Thursday, July 23, 2020

Role, Goal, and Dole

In agile software development, a user story traditionally follows this template:
As a [person in a role], I want [some software feature (the goal)] so that I can [achieve some benefit to the user or business].
Some years ago I came up with an easy to remember rhyming mnemonic for this, "role, goal, and dole", where I use dole as a synonym for benefit. The user story template then becomes:
As a [person in a role], I want [some goal], so that I can [achieve some dole].

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Jigsaw Puzzles

For most of my career as a software developer, I have used statically typed programming languages such as Pascal, Ada, Java, and TypeScript.  Recently, however, I briefly dabbled in using the dynamically typed languages JavaScript and Python.  Debugging all of the run-time errors in the dynamically typed code reminded me of my earliest years of programming in BASIC in which I would have to spend time searching for misplaced commas.

When I switched from JavaScript back to TypeScript, I sensed an increase in my productivity and my confidence in the correctness of my code.  To explain to a layman the difference between programming in a dynamically typed language as compared to a statically typed language, I came up with the following analogy.  It is the difference between assembling a jigsaw puzzle in which all of the tiles are square versus one in which the pieces are of a variety of different shapes that can only interlock in the correct way.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

CroftSoft Agile Glossary

A tongue-in-cheek glossary of agile software development puns that I have invented over the years:
  • Au Pair Programming: a variation on pair programming in which an experienced software developer is paired with an inexperienced software developer
  • Scrummerfail: a combining of an agile software development methodology such as Scrum with waterfall development, widely known as "scrummerfall", but taken to the extreme in which the entire development process is waterfall but all of the terminology associated with the process is based on agile
  • Slog: a sprint lasting more than four weeks
  • Technical Deficit: an ongoing accumulation of technical debt that is passed on to future generations

Saturday, March 02, 2019


Back in 2011, I created my first Android application, CroftSoft QuickStudy.  Recently I started working on a hybrid mobile application using the Ionic Framework.  The software is currently deployed as a web application at

Like CroftSoft QuickStudy, Lorelock lets you do flashcard drills on atomic symbols and United States capitals.  Lorelock also includes boating terminology since boating is a new hobby of mine.  I will be adding more study topics and software features as time goes on.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

MATLAB vs. Java

Thursday, March 29, 2012

ERNST v1.1

For some time now, I have been working on updating the Event Related Neuronal Simulation Tool (ERNST), a Java-based discrete event computational neuroscience (CNS) simulator. ERNST was developed and is maintained by the Computational Neuroscience Laboratory led by Dr. Ernst Niebur at the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute of Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

I am pleased to announce that the new version with my code contributions is now available for download and that it has been released under the terms of an Open Source license.  I hope to follow it up with additional releases soon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

CroftSoft IntFire v1.1

I put out a new release of CroftSoft IntFire to accompany my tutorial presentation on Exponential Decay Current Synapses.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Java Style Guide

I started writing the CroftSoft Java Style Guide. I will be adding to it as time goes on. I have adopted the brace indentation style popularized by Eric Allman.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I deployed the Spike Interface Embodied Virtual Environment (SIEVE) implementation that I wrote in 2008, CroftSoft SIEVE, as a Java OpenGL (JOGL) applet. I also released the source code as Open Source.