Neon Rocket

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How to screw up estimates

“I need a time and cost estimate to develop a fizzbuzz mobile app on all minor mobile platforms (Windows/Blackberry/Symbian), and I need that estimate in 15 minutes.”

Requirements Gathering: set up to fail

Without project requirements gathering, a project is nothing. One failure point is letting the wrong people gather the requirements. There are basically two types of requirements for an application project: the functional/feature-set and the technical. Pitfall: There must be at least one cycle of comparing Functional to Technical requirements to ensure they sync up, followed by adjustments to both (as necessary). …Continue reading →

The law of Futility of Avoidance

Given enough time, you will end up becoming responsible for supporting and maintaining the very system you’re the most desperate to avoid.

Installing Internet Explorer on Mac

When you need to develop/design a solution for the majority of corporate users, you will need to test it on Internet Explorer. If you have a Mac, setting this up on your machine is easy. The original source for this information was OSXDaily. I cleaned it up and added additional information. Intended Audience If you’re unfamiliar with using the terminal, these instructions …Continue reading →

Don’t hate your users

If you want to enable your users to do something, such as create an account on your system, DO NOT MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLY HARD. Case in point: If algebra is too hard, just refresh and you’ll see something else. Woah, better refresh. You know what this does? It not only keeps out any bots, but turns a normal human into something …Continue reading →

How to ask for help the wrong way

When submitting  bug reports, it is a good idea to Realize that you’re asking for help from people who (usually) have day jobs, and Expend at least some amount of effort to show you’re not expecting someone else to do all the work. With that in mind, let me introduce to you the Best Bug Report Comment, Ever† First the bug …Continue reading →

Decoupling presentation from content

I recently ran across the anti-pattern of what I see as a common problem amongst designers and developers: coupled presentation and content. I’ve found that decoupling the presentation from the content makes things much easier to write, maintain and expand. Here’s a simple example: HTML <section> <div class=”margin-top-10″>Lorem Ipsum</div> </section> CSS .margin-top-10 { margin-top: 10px }; .margin-top-20 { margin-top: 20px }; (etc) …Continue reading →

Iterations in Less

Part of the beauty of Less and other CSS ‘compilers’ is to enable the author to automate tedious functions that normally must be coded by hand. Suppose you needed several classes that specified padding/margins: .mRight50{margin-right:50px} .mLeft50{margin-left:50px} .pRight50{padding-right:50px} .pLeft50{padding-left:50px} .mRight25{margin-right:25px} .mLeft25{margin-left:25px} .pRight25{padding-right:25px} .pLeft25{padding-left:25px} No big deal, right? It wouldn’t take that long to type in; just cut and paste a bit. …Continue reading →

Flashback: Skip Intro for flash introductions

Remember when flash introduction pages were all the rage? They were ‘cool’ from the web designer‘s standpoint, but utterly annoying and off-putting to the visitor. Fortunately, most people figured out that people visited their site for the content, not the snappy graphics (unless it was a gallery site), and certainly not for the mandatory intro pages. Yet, some people still …Continue reading →

Regular Expressions Roundup

Writing some Regular Expressions? Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use regular expressions.” Now they have two problems. —Jamie Zawinski Well, not really. There are some cases where using a Regular Expression—RegEx— instead of a heap of convoluted if statements just makes sense from both a lazy and practical standpoint. When you’re knee-deep in writing your …Continue reading →