.Net and Code Ecosystems with @alexanderbellgram: TDI 2

Threads Dev Interviews

I am finding developers on Threads and interviewing them, right on Threads. You are welcome to follow along and let me know on Threads if you would like to be interviewed.

“One example of the open ecosystem: making .NET Core cross-platform and open source was a huge win.”


Welcome @alexanderbellgram, what type of software development is currently occupying your time? Frontend? Backend? Language? Framework? Anything you want to tell us?

Hello and thanks for having me! Really liking these interviews! The company I work for provides Saas solutions for enterprise restaurant businesses. Right now my dev work is split pretty evenly between back and front-end. For back-end, we use ASP.NET Core for our internal API endpoints. We also have some legacy code written in .NET Framework that’s part of a monorepo. Our front-end is (deep breath) written in Ember. It’s a love-hate thing with Ember. They are slowly making some improvements.

They are slowly making some improvements to it like better type checking in component templates and such. The database is good old SQL Server and we have a pretty robust CI/CD pipeline that takes care of builds and deployments. We are striving towards containerization with Docker, but it’s been a bit of a hike. We’ll get there eventually. 🙂

Follow up question: How did your career end up working in .NET? Which is a great framework by the way.

My career begin in earnest in the early 2000s and, aside from systems engineering that relies on assembly/C/C++, the new and upcoming frameworks at that time were Java and Microsoft’s answer to that: C#. I’m originally from the northeast, and I think there’s a general feeling(?) that east coast software teams use MS products and west coast teams prefer to avoid them 😆. So the company I was working for back then fell into the “we prefer the C#/.NET framework to solve customer problems.”

And I think I sort of just got swept up into that. Having said that, however, it really is a great ecosystem to work with and it’s only improved over the years, especially after MS embraced the open-source community more openly. I’m glad my experience lead me to where I am today.

You mentioned the .NET ecosystem. It is great. Can you explain what an ecosystem is in the development world and why it is important? And how did Microsoft’s move to open source play into that?

Oh this is a great topic. We’ve all heard the term “ecosystem” in tech and I think we all have a good general understanding of what it means. But specifically for .NET developers, the ecosystem entails the available frameworks, languages, relevant websites, training, conferences and the larger developer community all working together to build with .NET. It’s the community of .NET users and the underlying tools provided by Microsoft itself.

It’s basically MS saying “we want to engage with users in a way that is open and win-win”. And I think ultimately MS is ok with this because they still make plenty of money in other ways (Windows, Office and Azure).

One example of the open ecosystem: making .NET Core cross-platform and open source was a huge win. It opened up so much that had previously been off limits to developers (.NET Framework was and remains closed source). I think the purchase of GitHub (although controversial at first) also won some skeptics over as well. Now, there’s things like the F# conference, for example, which isn’t even owned by MS (although MS I think does offer support), it’s just the community of users coming together.

In one of our previous exchanges @alexanderbellgram , you mentioned wanting to build games with Unity? Why does building games intrigue you?

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wondered how people made video games. From the Atari 2600 onwards, it was like black magic to me. I once had a former co-worker give me a quick introduction to Unity back in the day and I was blown away. It was a little overwhelming to be honest. I also went to a local Meetup a few years back where someone gave a talk about simple game development concepts: hit boxes and such, stuff that I just never run into in my day job. It’s just a whole different world.

Couple of quick questions: Fav dev events? Is there a story behind your username?

So this will sound crazy after all my hype around .NET, but I love Apple’s events. 😆 Both the developer and the overall product events. No one comes close to showmanship like Apple. Attending events in person has not been something I’ve been able to do due to family obligations. However, Microsoft’s .NetConf is virtual and I was able to “go” to that a couple years back.

Ah yes, the story behind my username. As we all know, our accounts originally came from Instagram. So when I signed up, I was looking for something clever but also involved my name and the name “Instagram”. So I came up with a twist on the name of inventor Alexander Graham Bell, but just switched it around.

Now for the important question @alexanderbellgram If Threads Dev Interviews becomes big and famous, will you brag to your friends about being the second interviewee?

Absolutely! This was fun. 🙂

What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to get into a development career? These can be Websites? Blog? People? Books? Videos?

So, first thing for someone starting out: go to GitHub and find some projects that use the “good first issue” tag on some of their issues. Use the GitHub documentation to learn how to use Git and GitHub. I find the best way to learn development and programming is to just do it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way. We ALL make mistakes.

I like Pluralsight for online training. But if you want something free, I think Udemy has some free stuff. But I would stay away from anything that involves hours upon hours of video. Stay with shorter stuff! Don’t just watch, do the work so you can build fluency.

Some folks like coding competitions sites like Hackerrank and Codewars. There’s also Exercism, which is less pressured.

Read blogs about tech and development. Too many for me to mention. Google your favorite tech stack or language.

Books (I’ll just list these out instead of blab on): The “Pragmatic Programmer” and “Clean Code” are classics. There’s also “Design Patterns” aka “The Gang of Four”. These are like bedrock books for any engineer. Basically, stick with timeless books rather than books that are set to become obsolete by the time you’re done reading them. 🙂

This wraps up the second Threads Dev Interview. Thanks for being here @alexanderbellgram You had great and detailed responses. How can people find you elsewhere online?

Thanks! Best place to find my socials (and any future blogs, etc) can be found here: ahl.bio.link 🙂

See the full interview on Threads.






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