Neon Rocket

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web development


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.”

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 →

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 →

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 →

Find Something You Like and Dissect It

I’m always on the lookout for a new technique or Better Mousetrap. I admit I don’t know all that much, so I’m happy to learn. I was playing around with Wikify @ appointment.net (a nifty tool that goes through a block of text and ‘wikifies’ it–that is, links all the words it can find to relavant Wikipedia articles) when I noticed …Continue reading →

The Importance of Not “Designing” your own Security

Recently, at a client, I had the opportunity to review their security implementation on their website. I realized that it is very important to never try to design one’s own security, because of the Dunning Kruger effect. In a nutshell, folks who don’t know very much about security think they know “enough,” and folks who are very knowledgable (e.g., Bruce …Continue reading →

Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer

I’ve always hated the term “Programmer.” Like a craftsman, I’m a Developer. Patrick McKenzie has a great writeup on this: Engineers are hired to create business value, not to program things: Businesses do things for irrational and political reasons all the time (see below), but in the main they converge on doing things which increase revenue or reduce costs. … …Continue reading →

App Development in the Real World

When developing applications for mobile phones, it is easy to get tricked into thinking the emulator will accurately represent how a user will interact with the application. This is dangerous for a few reasons. I ran into one reason today: real devices move around. They rotate, yaw, pitch and jiggle. The emulator does not. Sure, you can rotate it and …Continue reading →