8 May 2007, 10:37 p.m.


Just a quick post to mention that, yes, my commitment to TDD show no signs of abating, especially in the face of the various unfamiliar technologies with which I've been working recently.

Today I came across JsUnit. Which may be old news to many, but I don't stray into JavaScript territory very often, and when I do, I'm usually quite frightened!

And how do developers reduce fear? Yup, we write some tests.

JsUnit has a nice UI, has maybe a 5 minute install/learning curve for anyone familiar with xUnits and just works. The only downsides I've found so far are that i) it doesn't work with my adored Opera and ii) some of the debugging messages are written in the sort of cryptic, broken English that suggests that the contributions of a native speaker might be welcome here.

Anyway, long story short, it's nice to know that even in the dark, dark world of client-side scripting, the gospel is spreading.

Posted by Simon Read more »
6 Dec 2006, 4:10 p.m.

All Change

Yep, the time has finally come. In the new year I'll be heading off to pastures new, and starting work over on the other side of Covent Garden, with the guys at Pitch. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about that.

I always said it would take something pretty special to tempt me to leave my current employer - it has been an invaluable experience - and in the end, it did.

Posted by Simon Read more »
16 Nov 2006, 3:32 p.m.

I Use the Word 'Diametrically' in This One

One of things I've enjoyed most about my work over the last few years - one of the privileges of being a developer, as it were - has been working so closely with talented, driven people. It doesn't really matter whether you're speccing out a gritty DB schema with other developers, stepping through wireframes and storyboards with an interface designer, or having a heated debate about the place of PDFs on the web with senior management.

What's great is that everybody has an opinion, often diametrically opposed to your own. That's a great way to open your mind, and a great way to learn.

For the record, I didn't change my mind completely about PDFs, my views being somewhat akin to Jakob Nielsen's. But I accept they have a place, and can have a value to the paying client.

And if opening your mind can help to bring in a few more pennies, so be it.

Posted by Simon Read more »
11 Nov 2006, 2:07 p.m.

...and keeping them

I'm finding more and more excellent, and very pertinent, content on Rob's site. In Nine Things Developers Want More Than Money he raises a few issues that will make a huge difference to a company's rate of developer 'churn'. And once again he hits several nails square on the head.

He doesn't mention chairs, but I think Joel has that one covered.

Still, I wonder how Rob finds developers who have stable family lives and yet are willing to work until sunrise...without being asked and without extra pay!

Posted by Simon Read more »
10 Nov 2006, 11:19 a.m.

Finding them...

I enjoyed Rob's definition of Web 2.0 companies as being the ones that show up in your browser every time you mistype a domain name. I don't know what you would have to type wrong to find either of our portals, so I guess we're not Web 2.0. But I can live with that.

Anyway, it's from a great article called Personality Traits of the Best Software Developers, which I found particularly interesting, since we're recruiting right now. I can see myself in at least a couple of those (I shan't elaborate!) so maybe I'm not doing too badly.

Posted by Simon Read more »
3 Nov 2006, 10:53 a.m.

I am Not a Resource, I'm a Free...Oh Wait...

For a while now I've been taking exception to programmers being described (by management, by recruiters) as 'resources'. "We're hoping to take on a PHP resource", "I hear you're looking for a PHP resource?".

No, I'm really not looking for a resource, I'm looking for a programmer. Programmers have brains and ideas and solve problems and rarely stop thinking about creative ways to do complex things. They're not interchangeable programming units. At least, not here in Great Queen Street. To misappropriate something Martin Fowler said:

"that would be true if the hardest part of programming was typing".

Which, of course, isn't the case.

Posted by Simon Read more »
27 Oct 2006, 11:54 a.m.

Try Ruby!

I'm intrigued, perhaps even impressed by Why's Try Ruby!, an interactive, in-browser Ruby tutorial. It really is quite a fascinating collision of technologies.

It's almost painfully Web 2.0 - I'm pretty sure most of the buzzwords are there - Ruby, Ajax, that sort of thing. All sat on top of the ubiquitous Json and Prototype libraries.

It's a neat idea, and a useful tool in learning what is a very interesting programming language, but it displays something which is has become alarmingly common in the Web 2.0 landgrab - a complete disregard for the usability conventions and metaphors that have made the web such a success in the first place. Want to bookmark a particularly useful page of the tutorial? Oops, no, sorry - you can't do that, best start again. Want to hit your 'back' button and run over that tricky last section again? No such luck.

I don't want to sound like a miserable old bugger (well, maybe just a little), but I'm starting to fear for the future of HTTP. I'm nostalgic for TBL's original design.

Still, everyone has the sense that we're in a fascinating and exciting phase in the Web's development - even I can't deny that. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

Posted by Simon Read more »
26 Oct 2006, 1:02 p.m.

URL File Extensions Considered Harmful

A recent conversation with a colleague reminded me of just how much I hate seeing programming language file extensions in URLs. You know - .php, .asp, .cfm and the like. There are several reasons why we avoid them like the plague.

Posted by Simon Read more »
24 Oct 2006, 11:30 p.m.

'lo world

'lo world

Posted by Simon Read more »
30 Sep 2004, 12:26 p.m.

HOWTO: Install PHP5 on Linux

I did this on a IBM box running Red Hat Linux, I'm not sure which version. It basically went like a dream, and maybe took an hour or so. This is to compile PHP5 as an Apache module, a way I choose as it makes subsequent PHP upgrades simpler. Everything was installed under /usr/local, for what it's worth.

Posted by Simon Read more »