Work for the Best … Pity the Rest

Do you work for a company that truly, I mean truly, values technical leadership and skills?  Do they value your abilities to communicate with non-IT staff?  Do they encourage you to get involved in the community through a bonus compensation plan that includes things as simple as attending a local user group?  No?  Then perhaps its time to Improve your outlook… Improving Enterprises, my employer since March of 2009, is just such and employer.  Improving has to be doing something right, after all we’ve just been named to the Inc. 500/5000 list, placing us at #210 in the nation, but number #10 fastest growing company in Dallas, and #18 in IT Services nationwide.  And this is our second year on that list. Now why am I telling you all of this?  Is it just to brag about how great my life at Improving is?  To rub in your face that I get to work for a company with 4 Microsoft MVPs on staff?  No, none of that… It’s because we’re hiring … and in a big way! How big?  We’ve got over 20 positions open at the current time.  Are we just looking for rock stars?  Not at all … we’ve got positions available at Consultant, Senior Consultant, and Principal Consultant available.  Consultants are generally people just out of school, or with a year or two of experience, and it goes up from there. Why should you work for us? For me, it is just this simple : I like to be challenged at work, I want to feel that my co-workers are challenging me to expand my horizons.  I’ve felt that way every day since I started at Improving. Other perks?  How about an annual company retreat to Vegas.  A bonus plan.  And an incredible work environment. CALL TO ACTION – It’s time to work for the best, and pity the rest … if you’re interested in working for an incredible organization like Improving, then drop me an email with your resume to and we’ll get you started along the process.

Why should I go to Dallas TechFest?

So I’m always pushing Dallas TechFest, and that I believe it is the best value day you can spend away from work, but you don’t have to listen to me… “There are also some big names from other technologies at TechFest as well, such asScott Davis (Grails guru extraordinaire), Ted Neward (.NET developer and consultant), Mark Piller (Midnight Coders), and Craig Walls (SpringSource) to name but a few.  Sounds excellent, right? Well, today's your lucky day. If you haven't registered yet there's still time, and there's a big discount to boot! Register now and use the discount code coldfusion to get in for only $25. That's right, a mere $25 for all this geeky goodness.” from Matt Woodward “If you are unable to attend CFUnited and you are in or are able to travel to the Dallas, TX area you should really check out Dallas TechFest.  I'll be speaking there again this year on Getting Started with Mura CMS Development.” from Steve Good “This year’s schedule features well-known and local speakers from across 6 different communities including .NET, Java, PHP, Adobe, ColdFusion, Apple and IT Pro.  Registration is normally $50, but if you use the code “dotnet” you can get a $25 discount!  Make sure you sign up today as space is filling up quickly” from Chris Koenig If you haven’t registered yet, then what are you waiting for?  Online registration is open for the another day or so, so head over to http://DallasTechFest.EventBrite.Com and use one of the discount codes above to register for only $25.  Or, register at the door, but that will cost $60.  Feel like registering ahead of time now?  I thought so.

Another Database Option - MongoDB

It’s been far to long since I’ve talked here about what I’m working on, so it is time to correct that.  I’ve been working with a client who has some very unique business requirements, and one of them deals with a lot of flexibility of their data storage.  As such we were looking into different types of storage, because while SQL Server is in fact a wonderful product, it is not known for its flexibility of storage. This quest led us to the door of a large number of databases in the “No SQL” arena, and eventually to MongoDB.  MongoDB is a document database, which stores what can best be described to the .NET Developer as a Dictionary<string,object>.  This structure allows for nesting of structures (where the object stored is another Dictionary) and is a very clever structure if you ask me.  But, document databases do not work like relational databases.  There are several important things you need to realize: Documents databases do not generally support the concept of JOINS.  If you retrieve data, and it refers to other data, then you need to make another call to the database to retrieve that data. This leads to the core concept of preferring to embed (in the dictionary) data rather than refer to data. Document databases do not generally support a defined structure, they do not have tables but rather “collections” which have no definition in the database.  It is perfectly valid for one entry in a collection to have a key “dateOfAccount” which is a string type, and another with that same key as a date. Document databases do not include a validation structure, any validation of the data (including structural data as noted above) must be enforced by your application. In the world of .NET there are several drivers, but the one my team, David O’Hara and Craig Neuwirt and I, decided on was MongoDB-CSharp.  They have just released version 0.9 beta 1, which moves the driver a lot closer to a familiarity level for most .NET developers.  Now we had to address on our project all of the above problems, and key to us doing so has been a component called DictionaryAdapater from the Castle Project.  But that is a topic for another blog post.