Tag Archives: software development

Beware techies talking gobbledegook

When the computing expert presented his plans, everyone on the board waved them through – except for Dennis, who declared that he would not approve the plans since he had “not understood a word the computer expert had said … [The project] was delivered using the baffling gobbledegook that many computer geeks use,” he explains.

more on ft.com.

Are the “geeks” talking “gobbledegook” or maybe it’s time for the people making decisions about technology to develop some understanding of what they’re dealing with? Probably both, as the assumed lack of knowledge among ”regular people” gives engineers easy excuse to use jargon, even if it’s not necessary.

Bazaar-NG: 7 years of hacking on a distributed version control system

Because of the Transport abstraction in Bazaar the same code could be used against local repositories and remote repositories. It is a great feat to be able to run bzr log against a remote repository without having to do a full clone. There was some price we had to pay for supporting dumb transports this way. Operations to access the repository couldn’t involve a lot of seeks or reading large amounts of data as it would impact the performance over HTTP.

The story of development of Bazaar, distributed version control system. Few lessons about the cost of supporting flexible architecture and quality-oriented, but daunting system for code contributions.

What is your job?

The next thing that usually happens is that they ask you questions about the actions you proposed. They may ask how long it would take, what alternatives exists, what the benefit is compared to not doing it, how urgent it is, by how much it would delay other things–good questions that ideally you would have asked yourself in advance and come to the conclusion that it needs to be done and that it’s worth spending the time doing it.

If you’ve done that, there is no point in waiting for permission. The only thing you need to do is set expectations. If it affects them at all, tell them what’s needed and why and how long you expect it to take. If it doesn’t really affect anyone, don’t even bother telling them. It is nobody’s job to micro-manage you, so don’t let your actions imply it was.

When to not ask for permission when doing something.

There is No Right Way to Develop Software

There is no “right” way to develop software. I repeat: THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO DEVELOP SOFTWARE. Some people in our industry like to cargo cult and don’t want to believe this. They believe that the sweet new hotness they learned a couple of hours ago is the only way to make things work and build reliable pieces of engineering.

more on dlo.me.

Software development is surprisingly full of cargo cults, despite proudly calling itself “engineering”. For instance, who can prove with numbers and studies that unit tests are efficient enough method to deliver quality software? We believe they do, but it’s really not different from a well-intended faith. That lack of quantitative research yields postmodernist sentiments like the one expressed in the article.

Why I Develop For The Mac

If I had enough money to afford dedicated operations people, I might be more inclined to run a complicated web service. But as an independent developer, being able to sleep at night without the fear of being paged is quite a luxury. One thing that most “lifestyle developers” don’t tell you is that the lifestyle often includes being chained to a web server.

Indie software developer’s thoughts on developing native Mac applications vs developing for the web. Your mileage may vary, but he has some good points.

How I Fired Myself.

One of the peculiarities of my development environment was that I ran all my code against the production database.

The quiet way this story is told brings sympathy for the author. The story itself describes quite possibly the most ridiculously stupid situation in software development that I have heard of.

Graphing Calculator Story

I asked my friend Greg Robbins to help me. His contract in another division at Apple had just ended, so he told his manager that he would start reporting to me. She didn’t ask who I was and let him keep his office and badge. In turn, I told people that I was reporting to him. Since that left no managers in the loop, we had no meetings and could be extremely productive.
more on pacifict.com

An amazing story that says a lot about Apple’s culture, at least in the 1990’s. I’m sure it would not be possible to repeat now – they must have better security now.

(via helen)