programming

Good to Read Again: Hallmarks of a Great Developer

From MSDN Blogs, back in 2004, but applicable today in every way: Hallmarks of a Great Developer.

  • Plans before coding
  • Always knows why
  • Writes situation-appropriate code
  • Deviates where and when necessary
  • Knows when not to change code
  • Approaches debugging scientifically
  • Walks through their code
  • Knows the language and platform intimately
  • Groks the tools
  • Improves the tools
  • Knows when to ask for help
  • Always has a side project going
  • Doesn't make assumptions
  • Documents
  • Follows coding standards
  • Uses version control
  • Makes lots of small checkins
  • Tests their own code
  • Has passion for their customer
  • Has great judgement
  • Has no ego (ha!)
  • Makes time for training

Couldn't agree more! Read the whole article for great nuggets of wisdom »

Quote demonstrating bad software design

From a paper I read recently: 

Based on the observation that users did not use a number of support functions, such as the medical notes and the consultation review interface, future trials will include a short tutorial.

The authors are talking about a virtual patient system, but this probably applies to many applications. If users didn't use certain functions, in my book there can be two reasons:

  1. The features are not well designed, and users don't know how to access them or,
  2. They don't actually need the features.

Either way, the right solution is probably not to bombard users with tutorials, but rather to do some proper user tests and redesign or eliminate useless features (or even better, not bother to build them at all. Duh. Life is too short for useless code).

I'd say that's how bad software is built. What's your opinion?

A Call to Software Developers

There have been a few people asking over the past few months about making an iPhone or Palm OS app, and getting it onto the App Store. I personally have only rudimentary programming knowledge, and not enough to make a quality app that would effectively fulfill the needs of the organizations/people who have asked about an app.

Are there any OSC readers out there who might be interested in some paid work? Writing apps might be a lucrative way to help out the Church, you know...

The kind of apps would be relatively simple; probably able to pull in a couple RSS feeds, submit a comment to a site or something, and play podcasts. I know there are some companies that make apps after you give them a spec sheet, but it'd be much better (imho) for a Catholic in need of some work to help a Catholic group (and vice-versa!).

[Edit: Here's a good resource for those wanting to develop an iPhone App: How to Create Your First iPhone Application]

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