In this episode from August 2016: Fact or fiction about agile documentation; using C# as a scripting language; easy to miss code smells; deprecation of the RC4 stream cypher; analogue computers make a comeback; and, Q&A with Scott Hanselman.

Sharpen the Saw is a somewhat delayed repost of a semi-regular newsletter of information I publish for the professional development of software developers. While targeted primarily at developers working with the Microsoft technology stack, content will cover a wider range of topics.

To subscribe, send me an email and I’ll put you on the list. Membership is moderated.


Always a way to improve the code you write every day.

Agile Documentation: Fact or Fiction?

One key misunderstanding of the Agile Manifesto happens when people assume the lesser principles have no value at all. It’s worth going back to the manifesto and reading it properly - there’s nothing accidental about the wording used. The lesser values (including documentation) do have value; it’s just that the other values have more value.

Getting documentation right in an Agile project is difficult - there’s a balance to be found between having too much documentation and none at all.

Read now

Software and Updates

A new or upgraded tool can be a beautiful thing.

Announcing Scripty

Scripty is an interesting project that combines C# as a scripting language with the Roslyn compiler framework to create a tool for code generation.

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Being Professional

A great developer does more than just write great code.

Easy to Miss Code Smells

We need to not only spot code smells, but do something about them as well. One of the biggest challenges is to recognize a smell when we see it - they don’t tend to come with clear signposts.

In this blog post, the author names four common code smells: Bloated Constructor, Excessive Using, Lazy Loading, and Ask & Tell.

Read now

Staying Secure

Staying safe online and writing secure systems are both harder than we think.

RC4 stream cipher deprecated in Edge and IE11

The RC4 cipher was created in 1987 and was at one time used widely in web browsers. Modern cryptographic analysis has found vulnerabilities with RC4 and it hasn’t been recommended for use in some time. With a recent patch, the cipher is now completely removed from both of Microsoft’s browsers.

Read more


Sometimes the answer is random.

Analog Computers Return: Finally

A computer is a tool for making a computation, a derivation that is all too easy to forget with the advances in technology. However, not all computers are digital - and the non-digital varieties are making a specialised comeback.

Read now

Video of the Week

Take some time to feed your mind.

Hanselman Unplugged 2 – Back Down Under

Legendary blogger and technologist Scott Hanselman came to Australia for NDC Sydney and the folks at SSW were able to nab him for a Q&A session.

Watch now


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November 2017