the forty-second parallel

Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

The Questioners

Peter-Paul Kock:

[T]he IE6 era forced us to think about what we web developers really wanted. We had to define and defend every single feature we requested … and set priorities.

Two links hardly prove a thing, and there are plenty of people who disagree. But there’s been a recent trend questioning the web we’ve created (c.f. The Verge’s Web Sucks) and I tend to side with the questioners.

Posted on July 28th, 2015 | Software, Technology

Software Treadmill

Maciej Cegłowski:

Rather than offer users persuasive reasons to upgrade software, vendors insist we look on upgrading as our moral duty. The idea that something might work fine the way it is has no place in tech culture.

From his talk, “Web Design: The First 100 Years” – an insightful take on how the tyranny of the new has shaped web and tech culture.

Posted on July 21st, 2015 | Software, Technology

Saying No to Sales

Zach Holman:

But everything you add to your product dilutes everything else. It becomes harder to use. It becomes more expensive to support. And chasing individual features and one-off fixes can unfortunately shield you from coming up with even simpler approaches that solve this problem and seven others at the same time.

That’s not to say you should ignore customer feedback, or ignore your sales channel, or anything of the sort. It just means you deeply consider every little product change you make. It means you only make these changes if it aligns with your goal and will make your users happier in the long-term. It means you’re proactive rather than reactive.

Posted on May 23rd, 2015 | Software

Data Dominates

Rule #5:

Data dominates. If you’ve chosen the right data structures and organized things well, the algorithms will almost always be self-evident. Data structures, not algorithms, are central to programming.

From Rob Pike’s 5 Rules of Programming.

Posted on April 20th, 2015 | Software

Ideas to Artifacts

From Eugene Ferguson’s Engineering and the Mind’s Eye:

The conversion of an idea to an artifact, which engages both the designer and the maker, is a complex and subtle process that will always be far closer to art than to science.

Quoted by Glenn Vanderburg in his great talk on why software development is an engineering discipline.

Posted on March 24th, 2015 | Software, Work