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  • Don’t forget the docs!

    Everyone hates documentation. It is either boring or it doesn’t answer provide the needed answers. Many programmers agree that documentation is critical when they are taking over a project for someone else, and think it is completely unimportant when they need to create it themselves.

    So as a customer: what documentation should you expect or require from your programmer?

    Every situation is different, but here are some documents you may want to consider requesting:

    System Design

    This is the specification that was (usually) created before the programming began. It can include functional specifications, wireframes, screen mockups, user stores, UML diagrams, ...

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  • My software doesn’t contain missile launch codes, why does it need security?

    “I just want my users to log into my application before using it. Is it really that hard?” my customer asked, frustrated.

    Short answer: Yes.

    Long answer: It depends.

    Look I sympathize. If you think I enjoy all this security stuff, you would be really wrong. Security related issues are NO FUN. No one likes security. Users hate it, so if people have security-related trouble, they think the application is horrible and the programmer is an idiot.

    The reason why everyone is frustrated is obvious. Software security is intended to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the application. But users want ...

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  • Why your programmer needs to be like MacGyver

    200px-MacGyver_intro Okay, I confess. I never really watched MacGyver. But the idea of someone who can solve most any problem by quickly inventing a solution out of duct tape and dental floss (or whatever is laying around nearby) is pretty cool.

    To me this seems a lot like how the best programmers work. While most programmers aren’t solving the life-and-death problems that MacGyver faced, they often have to solve them remotely, and with little or misleading information.

    So what MacGyver-like characteristics should you be looking for in the next programmer you hire?


    I think the thing most important MacGyver ...

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  • 3 Reasons Why Improved Data Validation Will Save You Money

    Occasionally a customer will tell me that they don’t want to validate the data being entered into a form or page. Sometimes they think there aren’t any rules for the data. And sometimes they are concerned about the additional cost. Here are some reasons why improving the quality of the data will actually save you money:

    Future assumptions

    It is easy to think now that there are no rules about the data you are capturing. But months or years later, you may start making logical assumptions about that information that aren’t really true. For example, you may assume that every ...

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  • Talking to aliens, or how to communicate with a programmer


    Do you find it hard to talk to programmers (or techies in general)? I once knew a programmer who would get a dazed look whenever someone brought him a problem. We called it that “deer in the headlights” face, and it was disconcerting. It turns out that he wasn’t bored or terrified, he was thinking. And because he was thinking, he wasn’t speaking. Once we understood what was really going on, it made it a lot easier to communicate with him.

    Here are three tips for better communication with that alien life form, the software developer.

    Focus on goals and ...

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What the critics are saying...

Avonelle has been a pleasure to work with.  Working with someone that you know will always deliver is tremendous.

Mark McNamee @ Renewal by Andersen