XML Training Classes in Hartford, Connecticut

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The original article was posted by Michael Veksler on Quora

A very well known fact is that code is written once, but it is read many times. This means that a good developer, in any language, writes understandable code. Writing understandable code is not always easy, and takes practice. The difficult part, is that you read what you have just written and it makes perfect sense to you, but a year later you curse the idiot who wrote that code, without realizing it was you.

The best way to learn how to write readable code, is to collaborate with others. Other people will spot badly written code, faster than the author. There are plenty of open source projects, which you can start working on and learn from more experienced programmers.

Readability is a tricky thing, and involves several aspects:

  1. Never surprise the reader of your code, even if it will be you a year from now. For example, don’t call a function max() when sometimes it returns the minimum().
  2. Be consistent, and use the same conventions throughout your code. Not only the same naming conventions, and the same indentation, but also the same semantics. If, for example, most of your functions return a negative value for failure and a positive for success, then avoid writing functions that return false on failure.
  3. Write short functions, so that they fit your screen. I hate strict rules, since there are always exceptions, but from my experience you can almost always write functions short enough to fit your screen. Throughout my carrier I had only a few cases when writing short function was either impossible, or resulted in much worse code.
  4. Use descriptive names, unless this is one of those standard names, such as i or it in a loop. Don’t make the name too long, on one hand, but don’t make it cryptic on the other.
  5. Define function names by what they do, not by what they are used for or how they are implemented. If you name functions by what they do, then code will be much more readable, and much more reusable.
  6. Avoid global state as much as you can. Global variables, and sometimes attributes in an object, are difficult to reason about. It is difficult to understand why such global state changes, when it does, and requires a lot of debugging.
  7. As Donald Knuth wrote in one of his papers: “Early optimization is the root of all evil”. Meaning, write for readability first, optimize later.
  8. The opposite of the previous rule: if you have an alternative which has similar readability, but lower complexity, use it. Also, if you have a polynomial alternative to your exponential algorithm (when N > 10), you should use that.

Use standard library whenever it makes your code shorter; don’t implement everything yourself. External libraries are more problematic, and are both good and bad. With external libraries, such as boost, you can save a lot of work. You should really learn boost, with the added benefit that the c++ standard gets more and more form boost. The negative with boost is that it changes over time, and code that works today may break tomorrow. Also, if you try to combine a third-party library, which uses a specific version of boost, it may break with your current version of boost. This does not happen often, but it may.

Don’t blindly use C++ standard library without understanding what it does - learn it. You look at std::vector::push_back() documentation at it tells you that its complexity is O(1), amortized. What does that mean? How does it work? What are benefits and what are the costs? Same with std::map, and with std::unordered_map. Knowing the difference between these two maps, you’d know when to use each one of them.

Never call new or delete directly, use std::make_unique and [cost c++]std::make_shared[/code] instead. Try to implement usique_ptr, shared_ptr, weak_ptr yourself, in order to understand what they actually do. People do dumb things with these types, since they don’t understand what these pointers are.

Every time you look at a new class or function, in boost or in std, ask yourself “why is it done this way and not another?”. It will help you understand trade-offs in software development, and will help you use the right tool for your job. Don’t be afraid to peek into the source of boost and the std, and try to understand how it works. It will not be easy, at first, but you will learn a lot.

Know what complexity is, and how to calculate it. Avoid exponential and cubic complexity, unless you know your N is very low, and will always stay low.

Learn data-structures and algorithms, and know them. Many people think that it is simply a wasted time, since all data-structures are implemented in standard libraries, but this is not as simple as that. By understanding data-structures, you’d find it easier to pick the right library. Also, believe it or now, after 25 years since I learned data-structures, I still use this knowledge. Half a year ago I had to implemented a hash table, since I needed fast serialization capability which the available libraries did not provide. Now I am writing some sort of interval-btree, since using std::map, for the same purpose, turned up to be very very slow, and the performance bottleneck of my code.

Notice that you can’t just find interval-btree on Wikipedia, or stack-overflow. The closest thing you can find is Interval tree, but it has some performance drawbacks. So how can you implement an interval-btree, unless you know what a btree is and what an interval-tree is? I strongly suggest, again, that you learn and remember data-structures.

These are the most important things, which will make you a better programmer. The other things will follow.

Recently, the new iOS update had added Reminders to the iPhone. If you ever found yourself setting notes on your iPhone to remember to do things, such as buying milk while at the grocery store, this process has become leagues upon leagues simpler, and faster. On your iPhone is an application named “Reminders”. Tap on this application and experience the new world of To-Do lists.

 

Right away, you are greeted by a screen that looks similar to a notepad, where you would be scribbling down reminders for this, and for that. To start off, tap on the plus button, and you are able to input the reminder you want. Say you want to be reminded to “Buy Milk.” Just type that into the application and you’re good to go.

But wait, there’s more. What this new application brings to the table that is extremely useful is the fact that your iPhone can remind you to do that task at a certain location, which, in this case, is buying milk. If you had saved your regular grocery store in your Maps application as a favorite location, you are able to do so. (To save a favorite location, go into your Maps application, search for your nearest grocery store that you regularly shop at, tap on the pin, tap on the blue arrow to get more information, and “Add to Bookmarks.”) In order to remind you to buy milk at your favorite grocery store, slide the “Off” to “On” and you are now able to set where you would like to be reminded at, and at what point in time. Now, you will never leave the grocery store without buying milk!

Like me, I believe most people go about their business never to give a serious thought about their assumed private correspondence when using Gmail to email friends, colleagues and business associates.  As it turns out, your daily banter may not be so private after all.  A recent article in Fortune Magazine, “Judge Rejects Google Deal Over Email Scanning” caught my attention and an immediate thought dominated my curiosity…Google email and scanning scam.  

 

In essence, the article describes Googles’ agreement to change the way it scans incoming messages so that it no longer reads emails while they are in transit, but only when they are in someone's inbox! So, what exactly does that mean? Judge Koh, a San Francisco federal judge, said she's not so sure about that. Her ruling claims the settlement does not provide an adequate technical explanation of Google's workaround, which involves scanning in-transit emails for security purposes, and then later parsing them for advertising data. The judge also proposed a legal settlement to pay $2.2 million to lawyers, but nothing to consumers.

My interest in this story is not so much about the proposed settlements or the specific details about how Google or any of the web giants settle claims based on vague legal language. It is however, more about the naiveté of myself and perhaps many others that never question how the email scanning process really works. I wonder, do most of us really care that Gmail uses contents of our mail to display targeted ads?

It’s befuddling when you think about how many ways there are to communicate in 2013. I’d say there are too many new ways to communicate – social media, phone, Skype, instant message, text message, email, it goes on and on. But do any of them outweigh the power of a good old-fashioned face-to-face meeting? Most business executives would argue no. Nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting, at least yet.

 

That said, face-to-face meetings are without question the most expensive kind, given the travel costs required to make them a reality, and companies around the globe have been trying to make them more financially manageable ever since the recession set in. But recession or no, face-to-face meetings are rarely in the budget cards for small businesses. So how can entrepreneurs around the globe get more out of their virtual meetings while ensuring any physical meeting is worth the cost?

  

Tech Life in Connecticut

Software developers in Hartford, Fairfield, New Haven, Greenwich and New Britain are rich in Fortune 1000 companies such as the Xerox Corporation, CIGNA, Aetna, and United Technologies Corporation just to name a few. A fun fact: Hartford has the oldest U.S. newspaper still being published?the Hartford Courant, established 1764. Connecticut is also the insurance capital of the nation.
Learning is a lifetime process, but there comes a time when we must stop adding and start updating.  ~Robert Brault
other Learning Options
Software developers near Hartford have ample opportunities to meet like minded techie individuals, collaborate and expend their career choices by participating in Meet-Up Groups. The following is a list of Technology Groups in the area.
Fortune 500 and 1000 companies in Connecticut that offer opportunities for XML developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Stanley Black and Decker, Inc. New Britain Manufacturing Tools, Hardware and Light Machinery
EMCOR Group, Inc. Norwalk Energy and Utilities Energy and Utilities Other
The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. Hartford Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Crane Co. Stamford Manufacturing Tools, Hardware and Light Machinery
Cenveo. Inc. Stamford Business Services Business Services Other
Amphenol Corporation Wallingford Computers and Electronics Semiconductor and Microchip Manufacturing
W. R. Berkley Corporation Greenwich Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Silgan Holdings Inc. Stamford Manufacturing Manufacturing Other
Hubbell Incorporated Shelton Manufacturing Concrete, Glass, and Building Materials
IMS Health Incorporated Danbury Business Services Management Consulting
CIGNA Corporation Hartford Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Chemtura Corp. Middlebury Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Harman International Industries, Inc Stamford Computers and Electronics Audio, Video and Photography
United Rentals, Inc. Greenwich Real Estate and Construction Construction Equipment and Supplies
The Phoenix Companies, Inc. Hartford Financial Services Investment Banking and Venture Capital
Magellan Health Services, Inc. Avon Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotech Other
Terex Corporation Westport Manufacturing Heavy Machinery
Praxair, Inc. Danbury Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Knights of Columbus New Haven Non-Profit Social and Membership Organizations
Xerox Corporation Norwalk Computers and Electronics Office Machinery and Equipment
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Stamford Travel, Recreation and Leisure Hotels, Motels and Lodging
United Technologies Corporation Hartford Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
General Electric Company Fairfield Computers and Electronics Consumer Electronics, Parts and Repair
Pitney Bowes, Inc. Stamford Manufacturing Tools, Hardware and Light Machinery
Charter Communications, Inc. Stamford Telecommunications Cable Television Providers
Aetna Inc. Hartford Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Priceline.com Norwalk Travel, Recreation and Leisure Travel, Recreation, and Leisure Other

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A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in Connecticut since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about XML programming
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