Gary Allison's Leadership Blog

March 2007

Agile Software and Effective Software Projects25 Mar 2007 03:55 pm

In this business, we are all subject to schedule pressure which is essentially market pressure. This pressure is often real, coming from executive management, the board, or investors. Despite this, there are some necessary steps in the development process that can seem expedient to skip that in many cases, just shouldn’t be skipped:

  • Prototyping the UI and getting feedback and buy in from Marketing and target customers. In the rush to get to market, we can easily skip this one. After all, once the design is done and the developers are implementing, its very expensive to change. Also, when working with new technologies, you don’t always know up front what is possible in the UI.
  • Throw away the prototype. Its tempting to keep the hastily constructed prototype and evolve it into the final product. Especially when considering the need to prototype to explore UI options and technologies, this early deliverable is critical but also a mess under the covers. Learn from it and toss it.
  • Internationalize the code and externalize strings up front. Its tempting to say “we can do that later”. Later is incredibly expensive. In our globalized world, most commercial software must be internationalized – design it in.
    Continue Reading »
Tech News21 Mar 2007 02:35 pm

Its been many years since I have truly been blown away by a new technology, but it happened today. Google’s GWT is a game changing technology. Open sourced by Google, GWT enables UI development in Java then compiling the application to compressed, optimized javascript to generate Web 2.0 native browser applications. The advantages over JavaScript are nothing less than staggering. Use your favorite Java IDE, with full support of the Java productivity advantages (code completion, type checking, class exploration, etc), and then debug it using your powerful Java debugger.

But wait there’s more: GWT includes a browser
Continue Reading »

Tech News21 Mar 2007 04:07 am

Tomorrow is the last day of the AJAX World conference here in NYC. Aside from running into my old friend Fuaat, it has been a remarkable few days. It is very exciting to see the rapid progress of the client-side browser toolkits in the form of the AJAX frameworks coming to fruition. Ironic though at the same time that these technologies seem like throw backs to the earliest days of developing on Windows – little documentation, no IDE, and very basic debugging. In short, there’s no doubt where its headed, but the developers will be tearing their hair out to get there.

 Its exciting to see the promise of AJAX on mobile devices and how these applications hold the promise of being able to have common code across platforms and devices. Clearly, applications must be developed for an audience – and mobile audiences often want something different. Still, I can’t help but to think, even my very capable WM5 device with IE lacks an appreciable support for Javascript. There seems to be no real relief in the near term to give us ubiquitous mobile development. J2ME still comes the closest today. I’ve been spending considerable time thinking about the mobile space lately. It seems clear that the number of devices coupled with the evolution of data services and lack of the “killer app” provides a greenfield of opportunity.