When Outlook Attacks

Most people have had to deal with awful user interfaces at some point. Cluttered, messy applications are everywhere from Windows to Mac, Android to iPhone. There are already plenty of examples online of terrible user interface design, but there is another problem which gets a lot less attention: unwelcome interruptions. Microsoft Outlook is possibly the … Continue reading When Outlook Attacks

How to phone-screen programmers and not go insane

Technical phone screens are hard to do right. Yet, they serve an important role. They are the primary filter that ensures you only bring in appropriate candidates to spend valuable hours meeting your team. If you don’t phone-screen correctly, you’ll end up bringing in some real timewasters who don’t even come close to having the … Continue reading How to phone-screen programmers and not go insane

URI construction: give it a REST

Picture the scene: you've just updated your product's REST API. You've added lots of new features, revamped the URI structure and you're excited for your clients to start using it. One of these two things will happen within the hour: Your support line will ring off the hook with angry customers screaming about how none … Continue reading URI construction: give it a REST

Like it or not, your samples will go into production

Several years back, my colleagues at IONA shipped some product samples with a new version of the Orbix product to demonstrate how to use encryption and other security features. We used some self-signed SSL certificates that would expire a few years after the product's ship date, and in the documentation we clearly specified that those … Continue reading Like it or not, your samples will go into production

SaaS means “No excuses”

The phenomenal increase in free and pay-per-usage SaaS offerings in recent years has made it so insanely simple to build new websites starting only with…well, starting with absolutely nothing. In the old days (cue Abe Simpson voice), developing and deploying a new website required the purchase of actual servers, or at least the rental of … Continue reading SaaS means “No excuses”

Yes, your stupid feature is still a bug

Your users are complaining about an unusable feature in your product. It's so unintuitive and impossible to understand that they are calling it a "bug" in many angry emails to your support staff. When the discussion reaches a coder, the issue suddenly gets reclassified as a "badly-designed, but correctly functioning feature". Out of nowhere, they … Continue reading Yes, your stupid feature is still a bug