I’ve been posting about a few principles that have helped me minimize the pain of understanding complexity in my own code. See part 1 of this series where I briefly discussed leaving yourself and others notes about the “why” of your design decisions. And see part 2 for discussions about simplifying your code.
Continuing with the movement towards simplicity; whenever possible make functions and scripts single use and encapsulated. We can think about breaking functions (or scripts) down into their smallest useable parts as simplification, or we can talk about it as encapsulation. We broke down a confusing custom function into separate parts in order to improve readability. What we also gained was some compartmentalization and modularity. It’s difficult to separate the two principles of simplicity and encapsulation.
Continue reading ‘I’m just a stupid developer, don’t confuse me… part 3 of 3′
See part 1 of this series where I briefly discussed leaving yourself and others clues about the “why” of your design decisions.
The second principle I want to talk about helps with the “how” and “what”.
It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.
- Albert Einstein
Or how it’s more often paraphrased:
Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Take the time to make things simpler. This is much more about the “how” and “what” of programming.
Continue reading ‘I’m just a stupid developer, don’t confuse me… part 2 of 3′
Our human brain has the amazing capacity to remember and understand the things we do. What’s more amazing is our brain’s capacity to overestimate how much it has the ability remember and understand the things we do. My average shelf life for remembering how my code works is about two months. That is to say if I don’t touch a part of an application for up to two months, I can jump in and get back to work, no problem. After that I have to study it a bit and get my bearings again. The longer I go the worse it gets. Your mileage may vary, but no one can escape this problem.
There are a few things that have helped me minimize the pain described above, which I’ll be posting about over the next couple of days.
Continue reading ‘I’m just a stupid developer, don’t confuse me… part 1 of 3′
Recently I was on a family trip to Pittsburgh. We were walking around the campus of Carnegie Mellon and I saw this memorial brick;
It got me to thinking about some of the monster databases that I have had to take over for clients. When I take over a project, often I am spending a great deal of time just trying to figure out what the developer was trying to do.
Our earlier posts on this blog are generally concerned with improving the user experience(better printing workflow) or getting more out of your data (One Report two sets of summarized data). Today I would like to return to that lowly person, the developer. Anything that I can do that can make my job easier will make be a better developer and ultimately make my customers happier. Or as my grandfather would say to my grandmother, “What would you do if I got hit by a bus?” Continue reading ‘Speak your Mind. Using Comments, part 1.’
Many thanks to Don Levan (Vanguard Custom Software) for coming out and presenting to the group!
Don presented to a packed house (28 people) on the impact of successful user interfaces, working within the constraints of human psychology and physiology – and optimizing workflows and tools for humans (as opposed to developers ). Drawing liberally from Edward Tufte, Alan Cooper and Donald Norman for background material, Don laid out some excellent groundwork for building the right software tools for the job that are easy to learn and efficient to use.
This is a topic he’ll be presenting at the 2010 FileMaker DevCon (in San Diego in August), so it was great to get a preview of the material.
Here are some photos from the meeting. Tried out my new cell phone’s camera…it is what it is.
Just a reminder that we’re meeting tonight at 6PM. If I can get this windows LifeCam VX6000 to work with Parallels, we’ll be uStreaming the meeting. I’ll post a link later if things work out.
Hope to see you tonight. – Colin
- 2nd Semiannual Design Critique and Discussion July 28
— Dan Stein and Loreli Voltmer present
— Stump the Chump experts
- News: FREE FileMaker 1/2 Day Seminar August 6: Better Data, Better Decisions with FileMaker
- About the Philadelphia FileMaker User Group
Continue reading ‘REMINDER: User Group Meeting tonight – we may be uStreaming this’
My wife, 3 year old son and I hopped in the car at 6:30 this morning and headed north from Philly to NYC. I was headed to PauseOnError; Andi and Sam were going to hang with our Brooklyn friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen since we moved from Brooklyn in 2007.
I arrived at the Ace Hotel – a gorgeous, hipsterish old/new world style hotel on 29th street – close to 9 AM and squeezed into the crowd in Molly Connolly’s room for the intro session. I then spent the better part of the day hopping around the various sessions and talking. The mood was pretty festive and congenial, like partying with a bunch of geniuses.
Continue reading ‘PauseOnError Day 1′