We agree with Matt that soaking up Node.js knowledge is a great way to spend Spring Break!
Greane Tree Technology appreciates being part of a network of small businesses in Tech Valley that offer excellent service to customers locally and nationwide. Every so often, we like to profile fellow entrepreneurs with whom we have especially enjoyed working. A few months ago, we described working together with Russo Project Management. Today, we want to focus on GreyCastle Security, an information security consulting firm headquartered in Troy. As GreyCastle says on its website, “Our company was established because a need existed for an information security consulting firm truly focused on managing risks in people, process and technology, not pushing the latest hardware and software.” We have found GreyCastle Security to be true to, and very good at, their stated mission.
We first learned about GreyCastle Security when we read CEO Reg Harnish’s contributions to the “Workbytes” column in the Times Union. We were impressed with the way Reg calmly and clearly explained the risks of computer security breaches, and the steps that could be taken to mitigate those risks. When we were looking for a security firm to advise a client, GreyCastle was one of the firms we recommended. When Reg and his associate Mike Stamas made their presentation, they didn’t just talk about the technology of threat and protection. They talked about the global industry of hacking, the attractiveness of poorly defended small targets, and the importance of a comprehensive program to train employees, often the weakest link in a security chain. Reg and Mike impressed our client, too, who subsequently hired GreyCastle Security to map out their security strategies and policies.
Greane Tree turns to GreyCastle when we have questions on securing our applications. Applications are a critical part of any business and often contain the most confidential and sensitive data, thus making them one of the most targeted elements in any organization. TheSecure Software Development Life Cycle (SSDLC) lies at the heart of application security and is a key part of the defense of company assets. From understanding new requirements to maintaining legacy software, GreyCastle Security can assist with application security through training, code review and analysis, and by creating a more secure operating environment. As with any other security measure, application security is ongoing and must be maintained in order to be effective. Together with GreyCastle Security, Greane Tree ensures that the latest security controls and considerations are integrated into its Secure Software Development Life Cycle.
GreyCastle Security advises people all over the country. They have a busy speaking schedule, and are regularly called upon to comment when security breaches make the news. Their team is growing and they recently moved to new offices at 500 Federal Street, Troy. We’re glad that they are keeping things local, and will continue be part of the Troy tech renaissance.
Greane Tree Technology Software Engineers Matthew Gerrior and Chad Calhoun attended the Burlington Ruby Conference, “a boutique conference for extraordinary Rubyists,” on August 3rd and 4th. The conference was held in beautiful Burlington, Vermont, within view of Lake Champlain. The conference featured talks by respected Rubyists from across the United States. One of these speakers was our neighbor David Czarnecki from Agora Games right here in Troy. The conference was a single track event, meaning that everyone was able to attend all of the talks. This reinforced the sense of community that the organizers aimed to create. The tight-knit group of around 150 Ruby enthusiasts spent two days learning about improving their code, and their lives as developers.
The conference started with a Keynote presentation by Mark Bates (@markbates) on leveling up as a developer, which focused on the fact that we must Always Be Coding if we want to be the best developers we can be. The talk was followed up by a presentation on zero down-time deployments from Agora’s David Czarnecki (@Czarneckid). Carina Zona (@cczona) taught us how we can improve our local Ruby community, or even start our own if one doesn’t exist yet. Brian Cardarella (@bcardarella) spoke on the topic of Real Time Rails, specifically in relation to streaming responses to the user over time. Nick Cox (@everydaytype) lightened up the mood in the afternoon with an engaging conversation about incorporating rest into the life of software developers, requiring us to join him in breathing exercises aimed at relieving stress. The first day ended with a presentation on mRuby, a lightweight Ruby implementation aimed at embedded systems, by Andrew Nordman (@Cadwallion), which helped to shine a light on Ruby’s uses outside of Rails.
The second day kicked off with a presentation from Richard Schneeman (@schneems), who characterized the typical mistakes that Rails developers make, culled from the millions of apps deployed to Heroku. Danielle Sucher (@DanielleSucher) followed up with a presentation aimed at helping developers better negotiate everything from salaries to landing a new client. A glimpse into the Ruby Standard Library was provided by Zachary Scott (@_zzak) which illustrated ways to accomplish tasks without adding additional gems to a project. Bryan Helmkamp (@brynary), founder of Code Climate, followed up with a very instructive presentation on how developers can help build a culture of code quality within their organization, benefiting them and the clients they serve. We were pleased that he recommended regular code reviews and regular lunch and learns, both of which we practice here at Greane Tree Technology. Dan Gebhardt (@dgeb) helped to shed some light on building scalable and useful APIs, demonstrating the different serialization options available, as well as how we can make our APIs as open and easily explored as the web. The conference came to a close with a keynote presentation by Steve Klabnik (@steveklabnik) on Functional Reactive Programming, which makes it easier to handle time varying values and which has recently gained popularity for developing graphical user interfaces, including those found in client-side web applications.
The conference successfully achieved its two goals of fostering the Ruby community and teaching vital lifestyle and development skills. We met some amazing developers and learned a great deal. We’d like to thank the coordinators for putting on such a wonderful conference, as well as the speakers for the time they spent preparing their presentations and delivering them to us. We would love to make it back again next year.
Greane Tree Technology CTO Joseph Payette gave our latest “Lunch & Learn” presentation. With the number of tools and frameworks for cross platform mobile application development increasing every year, it can be a challenge to determine the best fit technology for a mobile project. All of these tools and frameworks have their advantages and disadvantages, as they leverage different mechanisms for abstracting differences across mobile devices in an effort to provide a single platform for rapid application development. To bring order to the various options at hand, Joe reviewed mobile application architectures (native, hybrid, and HTML5), and explored and compared a few hybrid tools and frameworks, namely PhoneGap (www.phonegap.com), Appcelerator (www.appcelerator.com), and MoSync (www.mosync.com). Joe’s mobile application development presentation includes sample code for these three tools and frameworks.
The Lunch and Learn series is a regular event where we discuss topics of interest to our projects and clients. Last month Chad Calhoun explored Git Interactive Techniques.
The latest installment of Greane Tree’s Lunch & Learn series took place last Friday. Chad Calhoun shared some features of the Git version control system that he has recently discovered. Chad reviewed interactive adding, interactive rebase, and workflows for cleaning up commits. Interactive adding is a simple way to stage commits with “hunks”, small chunks of code, rather than with the entire file. Interactive rebase is a great feature that allows you to reorder, reword edit, delete, or combine commits.
Chad picked up several Git techniques through the Git Real courses on Code Sch
ool. Code school has done an amazing job with their courses and we suggest checking them out if you haven’t already!
The Lunch and Learn series is a regular event where we discuss topics of interest to our projects and clients. Matt Gerrior kicked off the program with his talk on Growing Object Oriented Software Guided by Tests. Joe Payette continued with a presentation on Ansible for server orchestration. Chad’s Git presentation slides can be viewed online at Speaker Deck.