Careercon Warszawa 2015 - already after the presentation


A couple of hours ago I returned from the conference Carrercon Warszawa 2015 where I had a presentation about historical debuggers. I'm generally happy with my speech. There were dozens of people in the room. I didn't forget to tell about anything important, I wasn't stressed too much and my presentation took as much time as I planned. As always I see a room for improvement but it was a good decision to take part in the conference as a speaker.

In the next post I want to write much more about Careercon Warszawa 2015 and my presentation. Now, I'd like to ask everybody who attended my presentation and who are reading this post for one thing. The thing which is very important to me. I'll be happy if you fill the following short survey:

Click to start a survey

Any feedback will be extremely valuable for me.


CareerCon Warszawa 2015


On Saturday (27-06) I'll have a presentation about historical debuggers at the conference "CareerCon Warszawa". I'll tell what they are and why you should use them. I'll also explain how IntelliTrace historical debugger for .NET works under the hood. If you have time I'll be glad to see you! The presentation will be in Polish.

Conference site

For now that's all. After the conference you can expect a post about how it looked like.


Interview Questions for Programmers by MK #3


Question #3
You found the following code and were asked to refactor it if needed:
var sb = new StringBuilder();
sb.AppendLine(String.Format("   <node id="{0}"/>", 1));
sb.AppendLine(String.Format("   <node id="{0}"/>", 2));
sb.AppendLine(String.Format("   <node id="{0}"/>", 3));
//Many, many lines of code
What would you do and why?

Answer #3
It is not the best idea to create XML documents using string concatenation because it is error prone. Besides created documents are not validated in any way. In .NET we have a few possibilities to refactor this code.

I recommend to use XmlWriter in this case because we want to create a new document and we do not want to edit an existing one. However, if we also want to modify existing XML documents, the good choice will be XDocument or XmlDocument class.

In the case of small XML documents (when performance is not critical) it might be a good idea to use XDocument or XmlDocument even if we don't want to edit existing documents. Especially XDocument can be simpler in use than XmlWriter.

Comments #3
I remember that when I wanted to create an XML document in C# for the first time I did it by using string concatenation. The code worked ok and I was surprised that it didn't pass a review :)


What do you know about low-level programming?


Have you ever written anything in a low-level assembly language? The last time, I was in touch with low-level programming, was during my studies. I wrote something in x86 and MIPS assembly languages. It was not easy but I liked it and I think that every good developer should know basics of programming at low-level. Why I'm writing about that?

Recently, I've found a very good online game known as microcorruption which reminded me good old times. The goal od this game is to open a lock by exploiting bugs in the source code. In order to do so you have to use a debugger of MSP430 assembly language.

At the beginning, initial tasks seems to be very easy e.g. a password can be hardcoded in the source code. However, if you haven't worked with any low-level language for many years even so simple task can be challenging. Besides, every next task is more and more difficult.

microcorruption is a great game if you want to remind yourself things like registers, a calling convention, a stack, low-level addressing and many others.

I started playing and I cannot stop! I encourage you to try.


I'm ashamed that I knew so little about...


This post will not be related to programming. I want to write about something that I've read about recently. I think that it's extremely interesting. Besides it is important for me. I'm talking about Lvov school of mathematics, a group of brilliant Polish mathematicians who worked in Lvov before World War II and had a great impact on contemporary mathematic. You may be surprised that even famous people like John von Neumann visited Lvov in order to talk with them.

Have you heard about them? If you come from Poland there is a chance that you heard although it is not very well know topic. And it is a pity because Polish people should be proud because of their achievements. If you are not from Poland there is a bigger chance that you heard about people like Stefan Banach, Stanisław Ulam or Hugo Steinhaus. Just to mention 3 mathematicians who were a part of Lvov school of mathematics.

These were very special people. Stefan Banach established very important part of mathematic known as functional analysis, was the author of many theorems (e.g. Banach space), has his own planetoid 16856. He had written his PhD thesis within 6 months and after that he needed only 7 years to become a professor. I'm pretty sure that every mathematician knows his name.

Stanisław Ulam had took part in Project Manhattan and then worked on the hydrogen bomb. In the 40s wrote one of the first (if not the first) program playing chess. He also proposed Monte Carlo method. When Kennedy became a president in 1960 Ulam as an advisor was asked which important project should be started. He suggested an expedition to the moon what Kennedy approved!

Hugo Steinhaus did so many things that I don't know what to choose. He "discovered" Stefan Banach so without him Lvov school of mathematics could have never been created. He invented introwizor, ancestor of modern computed tomography, which was patented in many countries in Europe and in USA. One of his books Mathematical Snapshots, that was originally published in 1938, is still available on Amazon! He also worked on game theory. You can say that many people did it. However, Steinhaus had done so 20 years before someone used this term.

I'll stop now because I could write and write about them. Instead I'll cite 2 short anecdotes that show that these were really extraordinary people (based on Genialni. Lwowska szkoła matematyczna by Mariusz Urbanek, unfortunately available only in Polish).

Stefan Banach has never finished his studies, he didn't like bureaucracy, formalisms and official titles. Because of that he had a problem with his PhD. It wasn't important for him. He wanted to focus on mathematics. His friends decided to cheat him a little bit and one day they told him that some important people frrm the capital have a few questions and only he can help. He didn't have any problems to answer all these questions, but he didn't know that it was his examination for the degree of doctor ;) Thanks to this small fraud he received PhD title.

In Lvov there was a restaurant "Szkocka" ("Scotch") and mathematicians like to spend there a lot of time of course at talking about mathematics. Noise and bustle didn't bother them. They also had a habit to write down proofs and theorems on the table with a pencil. The problem was that on the next day tables were cleaned and all the work was lost. To solve a problem the owner of the restaurant was asked to set this table aside and not to clean it until everything will be transferred to paper. This was a task of students.

I hope that I convinced you that you should at least know what is Lvov school of mathematics (especially if you come from Poland or if you are mathematician). Personally, I'm ashamed that I knew so little about it before.


Ray Tracing a Black Hole in C#


A friend of mine Mikołaj Barwicki has published very interesting article about visualisation of black holes on codeproject. So far he received a grade 5 from 43 readers. It is a great result! If you interested in ray tracing, black holes, numerical analysis or parallel computing it is an article for you.