Software Development

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jethro's picture


Today (yesterday now) I wrote a real nice application for a client. It did exactly what they asked it do, though not what they wanted!. Its funny – no matter how much you coach the client through the specifications, and get them to agree to it in writing they always manage to come out afterwards and say “what I really wanted was…”

I found this cool cartoon that summarises how we don’t actually work, but how it feels sometimes.

You lot start coding...
...I'll go and see what they want.

Courtesy of

jethro's picture

Joel Spolsky launches StackOverflow

Joel Spolsky, one of the worlds leading authorities on software development, has launched a new questions and answer website called StackOverflow.

Here is his rationale behind the decision to do so.

stackoverflow-logo-250 You know what drives me crazy? Programmer Q&A websites. You know what I’m talking about. You type a very specific programming question into Google and you get back:

  • A bunch of links to discussion forums where very unknowledgeable people are struggling with the same problem and getting nowhere,
  • A link to a Q&A site that purports to have the answer, but when you get there, the answer is all encrypted, and you’re being asked to sign up for a paid subscription plan,
  • An old Usenet post with the exact right answer—for Windows 3.1—but it just doesn’t work anymore,
  • And something in Japanese.

If you’re very lucky, on the fourth page of the search results, if you have the patience, you find a seven-page discussion with hundreds of replies, of which 25% are spam advertisements posted by bots trying to get googlejuice for timeshares in St. Maarten, yet some of the replies are actually useful, and someone whose name is “Anon Y. Moose” has posted a decent answer, grammatically incorrect though it may be, and which contains a devastating security bug, but this little gem is buried amongst a lot of dreck.

jethro's picture


Sometimes work gets in the way of life – or do I mean it the other way around?

Today I got so distracted i was unable to focus so I did a Doug and went to bed for 2 hours this afternoon.

CBR002591_LoRes Right now I am writing code on deadlines for a client and i have had to put my headphones on to reduce the distractions – and asked family members not to interrupt me.

Joel Spolsky has written my reason for me – please understand family!

Here's the trouble. We all know that knowledge workers work best by getting into "flow", also known as being "in the zone", where they are fully concentrated on their work and fully tuned out of their environment. They lose track of time and produce great stuff through absolute concentration. This is when they get all of their productive work done. Writers, programmers, scientists, and even basketball players will tell you about being in the zone.

jethro's picture

Getting Things Done GTD

Steve Richards wrote a good post about getting projects completed, taking the Getting Things Done concept a little deeper.

I think I shall do this for the current software development project I am stalled on! I need to finish it!