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  • Writer's pictureMike Reshetar

Fishing, hiking and code documentation

Life's been very busy hence why I have not posted in a while. First a recap of this summer's events: 1. Went fishing in Canada for the first time! What a great trip minus the fact my brother-in-law and I had to leave my truck in Canada after rolling it into ditch right before we were flying into our destination. Was humbling to fly back and see our wives waiting on the dock to rescue us since we were minus a vehicle..... I thank the Lord no one was hurt. 2. Another adult and I took 6 high school kids into the Boundary Waters for a 4-5 days. The trip was great and we added a lot of memories to the mental scrap-book

3. We took our camper to Banff Canada with friends. The only word I have to describe that trip is "Wow" and "Breath-Taking". (Ok - that's two words, but stop counting). For anyone interesting in going there, I highly suggest doing the parks in order -- YellowStone, Glacier, Banff, Jasper. Each is beautiful in their own way, but each one is more impressive as you make your way through the list.

Now to the technical stuff. I've been using Starlink on and off over the summer as we traveled and have been impressed overall with the performance and reliably. We did stay at one campground in Stanton, ND where I needed my cellular set up as two trees were blocking the view of the sky. Starlink still worked, but I did have dropouts every few minutes -- which the Starlink mobile app predicted would happen. My original plan was to give up on cellular all together and just use Starlink. However after field experience and given where we camp (Minnesota tends to have lots of trees....), I will keep my Meraki cellular option wiht WeBoost as a backup to Starlink. Nice thing is I can cancel or pause both plans for the months we are not using them.

On the coding front, I've learned a lot about the need for documentation. Way back when (think days of Pascal, System370 Assembly and C), I remember coding was the bane of everyone's existence. Everyone knew it was needed, no one wanted to do it, and it was never kept updated -- or at least that my experience. Now that I am leading a development team, I am understand the importance of good documentation. In recent months we added 7 developers to our small-but-fledgling team. Until then, we didn't worry about documentation as the small group of us developers had tribal-knowledge. However, that did not scale with the influx of new talent and I realized we needed to develop good documentation for both the development and user base of the tool. I settled on a combination of reStructuredText and Sphinx and am now going through the code and including documentation in all the modules. One side benefit of doing this: found a few bugs and issues we didn't know about.

The lesson: incorporate a good documentation strategy into your project up-front to save you time later. This lesson applies to coding projects, design projects, architecture-level projects and most other projects I can think of. Documentation takes time and effort, but those investments pay off.

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