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Category Archives: Agile
Since a long time, engineers have been striving to make machines perform tasks that human beings do; which has led to birth of the field of machine learning. Understanding the language humans speak, constitutes a vital part of this field. This field of computer science which deals with human-machine interactions, especially concerned with computer programs which can process natural language efficiently, is known as Natural Language Processing, mostly referred to by the abbreviation NLP.
NLP sits at the intersection of computer science, artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. “By utilizing Natural Language Processing algorithms, developers can organize and structure textual data to perform tasks such as automatic summarization, translation, named entity recognition, relationship extraction, sentiment analysis, speech recognition, and topic segmentation.” (En.wikipedia.org, 2017)
Natural Language Processing is characterized as a hard problem in computer science since human language is rarely precise, or plainly spoken. To understand human language, one must not only understand the words but their meaning & context and how they interconnect to form meaning. The vagueness and ambiguous nature of human language makes it difficult to learn for computers while being easy to learn for humans.
Components of NLP
There are two components of NLP which are listed as follows:
- Natural Language Understanding(NLU)
This includes understanding the different aspects of the language and mapping the input text in natural language to useful representations. This is the harder of the two components since this section has to deal with the ambiguity & complexity of the language. There are mainly three levels of ambiguity which are as follows:
- Word-level or Lexical Ambiguity
- Syntax Level or Parsing Ambiguity
- Referential Ambiguity
- Natural Language Generation(NLG)
As evident from the name, NLG is the process of producing or generating meaningful phrases and sentences in the form of natural language. It involves text planning, sentence planning and text realization.
Syntax: It refers to arrangement of words which form a sentence. It also involves determination of structural role of each word in the sentence.
Phonology: It is the study of organizing sounds systematically.
Morphology: It is study of how words are constructed using primitive meaningful units.
Semantics: It deals with the meaning of words and how they can be joined/combined to form meaningful sentences.
Discourse: This determines how the immediately preceding sentence can affect the interpretation of the next sentence.
Pragmatics: This deals with how the interpretation of a sentence changes according to the situation.
What can developers use NLP algorithms for?
- Summarizing blocks of text to extract the meaningful information from the given text, ignoring the remaining non-relevant text
- Understanding the input and generating the output in Chatbots
- Deriving the sentiment of a piece of text using Sentiment analysis
- Break up large text into simpler tokens such as sentences or words
Some Open Source NLP Libraries
- Apache OpenNLP
It is a Java based machine learning toolkit provided by Apache, that supports the most common NLP tasks, such as tokenization, sentence segmentation, part-of-speech tagging, named entity extraction, chunking, parsing, language detection and coreference resolution. OpenNLP also includes maximum entropy and perceptron based machine learning. It provides built-in Java classes for each functionality as well a command line interface for testing the pre-built agents.
- Natural Language Toolkit(NLTK)
It is a platform for building Python programs to read and process human language data. It provides easy-to-use interfaces to over 50 corpora and lexical resources, along with a suite of text processing libraries for classification, tokenization, stemming, tagging, parsing, and semantic reasoning, wrappers for industrial-strength NLP libraries, and an active discussion forum.
- Stanford CoreNLP
Stanford CoreNLP provides a set of human language technology tools. It can give the base forms of words, their parts of speech, mark up the structure of sentences in terms of phrases and syntactic dependencies, indicate which noun phrases refer to the same entities, indicate sentiment, extract or open-class relations between entity mentions, get the quotes people said, etc.
MALLET is a Java-based package for statistical natural language processing, document classification, clustering, topic modeling, information extraction, and other machine learning applications to text. Apart from classification, MALLET includes tools for sequence tagging for applications such as named-entity extraction from text. Algorithms include Hidden Markov Models, Maximum Entropy Markov Models, and Conditional Random Fields.
These are few of the many open source libraries and toolkits available for development on Natural Language Processing which can be utilized by developers in their applications.
In conclusion, Natural Language Processing is an important part of the artificial intelligence field and needs to be given importance if someone wants to master the trade of Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence.
Any code when written in a clean, easy to understand and formatted way is easily readable and accepted by everyone.
It is essential for everyone to easily understand the code one writes as same projects can involve participation of multiple programmers. For easy identification and understanding of the code and code flow by everyone involved, it is essential that the code is structured, clean, and easily maintainable.
Explained below are some of the practices to write clean and understandable code.
Commenting and Documentation
For any software project reliable documentation is crucial. Commenting and documentation helps one analyze what’s happening inside the code. This is very crucial for the one who is examining the code for the very first time. Writing comments for methods or functions is good for understanding its purpose. They can quickly show what a complex function is doing.
However, don’t write unnecessary comments as it would make your code messy. Obvious commenting does more harm than good. Comment should describe only what the method is doing or why it’s written. It can also describe the purpose of writing the program in a nutshell at the beginning of a class or module.
Adopting a consistent naming convention in your program is always a sensible and thoughtful practice. It’s a set of rules for picking the character flow to be used for identifier, which signify variables, functions & methods. It makes it easier to understand the purpose of using that variable / function / method. If one’s a beginner, it’s a good practice to give meaningful names to your variables, methods, functions etc. instead of vague combinations of alphabets and numbers. Using camelCase and underscores is a widely popular approach. Use of camel case is to be preferred as this does not create confusion between salesforce api names and variable names in case of apex code.
There’s nothing worse than reading a piece of code that is poorly formatted. Indenting makes your code looks neat and clean. It is easy to understand the flow of program, the link between control flow constructs such as loops and codes written inside and outside of them.
Keeping it simple
One should keep their code as simple as possible. Avoid writing complex code for simple logic. Try breaking down your code in multiple methods if the logic is getting too complicated for a single module.
Ideally a method or a function should not have more than 40-50 lines of code, excluding comments.
Modules like servlets, triggers and callouts should not have any logic written in them. All the logical operations should be performed in a helper lass.
It is not advisable to use “hard-coded” values referring to environmental parameters, such as absolute file paths, file name, user name, host name, URLs etc. Else, the application might not run on a host with a different design. An efficient programmer should parametrize such variables and configure them as per the hosting environment outside of the application.
The best way to do it would be to maintain all the required constants in a single file which is easily configurable without making any code changes.
Loops and conditional statements
Beware of using loops and conditional statements in your code! Choose right loops at the right place in order to save code’s execution time.
Too many nested blocks of code can reduce code efficiency and readability drastically.
Omit unwanted code
It’s very common to find a block of code commented inside the program. It’s not going to do any harm to your program but bloats the code unnecessarily, so try not to keep such code. In addition, since this code is not going to be executed or compiled there is no difference between commenting out and deleting that code. Deleting commented codes makes your entire program looks cleaner.
In case of future necessity of the commented blocks, maintain additional backup along with the code repositories.
Do not just copy and paste code
If you have a snippet of, say, seven lines of code that do one thing, and you want to do it again for another module, don’t just copy and paste the code. Instead, make a function and to make it reusable. It’ll keep your code simple.
Code Versioning, popularly known as version control, is the management of the changes made to computer programs, documents and other collection of information.
In computer programming, it refers to the process of tracking & controlling the changes made to the source code.
Version control becomes very important especially when working in a big team as this saves additional time that one might require for code merging and also one can easily backtrack in case of errors.
Code versioning is to be done for every project using available resources like Gitlab, Github, Assembla, etc.
Image credit: Miranda Kumar (at age 8)
For the last 20 years I have been in the business of helping companies get better at developing software products. I started my career believing that the highly structured processes like CMM Level 5 will magically take care of the software projects woes. After two disappointing years, I moved on to Rational Unified Process (aka RUP). After another 6-7 years of disappointments with RUP the natural progression in my thinking and (coincidently) software development process evolution took me down to the path to Agile. My success with Agile processes has made me a believer in the process.
Unfortunately, many of the teams that start their journey towards the Agile land don’t ever reach there. Across the board I have found some common traits in the teams that failed with their Agile transformation effort. In this article I have shared all of them. Feel free to add more from your experience in the comments below.
Recently we completed an engagement to redesign organizational structure for a mid size product company. The goal for this effort was create new structure to give autonomy to departments and subsidiaries while leveraging a set of shared processes and tools and to connect related products and services for the better customer experience. We have put together a visual of the framework for approaching this product rationalization, process modeling and organization redesign effort. The framework connects the company Vision to Customer Needs, Products/Services and Operational People, Processes and Tools.
This framework can be used for organizational restructuring and process redesign for rolling out new tools such as salesforce.com Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and other CRM products.
Following is the Infographic of the framework. Feel free to use it for your organizational and process modeling effort for initiatives like salesforce.com rollout. Ping me if you have any questions or comments.
What is web services?
A web service is a piece of software that makes itself available over the internet and uses a standardized XML messaging system. XML is used to encode all communications to a web service. For example, a client invokes a web service by sending an XML message, then waits for the corresponding XML response.
There are mainly two types of web services.
- SOAP web services.
- RESTful web services.
Components of Web Services
- SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)
- UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration)
- WSDL (Web Services Description Language)
Soap web services: – SOAP is XML based protocol. It is platform and language independent. By using SOAP, you will be able to interact with other applications designed in different programming languages.
In order to create a custom field type, you should be aware of basic plugin development.
Please follow the following steps to create an advanced custom field type in Jira.
- Create a basic Jira plugin skeleton. For creating Jira Plugin please refer to the given linkhttps://developer.atlassian.com/docs/getting-started/set-up-the-atlassian-plugin-sdk-and-build-a-project/create-a-helloworld-plugin-projectAfter creating a Basic plugin skeleton modify your atlassian-plugin.xml and add the following code in your atlassian-plugin.xml.
- After creating a Basic plugin skeleton modify your atlassian-plugin.xml and add the following code in your atlassian-plugin.xml. <customfield-type key=”Jira-Cf-Type-field” name=”Jira-Select CFType” class=”com.atlassian.jira.plugin.customfield.JiraCustomFieldType”><description>Create Your Own Advance Custom Field Type</description> <resource type=”velocity” name=”view” location=”templates/plugins/fields/view/view-basictext.vm”/><resource type=”velocity” name=”edit” location=”templates/edit- jiraselectcftype.vm”/><resource type=”velocity” name=”xml” location=”templates/plugins/fields/xml/xml-basictext.vm”/>
com.atlassian.jira.plugin.customfield.JiraCustomFieldType – class which extends an available CustomField Class to provide an entry point for the custom field.
Programming is a very challenging domain as it requires a lots of patience and concentration. Before learning any programming language, one must have the attitude to not give up till one finds the solution. Programming language is just a way to solve a problem but logical skills and ability to solve the problem are the basic requirements of a good programmer.
Following are 7 essential qualities of a good programmer:
A quick look at the “Lightening Process Builder”.
People in salesforce world uses automated processes a lot. We all know that almost each and every CRM of salesforce has a workflow associated with it. Workflow assists in assigning several actions like sending emails, sending outbound messages, assigning tasks to other users and updating fields based on rule criteria and evolution criteria and sometimes based on specified time as well. But to make the automation process easier, a new process came into the picture – “Lightening Process Builder”. This provides a graphical representation of the process a person builds. In other words, we can call it a type of visual workflow.
Following functions are available in “Lightening Process Builder”:
Nanotechnology, BigData and Artificial Intelligence are a few among the most hyped and fast growing technologies in 2016.
Here is a brief introduction about Artificial Intelligence.
Artificial: Man made.
Intelligence: Ability to understand, learn and think.
Artificial Intelligence refers to the technology involved in building a system that can behave, think, understand and learn like a human being.
So, the first question that pops into our head is – What is A.I.?
According to John McCarthy “AI is concerned with the design of intelligence in an artificial device or artifact.”
Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence exhibited by machines. In computer science, an ideal “intelligent” machine is a flexible rational agent that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.
Some other definition of AI
Artificial Intelligence is usually defined as the science of making computers do things that require intelligence when done by humans.
A.I. is the study of ideas that enable computers to be intelligent.