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Robert's Blog ideas about design and development June 2008 Entries
Code Reuse: Sometimes it Works, Sometimes it Doesn't
A colleague of mine was planning on setting up a calendaring system for their department, and he was wondering if they took the trouble to set it up for their department if all the other departments would want to use it. All the different departments have their own flavor of the month in terms of langauges and frameworks. Some like PHP and Zend. Some like ASP.NET. Some like Python and Django. The list goes on. All of us have seen a department re-invent the wheel and do something another department ......

Posted On Sunday, June 22, 2008 7:14 AM

Estimate Yes, but for a Different Reason
About a year ago, I think I personally wrote off estimation as a dead waterfall practice and a pipe dream (not to mention a waste of time). To me, estimation stunk of something to keep the lawyers at bay. You lost me right there, but now I am back. Estimation is important to keep the customer happy, not the lawyers. My boss kept telling us to estimate stuff, but we kept on shirking his task. We had adequate enought time pressure to allow us to not think about how long the tasks at hand were going ......

Posted On Saturday, June 21, 2008 11:11 AM

The Difference Between Neat and Necessary
Neat is often wasteful, and we don't like wasteful do we? A real world example of this is the McDonald's Drive-Thru order preview screen. If they did any feasibility studies on this, that guy was asleep. How many times have you seen your whole order come up on the screen before you are told to pull up? How many times do you still hear, "I'll have your total at the window." Guess what, by the laws of the universe, that drive through conductor has figured out that you are just another train at the ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 18, 2008 6:57 AM

Why Evolutionary Design is Important
Don't overconstrain the problem Lately I've been thinking about when it doesn't make sense to re-use code. One case that I've come up with is when using old code overconstrains a new app. Let's take for example the new web design trend of subjugating user account creation beneath the importance of actually using the web app (see "Sign Up Forms Must Die"). One of my business analysts would very much like to see this happen on a new application. I can't very well use our old authentication mechanism ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 18, 2008 6:28 AM

When Re-use Doesn't Make Any Sense
  • When the old thing is an un-usable piece of junk.
  • ···
  • When the old thing isn't going to do everything your new customers are expecting and you know it.

Posted On Saturday, June 14, 2008 11:58 AM

Agile is just good Customer Service
Agility Starts With Sales How many of us have had a sales rep sell us something we didn't need as a solution for a problem we needed solved and solved well. Everybody? That's what I thought. Often times, we as consumers get sold things that unnecessarily do more than just meet our basic need. Other times, we get told a product can do something when it can't. We want marketing to be enthusiastic about our software, but there are limits to everything. Better make sure marketing has actually used the ......

Posted On Saturday, June 14, 2008 9:43 AM

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