In this edition: The Single Responsibility Principle; keeping a log in notepad; Visual Studio 2015 Update 2 RTM; NCrunch; Killing solid communication; Social engineering; Rejecting stereotypes; and What is agile anyway?

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.


Taking the Single Responsibility Principle Seriously

The SRP is one of the five foundational SOLID principles, yet it is often misunderstood and poorly applied. In this article, Ralf Westphal talks about the importance of the SRP and details one potential approach for identifying those responsibilities.

Read the article

Notepad Log File

This is weird, but cool and useful …

If the first 4 letters of a text file are “.LOG” then when you launch that text file in notepad, instead of opening it at the top for reading, opens it at the bottom for appending. And automatically inserts a time and date stamp.

Read the tip

Software and Updates

Visual Studio 2015 Update 2 RTM

The second update for Visual Studio 2015 has been released - this is a recommended installation for anyone using Visual Studio 2015. [Please note that this was current news when this edition was originally circulated on Monday 4th April 2016.]

This is primarily a bug fix and performance release, although it does include a handful of new features.

Blog post


If you want to take test driven development to the next level, try NCrunch - a Visual Studio addin that observes your coding and automagically runs your unit tests continuously in the background. It really has to be seen to be believed.

Product home page

Being Professional

Seven Destructive Habits that Kill Solid Communication

Any high performing team is critically dependent on the free flow of information so that each team member has everything needed to make the best decisions possible.

This LifeHacker article shows how easy it is to kill that flow of information - all it takes is one person more interested in political or personal goals than in the success of the team.

Read the article

Staying Secure

Hacking your head: How cyber criminals use social engineering

Any system is only as secure as its weakest point. As we get better at securing our technology, criminals are increasingly choosing to target the people instead.

After discussing some of the common kinds of attacks, this article gives some good advice about how to secure yourself. The best piece of advice: A healthy dose of skepticism goes a long way.

Read the article

Obligatory XKCD cartoon


Computer programmer rejects anti-social ‘sub-species’ stereotype

Amy Palamountain is a kick-ass developer and awesome speaker (check out her WDCNZ presentation) who soundly rejects the stereotypes of our industry. She currently works for GitHub in San Francisco.

Read the article

Video of the Week

You keep using the word agile

In this presentation from January 2016’s NDC London conference, Nathan Gloyn talks about how the things people often call “agile” aren’t actually agile.

Watch the video

Length: 1h 3m

Audience: Developers, Analysts and Project Managers


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September 2017