Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sad Day for Polite Software like IDEA

IDE Showdown - Evangelists duke it out at Cologne JUG

My hats off for organizing this meeting. However, based on the conclusion that the article has drawn, I mark this as a sad day for the polite software like IDEA. Apparently we still live in a society where the quantity of the work, i.e. feature list and 'advanced features', rather than the quality of the work, i.e. how you implement the same feature in polite way, matters.

And I am also annoyed every time someone says "Eclipse is more than just a Java IDE", or "Eclipse is more than just an IDE", as if it is a good reason for it to be poorly designed and most annoying to use. You know, that is not even a good excuse.

I can rant on for days. But I have been ranting for so long since Borland decided to stop the development of JBuilder purely out of fear for Eclipse (hence my reason to quit) several years ago, that I am just tired. All that I feel up to do right now, is to quote Alan Cooper in his great book “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum”:
It is abundantly clear to most of us that common folk don't know the difference between a token ring and a mood ring. We need these creator of "faster, stronger, better" innovations to be sure that the creations actually improve our work and lives -- not simply drive us crazy. We need the technology to work in the same way average people think. We need a revolution to restore our sanity.

Update: I also think that IDEA is wrong by trying to fight on the open source battle ground. Of course you are going to lose! What is so wrong by saying

Our business model is to produce a killer softerware full time and get paid well enough for it to be sustainable. Because of our business model, we have the purest agenda and vision for our IDE, i.e., make Java developers do their own job in the most efficient way. If any other FREE IDE can beat us in this market, we will cease to exist. But so far, it looks like we are the best. And we ARE supporting open source in our own way, by giving out open source licenses.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Squeak - My New Language of the Year

When someone took the time and write a tutorial like this, the least that I should do is to read it through and learn it to show my respect.

I am not totally sold on the ""Learn at least one new language every year" (p. 14 on Pragmatic Programmer book). Not that I don't think it is a great idea. I just think for one it would be very hard to do since it normally takes one (me at least) several years to learn to fully appreciate the language. Another reason is that I think it is more important to contribute back to the society of what you have learned than keep learning for learning's sake. I know I have not contribute enough as it is, given the pressure to put food on the table, making my way to afford a house in bay area, take time to enjoy life, and such.

But when all you need to do is to download the Virtual Machine and Image, and read the tutorial, and you are up every night feeding the baby anyway, why not.

Update: As it just turned out, this post showed up in case you wonder what are the choices are out there if you want to learn smalltalk.

Second Update: Free (and Legal) online Smalltalk books

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Yak shaving

I have found this Yak Shaving to be true in many occasions, especially when starting the BuildMaster project.

I think that is why Agile development works. You use one iteration to focus on one level of the work to build a "Walking Skeleton" as described in "Crystal Clear". At the same time, you keep updating the story backlog about all the work that you discovered on the way so that you don't lose anything and can prepare for future iterations at the same time.

Reference: Really Bad Powerpoint

Julian sent me this link, "Really Bad Powerpoint", as a guideline as we are developing our presentation for the Agile 2007.

I do find the content convincing, especially about preparing full notes but not handing them out, and use less words on the slides.

I don't think I agree with the idea of no transition, though. I have had good experience using them, and I have seen others using them with good effect.