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Boost Your Productivity with Codealike Insights. Barbaric Development Toolbox

The Barbaric Development Toolbox is a series of posts where I write about awesome and indispensable tools and libraries that enhance productivity and make our lives as software developers much easier and enjoyable.

I have seen very few people as crazy about productivity as we software developers. I have no idea where that tendency or behavior comes from, but the truth is that we spend countless hours learning every shortcut there is to improve our programming fu. We learn to master our IDEs and text editors, put up with the steep learning curve of vim, or the strange incantations of Emacs. We use tools like ReSharper, JustCode or CodeRush, and learn disciplines like GTD or the Pomodoro Technique. All and everything just to be able to do more, to be better, to master our craft.

What if I told you that there is a new super interesting, innovative and all-hands-down-just-cool tool that lets you monitor every second of every minute you spend in Visual Studio? What if I told you that you can see how much time you spend reading, coding, building and debugging? How much time you do either of these things within a solution, a project, a class and to the minutest detail: a method!? Or which hours of the day you are more productive at, or which languages you use most often? What would you do with this kind of information?!? Behold!! Because codealike is here and is bringing all these insights and more to your nearest Visual Studio!

codealike logo

codealike is a Visual Studio (and Eclipse) plugin that records enormous amounts of information on how you spend your time in Visual Studio, and then weaves it in wonderful and insightful ways so that you can take the most value out of it. With codealike you can look at your code and your work patterns in a total different way than ever before. You can divine the secret story of your code, because your code has a story to tell and, until now, you haven’t been listening.

But let’s be less fluffy and go down to the specifics. These are some cool things you can find out with codealike:

  • How much time you have spent coding, debugging, building and outside of Visual Studio
  • How often you were interrupted in a given period of time
  • How many times you’ve been on fire (in the mythical flow)
  • How focused you were during a period of time and in different machines
  • See in which solutions, projects, files, classes and methods you spend the most time
  • See which programming languages, frameworks you spend time using
  • See a very detailed timeline of how and where you spent your day
  • Analyze the nitty-gritty details on how you spend your time in every solution, project, file, class and method
  • Rank and compare yourself to other codealike users
  • Compare yourself with a version of you from another space and time (to see how you have improved as the time passes)
  • Use it within your team and get a holistic view on how the whole team is doing.

Which is infinitely better put forward in this video:

If you want to start learning more about how you code, go to and create a free account. You just need to sign-up, download the plugin and get rolling.

VIP Premium Licenses Limited Time Offer

I have a limited time offer brought to you directly by the codealike guys. I have 30 premium licenses for a whole year to give away to you and an unlimited number of 20% discounts. The only thing you need to do is to tweet and share this blog post and reach me on twitter or via mail for your reward. It would be beyond awesome if you could write a comment about what you think about codealike, your favorite feature, is there anything that you are missing? or whatever crosses your mind at that particular moment in time.

The licenses and discounts are only available until the 2nd of August. Be swift.

Parting Thoughts

I have been using RescueTime for a while (ever since I heard about it in Scott Halseman’s great talk on productivity), and when codealike came out I went bananas. What!? This is RescueTime for .NET developers!! A w e s o me! There’s no need to say that I started using it right away.

It was a great idea, but I was a little bit disappointed with the information it initially provided as it felt quite scarce and of little utility - I think that is how I remember it although my mind may be playing tricks on me. Anyhow, what I want to get to, is to the surprise I felt when, a month after I started using it, codealike had become ten times better. And so it has continued, getting better and better at an amazing speed.

Today codealike provides a lot of interesting and helpful information, but I cannot help to think about all the possibilities and usages of all that information that are yet to come, all the tailored advice based on your personal data. The sky is the limit guys. :) (nope, I couldn’t resist the smiley).

Appendix, or on Another Interesting Less Known Facts About Codealike and its Makers

Did you know that…

Dev Talk Monday: What is Open Source and Why I Feel So Guilty

Dev Talk Monday is the series that brings you awesome dev talks every Monday

Last week I came upon this talk from dotJS 2012 completely by chance: What is Open Source and Why I Feel So Guilty?. In it, with tons of candor, sincerity and humor, @fat(bootstrap, ratchet, hogan, etc) narrates the history of open source from the closeness of the IBM days to GitHub and beyond, tells about the struggles of an open-source contributor, about burnout, puppies and makes a plea for the future to fucking revolt and fix this shit.

What is Open Source and Why I Feel So Guilty?

You can find the talk on YouTube together with all videos from the dotJS Conference.

The slides are freaking awesome too! - in a brilliant nerdy way. You can follow @fat on twitter and at his blog, he has some very nice - yet old - articles like this one, or this one or this other one… (voice slowly fading in the distance).

Brief and Superficial Thoughts On Starting My Own Company After jsFiddle Goes and Dies


I was preparing a demo for the upcoming post on Barbarian Meets Knockout.js and jsFiddle just died on me, so I thought I could make the best of it and fill in the gap with an update on what I have been working on during the past weeks and what I am planning to do in the future.

The last few months have been pretty exciting. I finally made the decision to start my own company on the side of my job at medius. Yey! As soon as I realized that the time had come - which is to say, the idea nearly made my head burst open after a slow fermentation process that had been ongoing for the past three years - I quickly did all the paperwork, created a basic starting website and got on hacking on quiz4couples. My first intention was to create a new version of the app for iOS but, after receiving many a signal from the Universe, I have changed my mind and I am going to focus my efforts instead of spreading myself thin. The plan will thus be to continue attempting to prove that the app is economically viable with a couple more iterations on the Windows Phone version I have today.

I am still a full-time employee at medius so it is pretty tough to find time to work on my company. I don’t know how other people manage but I, myself, have devised what I call - The Magic Week - which pretty much means, wake up early as hell so you can put 2-3 hours before you go to work - and reserve a couple of evenings a week to write in this blog and just learn new stuff. I also give myself a rating - with magic stars, true story - on how well I stick to the schedule every week and so far it’s been working pretty good… mental note: some time in the future I need to write about this weird productivity systems I follow… :)

Anyhow, it’s been pretty awesome so far, having complete ownership of the whole product development process, the whole decision-making is kind of… freeing, kind of liberating. You are free to roam in whichever direction you desire to your heart’s content, ain’t that something. It is true that some times it is hard to focus on the task at hand. But I have found that having three daily big wins, using the pomodoro technique, and maintaining an orderly, clutter-free man-cave are invaluable to keep me productive.

Ups. There goes the go-to-sleep-dude alarm in full swing. I’ll have to leave writing about other exciting things I am planning for the future, for another day.

Good night.

Dev Talk Monday: Is TDD Dead?

Dev Talk Monday is the series that brings you awesome dev talks every Monday

In the lasts months I have been having a nagging feeling, like something… undefined there in the back of my head that has been making me wonder… am I doing TDD and unit testing right?. So, it is very interesting, that, at the same time that I have started self-evaluating more intensely in this area and restrospecting about my practices, the same commotion or unrest is taking the software development community by storm. And this became very much a thing, very palpable when @dhh expressed his concern in his blog with “TDD is dead, long live testing”, @unclebobmartin responded with “Monogamous TDD”, and the debate ensued. Which, I must admit, is pretty awesome, because now we have all this smart people discussing the topic of TDD in a very constructive and mindblowing way.

And so, this weeks’ Dev Talk Monday is about TDD and a super interesting and fun hangout with @dhh, @martinfowler and @KentBeck titled Is TDD Dead?.

It looks like there will be more of these hangouts in the upcoming future. So, if you enjoyed it as much as I did, follow @martinfowler, @KentBeck and @dhh on twitter to find out when the next one will take place.

I leave you with this nice quote from the hangout. Have a great week!

If an idea is obviously bad, find a cheap way to try it, because if it turns out it is not bad, then it is really interesting. If you have an idea that is obviously good, then somebody else has probably tried it before.

Update: You can now enjoy the second and third screencasts of Is TDD Dead. Martin Fowler has also created a hub for all the is TDD Dead series that he will keep updating in the future.

I am going to Japan!!

Japaaaaaaaan!!! The misterious land of the rising sun, the samurai, ninja, amazing architecture, sushi, manga, beautiful landscapes, here we come! :)

tons of guides

I will be in Japan for the next two weeks! Have a greater Easter vacations! ^ _ ^