Thursday, May 26, 2011

So many great software links to read lately...

Some interesting links from lately:

  • A book review of WROX's Professional Mobile Web Development with Wordpress, Joomla!, and Drupal by James Pearce. "Chapter 5, "The Mobile Toolbox," will probably be of more interest to web developers than the earlier chapters, because it surveys the mobile development techniques, server-side technologies, and development tools that are most often used for creating mobile-ready websites. For nondevelopers, the section that describes the key components of a CMS, can be valuable as an introduction to CMSs." And from Amazon: "I really wish Pearce had written 4 books. One on mobile web development and design in general, and one each for Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla. If you are new to Drupal, give this book a pass for right now. But if you want an introduction to design and development for the mobile web along with a bit of guidance to get you started with mobile Drupal, this may be a good place to start."
  • 15 Criteria for Evaluating Software - I don't think this is a definitive list, but I like that they ask if you can promote it cost effectively.
  • The Line interviews Dan Grigsby, who I saw speak at MHTA Spring Conference.  His live discussion with a Microsoft evangelist got down into the nitty gritty of MVC, Mono, and specific language preferences, and half the audience seemed to wander off, but for a techy at a conference with more of a managerial feel, it was Nirvana.  "Say you're a technologist and you have a kind of entrepreneurial bent to you. You go from having a job to setting up a consultancy that works with several firms. You do essentially the same kind of thing you would do with a job--write code--but you're your own boss. You pick a technology that's emerging, like mobile, so you get a higher rate. That higher rate gives you a surplus of income, so now you have extra time, and if you organize things right you also get the intellectual property rights to what you develop--and soon you go from having this income-replacement business to having what I call a cash-cow business. You build up a portfolio of intellectual property in an emerging space like mobile and ultimately this leads you to product."
  • The Myth of the Flat Fee, by 80Beans - "We then try to explain that we can't give an estimate, let alone a price, based on the supplied information. We'll invite you to first work with us so we know exactly what you want to achieve. Talk to us, join us in making wireframes/click demo's and writing user stories. You'll be surprised at the advancing insight you will develop while going through this process. There will be things you didn't think about, while some other essential features seem to be redundant. We can use the outcome of this process to base an estimate on, and it can be used by you to obtain more accurate proposals from others....Every project consists of three attributes, also known as the "project triangle" or "triple constraint". There's scope: the features your app has. There's time: how long will it take to build your app. Finally there's cost...During the initial phase of the project — when it becomes clear what you really want — they will say that's not how they interpreted the scope for some feature. Now you're faced with a few options. You can alter the scope so the cost remains exactly the same: the feature will be dropped, it will not be developed the way you wanted or you need to slim down the scope later on. Or you can decide to pay more to get what you wanted in the first place. There the flat fee goes out of the window. A few weeks later the same situation occurs. First there's a conflict, then there's choosing between building something you don't really want, or paying more."
  • How to write a game in GWT - not pretty, but an interesting exercise.
  • I should make Eryn do an exercise where she doubles pennies on a sheet of paper.  Not because it's a learning experience, but because I think it would be funny to have her count one hundred million+ pennies.  I wish I had a million dollars to bring home the lesson in style.  Maybe if I win the last Powerball of the month for the corporate powerball pool.
  • BigDubb pointed me at The Curve of Talent - "The more that you manage people in your career, the more you’ll find that it is very hard to find people who can execute well on what they are asked to do... It was a very candid moment of talent assessment in which the bar of performance wasn’t innovation, but simply competently executing the expected job."  That describes my whole career arc from contractor to manager.  I am competent.  If I don't feel I'm competent, I make myself competent, no matter what it takes in terms of personal time.  If there's something that needs to happen, I try to make it happen, and in an informed manner.  Everything else is extra.  I very much like the reference in the article to The Peter Principle, which The Hairy Swede and I recently used for a Snrky.
  • Getting Real by 37 Signals - if for nothing else, the chapter on uninterrupted alone time (f - I almost typed interrupted) sums up 99% of what's wrong with software development in a large corporation.
  • Don't Plug Your Leaks When You Got No [Fucking] Boat - points you back at Getting Real by 37 Signals and 15 Criteria - don't build shit that fulfills what you think is important but doesn't fulfill a sizable customer need.  This applies to software products and software developer stickfigure cartoons.

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