Wednesday 30 April 2008

Taxonomy of Software Bugs

This software bug taxonomy is great! Heisenbugs, Bohr Bugs, and the dreaded Schroedinbugs....

Tuesday 29 April 2008

Ted Nedward takes on the Tower of Babel

Here's another (as usual) fascinating, detailed, doesn't-this-guy-work-for-a-living post from Ted Nedward. This one starts as a meta-critique of Groovy VS Ruby and morphs into an interesting summary of what the Tower Of Babel IT department is using this year.

Money quote:

I wish I could get back to [C++]for a project in the same way that guys fantasize about running into an old high school girlfriend on a business trip.

Personally, my reaction to my old C++ girlfriend would be "TG I didn't get hitched to this chick - she's way too high-maintenance". Although Ted says she's changed...

Sunday 20 April 2008

Microsoft's MVP's use... Google?

An article about a candid presentation by Steve Ballmer.

The XP-versus-Vista debacle just reinforces the core value of Open Software. Current version tested, deployed, and working fine? Then nobody can force you to upgrade...

Friday 18 April 2008

Who's conspicuously absent from the PaaS fray?

Here's a hint: who was using the slogan "The Network is the Computer" 10 years ago? And who was the first company to deliver a RIA technology?

So why have they been MIA in the PaaS goldrush?

Let's think about this another way. What database are people most likely to run on their slice -o'Linux-in-the-cloud? mySQL perhaps? Which was just bought by...?

The Register has an article
about a possible JavaOne announcement about how this situation might change (with a leaked slide presentation! Fell off the back of an ftp packet, I guess..)

(The weird thing is is that the presentation talks only about PostgreSQL. An old file? Or a different corporate camp? Didn't get the memo maybe?)

KML Craziness

Why oh why did KML choose to specify colour values as AGBR ABGR rather than RGBA? Does anyone have a rational explanation for this anomaly?

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Is that cloud on the horizon going to start raining applications?

Timothy O'Brien speculates that the transition to cloud-based computing is happening sooner than expected. He's talking about the new integration between (which is apparently the poster child for SaaS) and Google Apps (the poster child for desktop replacement by the Web). And he generalizes this to include EC2, SimpleDB, and the "twenty or thirty other companies that are going to join the industry".

He also warns here that this transition could transform the model for software development in ways uncomfortable for IT professionals.

He could be right. Cloud computing does seem to be poised to finally provide the right platform to suck the juice out of corporate data centres. The idea of virtual everything certainly has an appeal (especially to someone like me who is basically a software guy).

But questions occur... Salesforce and Google seem like a perfect match - but what about the other companies that want a piece of this action? Does it matter that you will have to commit everything to a given cloud platform? And what happens if that platform goes away? The more advantage you take of the cloud, the bigger the pain when it disappears. And what about apps which are a bit more specific than CRM (which in my naive view seems like just a fancy Contacts list - and hence an obvious and easy thing to integrate with an office suite).

Tim would probably call these kinds of questions "self-interested observations from one with the most to lose". He mentions a Salesforce meeting where business types applaud a sign showing "Software" with a big red slash through it... Well, maybe. Last I noticed no-one has quite managed to automate generating code from requirements documents (let alone automating the generation of implementable requirments documents out of people's heads 8^). So I would say it's more like "different software" than "no software".

One thing's for sure.. there's going to be some gigantic platform turf wars going on up there in the stratosphere.

(One big disappointment - it sounds like the Salesforce platform is based on their proprietary Apex language. Ugh. Just what the world needs - one more language to debate over. At least Google App Engine picked a real language for their launch!)

Friday 4 April 2008

Ontogeny recapitulates Phylogeny in the life of a programmer

(C'mon, admit it - you've always wanted to use that as the title of a blog post too...)

Paul's epiphany seems like the equivalent of Ontogeny recapitulating Phylogeny in the evolution of a programmer. "Hey, C has arrays! Hey, C arrays are really just syntactic sugar for pointer dereferencing! Hey, I can index to anywhere in memory really easily! Hey, I can store anywh...."



"Hey, there's this new language called Java! And it has arrays too! Hey, if I index past the end of an array I get a nice error message telling me exactly where in my code the problem occurred! Hey, I think I can knock off work early and go to the pub!"