Publication Date: 9/15/2009 11:21:37 AM
I recently attended my nephew’s 5th birthday party. Observing him I realized that he and his guests could teach programmers a thing or two about software design:
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes
My nephew spends quite a bit of time playing with imaginary friends. And to him, they all have distinct personalities. (For example, one of his imaginary friends is a dead composer. Another is a penguin.)
Programmers often think too much like themselves when designing software. To design really great software, you need to be able to use your imagination, and put yourself in another person’s shoes.
Publication Date: 7/1/2009 12:35:34 PM
A lot of the work I do involves looking for clues. Last week I upgraded a web app to allow users to upload photos of their properties. As my customer started testing, one user reported that they couldn’t access the photo upload page – an error was always generated. They tried with different accounts but the result was always the same. We assumed that there was something funky with their user accounts, and in fact they did discover some duplicate records that we suspected were the cause.
We were wrong.
As it turns out, the problem was much more mundane. ...
Publication Date: 5/29/2009 8:50:50 AM
One of my guilty pleasures is old TV programs. One series that was particularly entertaining was the show Get Smart, which if nothing else has an awesome name. (A great commandment: Get Smart! Immediately, already! What’s taking you so long?)
On the program they would occasionally employ a tool called The Cone of Silence, which was supposed to permit its users to speak about secrets in a way that prevented others from hearing them. It never worked properly, making it impossible for the users to understand each other, but everyone else could hear them fine. This was of ...
Publication Date: 5/27/2009 5:52:59 AM
I hate bugs in my code and want to squash them. RIGHT NOW.
When you report that you have found a bug, that means you’ve been testing.
And it means that you have tested the code sufficiently to discover something I didn’t find. So you probably did more than just log-in.
And that makes me happy. I love it when you care enough about the application to give it a good work out. I want this software to be good, and it can only be good if you help. Without your efforts, the software will suck. Big time. ...
Publication Date: 5/26/2009 6:07:53 AM
I have a theory that the reason why normal people are so put off by programmers is that they use goofy, complex language that is meaningless to most people. For example, take the phrase “Source Code Management” or “Source Code Control”.
What the heck is that?
It is software that programmers use to capture copies of the source code as it is changed. Think of it as a camera taking pictures of the code at various moments in time. These snapshots are stored in a central location for all the team.
What do they use it for?
A couple of ...
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