Learning Git the Hard Way: Part 1

There are tons of tutorials out there that show how to use Git, starting with easy things like cloning a repository and committing locally, then pushing your commit to the server. There are lots of sites and videos that will help you achieve a competent level of Git expertise - like this one. However, you may struggle with the interface and if you have problems, you may struggle to understand why and how to fix them. That is why I am going to explain Git this way: inside out, backwards and hard. This three part series is targeted for people who want to excel at using Git and deeply understand it. This is also intended for people who are willing to persevere a bit more than the average person. Lastly, this is for people who like to see the beauty in things and, trust me, Git is beautiful.

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Workflow Driven Elicitation

Eliciting a set of user stories can be a challenge when stakeholders are not sure where to begin their description of the solution they require. It is often up to Requirements Engineer (RE) to guide the stakeholders along in assessing the problem in need of a solution, as well as assessing the best solution for the problem. The RE must further help the stakeholders partition the solution’s description into manageable tasks, and express those tasks as User Stories. Workflow Driven Elicitation (WDE) is a systematic approach that helps achieve all of the above.

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Software-Based Cyclic Redundancy Checks

In my personal projects, I often work with various sensors which require digital data verification. One such sensor required the use of a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) to verify that the information that the micro-controller read from the sensor was being received correctly. A CRC is a method for calculating a checksum from an array of data. The software examples that I was able to find to develop my understanding of implementing a CRC were poorly documented. Moreover, these examples were often so optimized that the underlying behavior was not immediately recognizable. Many examples simply used a lookup table---which provided no satisfaction for my "what-makes-it-tick?" personality.

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Alternative Tools Lead to Creative Solutions

Here at the DISTek products department, we're always looking for ways to make our user's lives easier. As engineers that use our own products, this is doubly important to us! We've identified that open source tools can be one possible solution to alleviate potential issues down the road.

We spend a lot of time designing user interfaces for ISOBUS VT clients. There are a few tools currently on the market, and while these tools get the job done, we've found a few shortcomings...

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Assessing the Entire Functional Safety Hazard Space

Safety is a challenging status to achieve and maintain, thus the need for the guidelines that collectively fall under the heading of Functional Safety (FS). DISTek has always been conscience of safety as it applies to the products developed for our customers. This includes implementing the various requirements and guidelines associated with Functional Safety, as expressed in documents, such as ISO 25119.

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Automated UI Testing for VT Clients

Much of the software engineering industry uses testing techniques that aren't often available to those of us in the embedded industry. In my experience, this has definitely been true of automated UI testing while working on ISOBUS VT clients. In a previous position, I spent much of my time creating test frameworks, including those for testing web applications through the UI.

Regular DISTek blog readers will have noticed that we took a VT server implementation to AEF PlugFest in spring 2017. Part of our motivation from the start of this project has been to give VT client developers the ability to automate functional testing of their applications.

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Integrated Projects Engineering Overview

IPE Team
A few members of the IPE Team: Bob, Ryan, and William

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you probably know a lot of about the areas that DISTek works within. Our expertise ranges across the off-highway vehicle industry (including agriculture, construction, and forestry) with engineers that specialize in a variety of disciplines. Out of convenience, we typically group these disciplines into three big areas (“embedded software”, “automation and test”, and “modeling and simulation”), but the reality is that we do all kinds of projects that cross-over between these disciplines.

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