I’ve not changed my preference.
  • Cake (RSS) – If you are not yet using Cake Build to build your code, you’re missing out on the simplicity as compared to PowerShell or Bash, plus it runs cross platform.
  • Octopus Deploy (RSS) – This is a great tool to manage the complexity of deploying your application, including versioning, rollbacks, multi-tenancy, secrets, etc.
  • Docker Blog (RSS) – I’ve recently started to use Docker Swarm, it’s still early days but it has a lot of potential.
  • Google Developers (RSS) – Get updates on the Google Chrome browser and various web standards.
  • Project Nami News (RSS) – This blog runs on WordPress using uses Project Nami which allows me to use SQL Server.

Online Services

Find out how various online services are changing.

  • The GitHub Blog (RSS) – I use GitHub daily, contributing to open source myself or for looking at source code. Find out what they are doing to improve the site.
  • Cloudflare Blog (RSS) – You should probably be using Cloudflare as your CDN for speed and cost savings, I use it for this site. They post product updates but also about major security vulnerabilities and hacking attempts.
  • The NuGet Team Blog (RSS) – Find out how NuGet is changing, they don’t post too often but useful when they do.
  • Schema.org Blog (RSS) – Schema.org defines a set of standard classes and their properties for objects and services in the real world. There are nearly 700 classes at the time of writing defined by schema.org. This machine readable format is a common standard used across the web for describing things. They produce blog posts when they add or change any schemas. I recently wrote about Schema.NET which turns the 700 schemas into .NET POCO classes.

Software Development Individuals

ASP.NET Core

Web Technologies

  • Marius Schulz (RSS) – Has written a great series of blog posts on TypeScript.
  • Addy Osmani (RSS) – Google developer, I think he’s on the Chrome team as blog posts feature new web standards built into the Chrome browser.
  • Jake Archibald’s Blog (RSS) – A Google developer posting about new web standards and browser differences.

Web Security

Windows

I used to do a lot more Windows development with WPF, Silverlight and UWP etc. I don’t really follow anyone from those days anymore except Mike Taulty

  • Mike Taulty (RSS) – Microsoft evangelist. Writes Windows and Hololens blog posts.

Other

These people don’t really fit into any one category but are well worth reading:

Videos

Videos are a great way to learn but they do suck up a lot of time so be selective.

  • NDC Conferences’s (RSS) – The NDC conferences happen in London, Oslo and Sydney every year. They post way too much content for me to handle. You have to be very selective about what you watch. Talks also get repeated quite a bit in different conferences. I’m still watching videos from the last conference when the next one rolls up.
  • CSS Day (RSS) – CSS Day is an annual conference about CSS, posting a dozen videos a year that is well worth watching.
  • Azure Friday (RSS) – Find out about new features of Azure in these brief introductory videos.