TG Daily reports that Mozilla have found that 50,000 people fail to install Firefox every day. On one hand, I find this surprising, but on another, not so much.
Jeff Atwood makes some good points regarding paying down your technical debt. I certainly agree with many of his sentiments.
The problem is, refactoring takes time. The best option is a little now, a little later. Putting it off for long periods, will eventually come back to bite you.
I’m in the process of being bitten…
That sparked a thought. If lives are going to be on the line as we increasingly produce robotic weapons, then surely there must be some set of standards for software validation which should apply.
For example, a while back I met an engineer who worked for a company who produce medical ventilators, and he told me the lengths of software testing and validation they had to go through. Their devices could never be brought to market without FDA approval, so it was in their interest to prove that the device operated correctly, and failed safely. I’m sure the same standards apply for other medical devices.
Perhaps it’s time we applied the same rigour, if we’re not already, to robotic weapon development. After all, lives are at stake on the correct, or incorrect operation of both types of devices.
Alternatively, we could try to stop killing each other. But that’s an argument for another day.
ZDNet’s Dion Hinchcliffe asserts that mashups represent “The Next Major Software Development Model”. I’m not sure I agree that they represent a software development model.
While I agree that they are popular, I think they fall into two categories. I guess I’ll call them ‘data aggregation’ and ‘data representation’.
The ‘data aggregation’ category represents those mashups made by users who, rather than visit ten news sites to see the headlines, aggregate the feeds from those sites into one page.
The second sort of mashup is more interesting. For example a manager may request a report of yearly sales, getting the result in a spreadsheet. While this represents the data requested, it’s in a rather dry and unengaging format. What if the sales results could be overlaid on a map, so that zooming into the map showed the sales results by country, region, city, store, etc. Suddenly you have a mashup which adds interaction and value to the data you’re representing.
If we can learn anything from mashups is that the current state of software user interfaces isn’t meeting the needs of users. The best user interfaces are those which represent data in a meaningful and increasingly interactive way to the user. Perhaps soon we’ll see the death of the grid control for tables, the list box and the combo, in favour of these more interesting interfaces.
So with regard to the new software development model, I don’t thing mashups are going to replace good software engineering, though they may force software developers to think outside the dialog.