Successful Endeavours - Electronics Designs That Work!

Top Programming Languages

A recent survey of the most used Software Languages, also known as the Top Programming Languages,  has revealed what most would have guessed as to the most popular Software Development Languages in use. The survey was published on IEEE Spectrum and usefully allows you to look at the statistics for 4 types of software development in any combination you want to. The categories used for the breakdown of the statistics are:

  • Web
  • Mobile
  • Enterprise
  • Embedded

Web Development Languages

The most popular Web Development Language was Java followed by Python, C# and PHP. I was surprised that Python ranked so highly. I understand the Google use it but hadn’t realised it had become so prevalent. So I learnt something new from that part. This is one of the advantages of being part of the professional body like IEEE. The world we live keeps changing and expanding and this is one way to stay up with those changes.

Mobile Software Development

For Mobile Software Development the winner was again Java with C, C++ and C# coming next. So here we are still very C oriented even on the most modern platform around. And of course Java is also very C like in its structure having been developed to address some system level issues such as memory management and garbage collection that C requires you to handle manually.

Enterprise Software Development

Enterprise Software Development sees Java again a the winner with C, C++, Python and C# coming next. Again Python is higher than I expected but the rest makes sense. Given that this area represents one of the core infrastructure requirements of modern scale-able companies it is interesting to see how narrow we still are with the Software Languages we use.

Embedded Software Development

And finally to the world we mostly deal with, Embedded Software Development. The clear winner here is C followed by C++ and Assembler. I took a snapshot of the complete rankings. Embedded C remains the primary language for software development in embedded systems.

Top Programming Languages - an IEEE published survey

Top Programming Languages

You can see the full survey results at Top Programming Languages

The overall winner was Java when you take all 4 categories into account and that isn’t hard to accept given Java was the Top Programming Language in 3 of the 4 categories. So if you are thinking about what Software Languages you should learn, it depends on where you want to work and what you want to work on. For Embedded Software Development, it is still C and C++. For everything else, Java is core with C, C++, C# and Python all playing a part.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2014 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

iAwards

The iAwards are an annual celebration of Innovation in driving economic growth in Victoria. This year we were pleased to see one of our clients, Rectifier Technologies Pacific, nominate for an award. They were encouraged to do so and I was pleased that they followed through on that encouragement.

iAwards

iAwards

iAwards Winners 2014

The iAwards 2014 Winners for Victoria have been announced and Rectifier Technologies Pacific are winners in 2 categories:

  • Research and Development
  • Sustainability

This was for their RT15 240V 100A HRE Rectifier. This is a high power level and high efficiency AC to DC Power Converter.

Rectifier Technologies Pacific

Rectifier Technologies Pacific

One of the reasons we are familiar with the product is that we did some of the core Embedded Software Development and know just how good the hardware design in the power stage is. You can get more information from Rectifier Technologies Pacific AC/DC Product Range.

So congratulations again to Rectifier Technologies Pacific and to all the rest of the winners at this year’s iAwards.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2014 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

Estimating Software Development

This is actually a huge topic so I am just going to touch on some high level points. What prompted me to start writing on this topic is a recent conversation with a client and a cartoon I came across at Gizmodo about what happens when your Boss Estimates Software.

How long to write the software?

How long to write the software?

The question of how long it will take to write a particular piece of software is dependent on several factors:

  • what is your direct experience in writing that sort of software?
  • is there existing code you can leverage? – Software Reuse
  • build versus build – can you buy a module?
  • what is the Operating System? – an RTOS will usually slow things down
  • is it a hard or easy problem?
  • is it well defined?
  • how will it be tested?
  • what quality standards does it have to comply with – eg. Medical Device Class C
  • how many people will be working on it?

I’m sure you get the idea.

And the coding is just part of the Software Development Process. That is the thing that gets forgotten more than anything else.

Software Development Process

In the Software Development Process, coding is preceded by:

  • user requirements analysis
  • product requirements analysis
  • technical analysis
  • solution selection
  • specification
  • test methodology
  • Software Design

Then there may be a Design Review.

Then we code (sometimes referred to as putting the bugs in).
Then we test and debug (getting the bugs out).

Then there may be a Code Review and Refactor followed by confirmation it still passes all the tests.

Then we complete the Software Documentation package and create a labelled revision so it can be properly released and tracked.

That is the small software team version of the process and for some projects some of those steps are trivial.

Larger companies have larger processes but can also do larger projects as a result.

Industry Metrics for Coding

Here are some really basic Coding Metrics.

High security, financial systems, mission critical code – as little as 10 lines of fully debugged and documented code per day averaged across the whole process.

Commercial and scientific software is usually created at a rate of between 100 and 1000 lines of code a day.

And better processes actually speed that up rather than slowing it down.

Estimating Software Development Time

So a recent conversation with a client was on the topic of redoing someone else’s code. They had been working with another Software Development company and had decided that the code needed to be done again. They had spent 2 years without getting to a fully working version. My first though was “commendable patience”. My second was merely “ouch”!

So we did some analysis. I was initially optimistic. We used a tool called RSM to do some code base analysis. We use quite a lot of science in our Software Development Process including Static Analysis, Code Quality Analysis and complexity measurement. What we got from the initial analysis was 50K lines of code with an average Cyclometric Complexity of 6.21. The normal rule of thumb is that anything above 5 should be redesigned. Not Good. Then we looked at some specific files that had really high complexity scores above 10. That was the clincher. No evidence of design, no consistency, lot’s of cut and paste and everything is global variables.

The good news, is that the real complexity of the required code will not require 50K lines of code when it is properly designed. The bad news is that our client was right. It did need to be done again from scratch. Some parts might be reusable but it was unlikely.

Assuming we can do it with 20K lines of code, this will take between 20 and 200 person days to produce. In our case closer to 20 person days because the thing that makes the biggest difference to software delivery on time is your Software Development Process.

So that is a really quick look at a really big topic.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2014 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Embedded Development

This is the second in a series of interviews between Ray Keefe of Successful Endeavours and Lance Harvie of People 4 Embedded. Lance is a LinkedIn connection of mine has wanted to do a series of interviews with Embedded Developers to go over issues, tips and career advice from those of us who have been in the industry for a while. We touch on topics such as:

  • Operating Systems
  • Software Testing
  • Design Methodologies
  • Hardware versus Software and trade-offs. 

 The first Interview is at Embedded Development.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2013 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Casey Business and Professional Services

This is the category we won in 2010 when we also took out Casey Business of the Year. This is for our Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development services where we create the electronics product designs needed by Australian Electronics Manufacturers to be able to compete both locally and internationally.

Casey Business Awards Finalists 2012

Casey Business Awards Finalists 2012

Casey Manufacturer of the Year

We are finalists again in the category of Manufacturer of the Year.  This is for our Electronics Manufacturing service which we provide to clients following on from our Electronics Design service. We have to understand manufacturing in order to do Design for Manufacture and Assembly, also known as DFMA, so we can take on this role for those clients who want it.

Smarter Electronics Products using smarter Low Cost Electronics Manufacture processes, can compete internationally if the formula is right. This requires the combination of:

  • Product Positioning and Marketing
  • Sales Channel
  • Product Design
  • Cost Effective Electronics Manufacture

We are pleased to be serving Australian Electronics Manufacturing Industry who are trying to do just that.

Congratulations to the other Casey Business Awards 2012 finalists.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  This post is Copyright © 2012  Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

Aircraft Assembly

Ever wondered what it looks like to make an entire airplane or how much goes into Aerospace Manufacturing?
How about a major passenger liner?

Then you are really going to enjoy this video showing a time lapse of Boeing putting Florida One together…

My thanks again go to  Dr Marc Dussault, The Exponential Growth Strategist for bringing this amazing example of world class Aerospace Manufacturing to my attention. Marc has been our business mentor for the past 3 years and it has made an extraordinary difference to how we run our business.

Although we are an Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development company we also work closely with Mechanical Engineers and Industrial Designers so I appreciate what goes into both the Product Development process as well as the manufacture of something as amazing as a aircraft like this. At one level it is just science and physics, but at another, it is pure magic.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  This post is Copyright © 2012  Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

Casey Business Awards

Casey Business Awards

Casey Business Awards 2011

Successful Endeavours are the current holders of Casey Business of the Year and we have been selected as Finalists in the Casey Business Awards 2011. We continue to find the City of Casey to be a very business friendly environment and these awards are just one example of many things they do to encourage and support local businesses.
The finalists were announced by City of Casey Mayor Shar Balmes.
Shar Balmes City of Casey Mayor

Shar Balmes Mayor of Casey

The guest speaker was Futurist Paul Higgins, a consultant with Emergent Futures. He spoke about the changing role of the Internet and Social Media in how people make buying decisions and perceive value, and challenged us to think about how our businesses would address this challenge, both in defending against competitors and developing new business opportunities because of it. I was very impressed and have signed up for a trial of the scanning service offered by Emergent Futures where they bring together information on a particular area of interest and produce a consise and easily followed view of what this means. We are an ideas company and I can’t see how we won’t come up with at least 10 times the asking price of $49.94 a year in new ideas from this material.
Paul Higgins aka Futurist Paul

Paul Higgins aka Futurist Paul

Manufacturer Of The Year

We were also finalists in this category last year and some of you might be wondering how a business that focusses on Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development for Australian Electronics Manufacturers can also be a candidate for Manufacturer Of The Year?
The answer is straight forward. Having completed the design of a new electronics product, some of our clients get us to also manage the production logstics for them and either deliver programmed, tested and calibrated PCB sets to them; partially assembled product or fully assembled product. I though an example would help here.
We will call this one Client X. For Client X we do the following:
  • source all the components including electronics components, case, labels, batteries and machined and LASER cut items
  • get the PCBs loaded (we can handle small quantities in house but once you get over 30 PCB sets it becomes cheaper to use a dedicated SMT line)
  • program, test and calibrate the loaded PCBs
  • fit labels to the front chassis and then fit all the connectors, indicators and switches
  • fit the battery to the case
  • assembly the unit including the seals (this is an IP65 rated product)
  • apply serial numbers
  • final assembly and test then pack in shipping cartons with labels and matching serial numbers
  • ship to client who then sells them direct to their customers
In the case of Client X it wasn’t worth setting up an internal production line to handle a Niche Electronics product made in quantities of less than 500 per annum. Whereas we can handle this very cost effectively. We have a few strategies we use to radically reduce the cost of product test and calibration but I’ll save that for another post.
We will find out on 27 October 2011 at the Casey Business Awards Gala Dinner how we go in 2011. But for me, we are already winners.
Thanks again to both our suppliers and clients for providing us with great components and for giving us the amazing challenges and opportunites to create new electronics products. For one example of this, check out the 2011 Electronics News Future Award for Industrial Electronics we received for developing a Capacitor Bank Controller for ABB.
ABB CQ900R Smart Controller

ABB CQ900R Smart Controller

 
We are also pleased to have support from AMTIL and ManufactureLink who have supported us with their news post Another Success Looming for Successful Endeavours.
 
Ray Keefe has been developing high quality and market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  For more information go to his LinkedIn profile at Ray Keefe. This post is Copyright © 2011  Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

Industrial Electronics

We are back from the Electronics News Future Awards where we were presented with our trophy for the category of Industrial Electronics. Our thanks go to ABB High Voltage Division in Lilydale for allowing our Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development of the CQ900R Smart Controller to be nominated for the Electronics News Future Awards for 2011.

Industrial Electronics Future Award 2011

We are thrilled to have been recognised for our Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development in Industrial Electronics and it shows.
Electronics News Future Awards Industrial Electronics

Future Awards Industrial Electronics Trophy

The Electronics News Future Awards are the premier Electronics Design awards in Australia, a point that was made at the awards ceremony by one of the sponsors, Kontron. Kevin Gomez, Editor of Electronics News, speaking about the winners in each category said “These 6 projects represent some of the most outstanding work being done in Australia today”.
Future Awards Industrial Electronics Trophy

Future Awards Industrial Electronics Trophy

As well as handing out trophies, there were 3 keynote speakers and a roundtable discussion on the future of Australian Electronics Manufacturing. Electronics News are covering the outcome of the discussion in detail in their October magazine. We look forward to their coverage of this very important topic.
Electronics News have recently released profiles of each of the winning entries at Future Awards 2011: The Winners and Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; declared that the companies profiled by Electronics News showed that Australia can Win The Innovation Race.
We also appreciate the support from VECCI and ManufactureLink with their coverage of this success as well as the Star News Group.  The articles are at:

And here is what the ABB CQ900R Capacitor Bank Controller for Power Factor Correction looks like:

ABB CQ900R Smart Controller

Casey Business Awards

In 2010 the City Of Casey had their inaugural Casey Business Awards. They awarded us Casey Business of the Year and also gave us the award for Business and Professional Services which we shared with A Better Dental Care. As part of the awards ceremony they had 10 second videos prepared for each finalist and a 15 second video prepared for each category winner.  So we have 3 videos to show covering our awards as finalist for Casey Manufacturer Of The Year, as finalist and winners of the Casey Business and Professional Services Award and our award as Casey Business Of The Year for 2010.

Although we went to some length to describe what we do, which is Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development for Australian Electronics Manufacturers who still make their products in Australia, some of the voiceover comments didn’t quite come out right. It makes it all the more obvious how clear and consistent you have to be in explaining what you do.

So if you need an Electronics Product then we can do way more than is articulated in these videos but you do get a chance to see us in action.

This first video covers our finalist selection for Casey Manufacturer Of The Year 2010.

This second video includes both the finalist and winner videos for the Casey Business and Professional Services Award 2010.

This third video was prepared to cover our win as Casey Business Of The Year for 2010.

We have found the City Of Casey to be a very supportive environment for local businesses and are pleased to be working with them now as a member of the Casey Economic Development Partnership.

Ray Keefe has been developing high quality and market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  For more information go to his LinkedIn profile at Ray Keefe. This post is Copyright © 2011  Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Casey Radio 3SER 97.7FM

Today I was at Casey Radio, a community radio station catering to the south eastern suburban area of Melbourne, being interviewed for the Casey Business Hour which runs live to air on Fridays from 2pm to 3pm on 3SER 97.7FM. It was the first time I had been to the station so it was an interesting experience. With me were David Wilkinson and Tom Zsolt from the City of Casey Economic Development Department and Michelle Anderson from VECCI with radio announcer, Jamie.

Here are some pictures from the show:

3SER Guests Ray Keefe, Michelle Anderson and Tom Zsolt

The guest panel: Ray Keefe, Michelle Anderson and Tom Zsolt

 

David Wilkinson on 3SER

David Wilkinson, head of City of Casey Economic Development Department

 

Jamie on Casey Radio 3SER

Radio announcer extraordinaire, Jamie

 

Ray Keefe on Casey Radio 3SER

Ray Keefe at the microphone

 

Casey Business Awards

The podcast is an interview which covered the history of Successful Endeavours, our move from a home based business to commercial premises, what we have done to grow our Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development business, how winning Casey Business of the Year has changed us and opportunities for Australian Electronics Manufacturers in the current economic climate.

 

Casey Radio Interview with Ray KeefeClick on the image on the left to download or listen to the Casey Radio Interview with Ray Keefe

 

VECCI

Michelle Anderson from VECCI (Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry) was also interviewed and explained VECCI’s history as well as the benefits and services they offer to members and some of the programs they have initiated. Their tag line is “Invigorating Business” and I like what I heard. If you are a business in Victoria then you should check them out.

Ray Keefe has been developing high quality and market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  For more information go to his LinkedIn profile. This post is Copyright © Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Next Page »