Business-focused custom software

  • The life and times of a software detective

    magnifying_glass_resizedA 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. ...

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  • Avoiding the cone of silence

    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 ...

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  • Why I love that you found a bug (really!)

    bug_resized I hate bugs in my code and want to squash them. RIGHT NOW.

    But…

    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. ...

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  • Source Code Control: Snapshots of the Code (and why business people should care)

    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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  • Why the scope creep monster doesn’t frighten me

    Most independent programmers have a fear of scope creep. Actually that’s not completely true. Most have a fear of scope creep they won’t be paid for. For those who are doing a fixed bid project, the fear is that expanding scope will eat away at any profit until they are making about $1.30/hour. Yikes.

    To compensate, some programmers get very aggressive about delineating project scope. They become militant when even a small feature change is suggested. And I have a lot of sympathy for that position.

    But I don’t share it.

    Look, everyone I know who has been in ...

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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