Recently in Development Category

Labels vs. Folders

Couldn't agree more, Rafe on Labels versus folders, labels win. I have fallen in love with labels and started experimenting with them in Thunderbird, dumbing everything into one folder with lots of labeling. Now if I could just do the same with my home direcory or My Documents. And if MovableType made it easier to label/categorize. Well Thunderbird needs more than 5 label options.

Warez and Shareware Developers

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Nick Bradbury, developer of TopStyle, HomeSite and FeedDemon, did a test to see how many were using warez'd versions of TopStyle or more acurately how many ran TopStyle once. Now the one big mosterously gigantic hole in his logic, how many first runers would have been actual purchasers? I'm sure that small developer software sales are lost, but I'm betting that the amount is actually much smaller than anyone would expect.

The same situation applies to movies and music online. Sure there is rampent downloading. But how many would have been a purchase absent of the downloading option? Again I'm betting much smaller than anyone would expect.

Eventually that situation will change. Sometime around when the current highschoolers are running things. Just like the American Factory Worker, digital content creators are going to lose those nice fat cushy margins. So you have a choice come up with a new buisness model for getting money into the hands of digital creators. Digital rights management and laws that don't mirror the reality of the users wishes just don't cut it.

Sun's 3D Desktop

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Sun's latest 3D Desktop looks potentially intresting. Hope it isn't end like other Sun desktop offerings like say NeWS.

Patent in Software

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Why patents cripple software development. Unless they are ignored.

User Interface Hierarchies Rant

Russell has a good User Interface Hierarchies Rant. I too have to admit think in hierarchies and outlines. But given that I have a 60+ gig mp3 collection wonder if the iPod navigation would work well with so many entries. I expect the iPod navagation to be kinda like what Churchill had to say about Democracy, Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.

Zeroconf Backend

User Interface Guidelines

Don't think iTunes for Windows follows any of the guidelines but it still feels like the most usable app on my Windows box.

Insider's View on Software Patents

Tim Bray's ongoing · Software Patents from the Inside gives a pretty good view, but the conclusion is the best part.
A cynic would say it’s a self-perpetuating system whose costs greatly outweigh its benefits, and that we’re hopelessly stuck in it. But then, I’m a cynic.

Creation to litigation

Cringely rants on state of tech companies and real ethics in the buisness world. He closes with a sad comment,
My readers, who are the best and the brightest, are many of them still debating in their minds whether software can even be patented. Whether it can be patented or not, in the U.S., it IS patented, and expecting that some contrary decision will be shortly made and the planets rearranged in space is just folly. This is the difference between cynicism and realism.
Too true, it is the reality that we have to deal with.

Handheld Webserver

From the depatment of "wooo", handheld webserver pluse lots of other cool tech bits.

Free Books

A bunch of FreeTechBookss.

Howl, think Zeroconf

Howl is a cross-platform implementation of the Zeroconf networking standard. Zeroconf brings a new ease of use to IP networking.
Windows and Linux like Hydra type application.

Thinking About Programing

Bruce Eckel, of Think about Java fame, has a somewhat misnamed The Ideal Programmer covering lots of thoughts about programing and some relations to the outside world. Worth reading in the stiring the thinking process sense.

Zempt Bookmarklet

Zempt This is a bookmarklet to post via Zempt. My only problem is editing the example to pre-populate the category.

Text Editors, howto Write One

Via Simon Willison via Martin Spernau, there is The Craft of Text and Writing a Simple Word Processor (PDF). WordProcessors are a minor fascination of mine, mostly from a general dissatisfaction with what is out there.

Free Books

One Page, Ten Years

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Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years, lots of good ideas in one page.

Test-Driven Development

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Looks like I moved from the Cincinnati area to the Lexington area a week too soon. Found some notes from a XP in Cincinnati workshop on Test-Driven Development. The examples use Ruby but shoudl be useful for any language.

Almost Perfect, the Book

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The book, Almost Perfect, was originally published by Prima Publishing in 1994. It is the story of the rise and fall of WordPerfect Corporation from my point of view.
It is already providing facinating reading. Hearing about the recession of the early 80's and comparing it to the current one is rather theraputic.
Although I did not know it at the time, that $5 an hour part-time job would turn into a great opportunity. Somehow I had arrived at exactly the right place at exactly the right time. ... Like some rare astrological phenomenon when all the planets are perfectly aligned, all the necessary events came together at just the right time, and a new and soon to be successful company was born.
It amazes me how much computers have changed in 20 years and how little the whole buisness aspect of computers and software has changed in 20 years.

Developer Advice from the Trenches

Little Nybbles of Development Wisdom
In this document, I have tried to remember and distill my hard-fought 3-year experience as I evolved into a programmer capable of building a commercial product, . Naturally this is a not complete list of programming advice, but rather what I learned on this project.
Lots of good stuff in there, keep it simple, don't trust anyone else and test to name a few.

Interface for Aggregators

Excelent timing, Radio's XML-RPC Interface for the Aggregator looks like the interface a perfect interface to somethign I have been working on. I'm working on a RSS aggregator where the repository resides on a server, because I'm stuck in dialup hell. A missing part was a neurtal rpc for accessing the repository, which is now solved except for the code to implement it.

Wiki, Bug Tracking, CVS oh my

CVSTrac is bug and patch-set tracking system for use with CVS CVSTrac is designed for low-ceremony development - it provides mechanisms for tracking changes and bugs without unnecessary restrictions.
It also uses the most escelent SQLite. Pretty cool simple open way to get the job done.

Intro to Subversion

Single-User Subversion
In this article, we'll cover the basics of Subversion, how to install it, and how to use Subversion for personal projects.

Sexy Diff

I must be a total loser for finding and thinking this on a friday evening, but look at the sexy diff screenshot in Eclipse.
Local Copy

Subversion Book

There is going to be a Subversion Book published by O'Reily and freely avialable online. In case you don't know Subversion is a source control system by the CVS creators attempting ot replace CVS. [via rafael's Journal]

Cringely, anti MBA

The Case Against Professionalism, How We Have Managed Industry Almost to Death where Cringely goes off on not having founders, the engineers, run the companies they start. He has some good points, about the lack of research funding for short term profits, but misses a few as well.

First off engineer types that also have buisness knowledge would be a killer for running any tech company. But sadly the problem is that few engineers take the time to actually learn anything about buisness. Also the same applies to buisness folks that end up running tech companies, they really need some engineering/technical background.

Secondly the problem of long time research divisions being dropped to improve the bottom line is a problem but what is the causse? As one long time CEO, whose name I can't remember, said, "The problem in the world of public companies is that executive officers are not gready enough. The big time profits for share holders are in the long term plans." Until investors realise this fact they will continue to lose while there executive officers will win through artifical means.

Thirdly one situation that Cringely totaly misses on is that the engineers don't have to ever take VC funding and go public. Like SAS or ESRI they can continue to be the engineer executive of a company that they own and control.

If Programing Languages Could Talk

So you want to develop Shareware?

The Do's and Don'ts of Shareware, Part 1

Necessity can be found by hanging around people who need things. Where do people need things? Everywhere.
If you don't hang around people who need things, you probably won't be exposed to the problems that need solving. So get out there and experience the world. Get involved with your local user groups, teach a class, investigate a science, consult for companies in your neighborhood.

Coder Types

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Code and Personality
How to tell your personality type from your code.
Now if one were to look at the idea seriously, like the literary writing analysis to figure out one's personality and mental makeup.

XSLT AbiWord to HTML

A command line app written in Java which, using the Xalan XML parser and an XSLT stylesheet, allows you to convert native AbiWord, (*.abw), files into HTML pages. Features include being able to convert a single file or batch convert a directory of files and turning http:// web address references into anchor tags under HTML. For more information see the README and CHANGELOG files.
Kinda cool, but as another idea how about a MovableType plug-in that takes a .abw file upload and translates it to embeded (X)HTML?

Cocoon Resource - Your Guide to Apache Cocoon This site is intended to provide tutorials, how-to's, best practise guides and other information not covered by the official Cocoon documentation. It is directed mainly to new Cocoon users, but if you're working with Cocoon for some time you may find some useful information here, too. Looks like a good resource of Cocoon is your thing.

Nice News Aggregation

NewsAggregation over at with code provided for one of your own.

Testable GUI

The User Interface Validator Pattern A design pattern for user interface validations that treats the validation rules as data making it easily configurable and maintainable Intresting idea, need to read further.

CVS & Configuration Management

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CVS Best Practices
This article explores some of the best practices that can be adopted while using CVS as the configuration management tool in your software projects.
And Software Configuration Management for Open Source Projects by the same fellow
This HOWTO discusses the applicability of Software Configuration Management to Open Source Projects. It explores various models of Software Configuration Management for Open Source Projects of various sizes.
Both look to be intresting reads.


Joel is basicly on target, about Platforms. One component that also affects platform use is marketing, if not then OpenSource platforms would always win.
Everybody pays it except the developer -- when you're writing software for Windows, it doesn't cost one extra cent.
Well not one extra cent other than the $1,000+ for the Visual X. The Apple case has defiantely changed, dev tools free for all on the platform unser OS X.

Salon on XP not the OS

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Totally awesome software?
Beck downplays the argument that XP is an all-or-nothing approach. Still, he does note that the project leaders who report the most success with the methodology tend to be the ones who put aside the cultural obsession with rigid specs, an obsession inherited from less flexible fields such as civil and mechanical engineering, and approach XP's design-on-the-fly philosophy wholeheartedly.

6 Mistakes

Six Common Enterprise Programming Mistakes
Instead of giving you tips to use in your programming (at least directly), I want to look at some common mistakes made in enterprise programming. And instead of focusing on what to do, I want to look at what you should not do.
Not just Java specific info. All seems to hold water pretty well.

Joel Picks a Ship Date

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Picking a Ship Date, lots of good advice
So my basic rule for software release cycles is:
  1. Set a ship date, which might as well be arbitrary
  2. Make a list of features and sort them out by priority
  3. Cut low-priority features every time you slip so as to make the date.
This is just a great aside, and I can attest to the validity of the statement.
"How are you building the site now?" I asked.

"Oh, we just do it all manually with BBEdit," they told me. "Sure, there are thousands of pages, but BBEdit has a really good global-find-and-replace function..."

SVG as a GUI

SVGUI is Graphical User Interface framework written for SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) using ECMAScript. This project is currently in the design phase.
One of the uses of SVG I have been looking forward to using as a development tool.

Be vs. NeXT

flangly comments

Be's UI kits are kind of like an attempt to do NeXTSTEP in C instead of Objective-C.

I think in the long run I'd rather be using Objective-C than C .

Ridged Knowledge Management

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SharePoint vs. Radio Community Server

Like most teams inside Microsoft, we have a SharePoint site set up to share information. Everyone in the team can post to the site. There are lists, calendars, and even discussion groups.

However, there's something too rigid and formal about it. I have been trying to get the team to use the SharePoint site rather than email to capture information. So much goes on via email that is just lost.

It has not, so far, been a success.

Something about SharePoint doesn't work for this purpose. Is it the rigid structure? I don't think so. Is it the reliance on Office documents as the primary medium? Maybe. Is it a clunky interface that takes longer to use than writing email? That certainly plays a part.

Which is the key issue around knowledge management. Email is so easy initally but crappy in the long run then the offical Knowledge Management ssytems are just to constraining in the begining.

MMOG Developers Speak

The Future of Massively Multiplayer Games
The whole discussion was great for the non MMOG developers. Lots of meta developoment ideas, intelectual property, complexity, elegance.

Some choice quotes:

Of course, user-created content has a lot of sticky issues. Raph Koster, former Lead Designer for Ultima Online and current Creative Director for Sony Online Entertainment and Star Wars Galaxies, expressed the problem without mincing words: "Our corporations are terrified of this."
Are developers worried that empowering users to create things will just result in massive worlds packed with low-quality (read: crap) content? Of all the people I spoke with, this didn't seem to be a concern.
... message to elitist writers and artists was this: "Get over yourselves! The rest of the world is coming." ... "We can do what Lego did and give them [the players] the blocks," he explained.
Social structures seem to evolve in spite of this system, rather than because of it. Another designer wished that MMOG game design could be more influenced by Will Wright (creator of The Sims) than by Gary Gygax (creator of Dungeons & Dragons).
The root of the issue is that players will do whatever they're rewarded for doing. And it's easy to reward monster-bashing; it's a simple, elegant system that's worked in games for decades. It's much more difficult to reward other kinds of activities without players abusing the system.

"We're building games with too many moving parts!" ... "Hideously complex games that are impossible to balance." Her argument ultimately wasn't that games should be simple, just that they needed to be elegant and easy to understand.
... an intuitive sampling service to get people hooked on the game world. "Like liquid crack," he said.

Intresting Wiki

decaf, Main: WebHome a nice looking twiki with some good wiki content. Check the Blue Sky and Vaporware form development ideas.

Leadership Trait

Sunir of MeatballWiki fame comments on The Rules of Open-Source Programming
The task for the leader of a team project is to work on the team, not the project.

You Can Do It

Extreme Programming For One
A lone software developer is working on several small to medium scale projects. He needs to increase his productivity and resilience. While his management are amicable and approachable, they tend to frown on "over-designing" a system, since it is "liable to change in the future anyway".

Why Lisp? or "The Right Tool For The Job"

A short one on why Lisp is the be all and end all. A bit of trash talk about Perl, C and Java.

Hello World in 359 Languages

Apple UI Guidelines

Introduction to the Aqua Human Interface Guidelines
This document describes what you need to do to design your application for Aqua, the Mac OS X user interface. Primarily intended for Carbon and Cocoa developers who want their applications to look right and behave correctly in Mac OS X, these guidelines provide examples of how to use Aqua interface elements. Java application developers will also find these guidelines useful.

Reviewing Three Java Text Editors:

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So you want to How

So you want to How To Think Like a Computer Scientist?
These texts are short introductions to Computer Science in three programming languages.

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