» Archive for the 'opinion' Category

Does everyone need to learn how to write code?

Friday, January 9th, 2009 by Max

I have been debating this with myself for quite some time now. On one hand, it seems that writing code, or at least understanding enough about code to edit it, is quickly becoming a skill most people will find helpful to have.  Something like knowing how to put together IKEA furniture, not completely necessary to do, but helpful if you know how. On the other hand, however, developers are doing a good job creating tools that abstract the code via some visualization. At the end of the day, these tools still produce code, but the user never has to see it.

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The Problems with Reuse and Abstractions

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 by Max

When talking about software reuse and abstractions it is tempting to bring up one of two analogies. The first treats reusable components as tools, while the second thinks of them as larger, more purposeful Lego blocks. Neither is really correct. In both cases we get an impression that reuse in unequivocally a good thing. The more components or tools we use, the better is our final product. Unfortunately that is not exactly the case. In this post I want to talk about abstractions and reuse, why we like them, and what we have to watch out for.

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Software Engineering vs. Engineering

Friday, September 26th, 2008 by Max

Watt's steam engine in the vestibule of the Es...

This is something I’ve been meaning to write about a quite some time now.  It is one of the things that most irritates me about how Software Engineering (SE) is presented to people unfamiliar with the concepts.  It tends to be compared to other forms of engineering, especially architecture.  I have to admit that when first being taught SE, I fully bought into that whole analogy. But, when one moves beyond the basic concepts, it falls apart.  There are many problems with this comparison as well as many pitfalls one may fall into when making it.

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ASE Last Day and Overall Impressions

Monday, September 22nd, 2008 by Max

The third day was the least eventful.  There was a single session and a keynote.  Unfortunately we had to leave before the keynote so I only attended the session.  There was one great presentation and two that seemed like they were getting at something, but didn’t make much sense at the time.  Will read the papers and hopefully understand them better.

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Automated Software Engineering Day 2

Saturday, September 20th, 2008 by Max

Well, day 2 is done and I have to say it was a bit of a disappointment when compared to the first day.  Unfortunately I believe that was in part due to my choice of sessions.  The best paper was in the session I did not attend and upon talking with the authors it sounds rather interesting.  There was one shining beacon, the day’s keynote.  The component session was not bad, but not great, while the experience reports were pretty much a disaster and did not really provide anything interesting.  Ohh well I guess, lets jump in and go over the highlights.

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Automated Software Engineering Day 1

Friday, September 19th, 2008 by Max

The first day of the Automated Software Engineering (ASE) conference has passed.  I wanted to highlight a few things that I saw and thought were interesting.   Sorry for posting my impressions a bit late, but I guess it’s better late than never.  I’ll write a separate post for days two and three.

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Following TechCrunch50

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 by Max

TechCrunch50 is streaming all of the presentations this week.  I was able to catch most of them yesterday.  If you are not watching them, you really should, they are not only informational, but good examples of how to and not to present. Check them out here. I have found them very educational so far and got to see some really cool products. I wanted to share a few of my favorites from yesterday (this is in the order of appearance).

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Undo/Redo & a Response to Robert Scoble

Monday, September 8th, 2008 by Max

I had an update ready a few days ago.  Originally this was going to add undo/redo functionality.  I know I said layouts were going to be next, but then my wife played with Graphsy for a bit and pointed out that there was no undo and yet there was an auto-save.  That made it difficult and punishing to try out different things.  So I put together the undo feature, which was surprisingly not that difficult.   That was a few days ago.

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Just how useful is design documentation?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008 by Max

When one begins to learn software engineering, they are usually encouraged to do some form of design before jumping right into the code. I remember some of my first computer science (CS) classes. We had to submit a design document in addition to the source code for any particular project. I remember hating it, but attributing that displeasure more to the fact that the projects were so small and insignificant that they did not really need a design document. After studying software engineering and talking to many different practicing software engineers I realize that design is over rated. I don’t want to say that there is no need for design document, but that maybe too much emphasis is placed on them.

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Is Microsoft now the “underdog”?

Saturday, August 16th, 2008 by Max

Am I the only one who is starting to feel bad for Microsoft?  I remember when Microsoft was this big evil empire and anything was better simply because it wasn’t them.  Now they seem more like a little child trying desperately not to get beaten up by the older kids.  They seem like an underdog in the industry they pushed forward.  I haven’t used Windows in about 3 years and it seems like I’ve become a Vista apologist.  How did they get this way?

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