Thursday, November 15, 2007

Usability Rule: A feature doesn't have real existence unless it's easy to use

I know someone has probably said something like this before, but it hit me today while using Git (well, git-svn) on a project.

A feature isn't really available until it's easy to use.

I have to ship off some skinning work to a remote team, but at the same time, I'm reacting to a fundamental change in the data model that I didn't expect. I don't want to be dancing around the skinning changes, so I made a branch for myself with git.

There's nothing exciting about any of that because that's exactly what I should be doing. The difference with svn is that I'd never think to do that. I may think of it in a "lab environment" or suggest it as a solution to someone else, but I'd probably never think "Oh, I should branch this guy and avoid pain later" in the situation I related above.

It's not because svn doesn't have an answer to branching, it's that branching isn't the first answer when it should be. I probably would have just tried to dance around the remote team's changes if I wasn't using git-svn.

You could argue that branching is a complex concept, but implicit in the story is that in svn branching is harder than in git. Since branching is hard enough for me to avoid it, svn is penalizing me for doing the right thing.

Of course, you could call me dumb or lazy, and I'll accept that. But not so dumb that I won't use git-svn or just git from now on.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Adding some generators to RubyAMF

I'm having fun adding some generators to RubyAMF. They should help get your RubyAMF project kicked off a little fast and in the Rails style. More over at

Yer all Jeenyusis.

I just wanted everyone to know that reading this blog makes u smrt.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

CFUnited Express Presentation: Offline/Online with AIR

This last Friday (11/9) I was able to stand in for Simon Horwith and speak at CFUnited Express Bay Area, a mini conference by TeraTech. I spoke on the features of AIR that enable developers to build Occasionally Connected Clients.

I had a good time and I was surprised by the diversity of the topics and the way ColdFusion development is going these days.

I worked with ColdFusion for 5 years or so 4 years ago, but spent a lot of energy trying to get some different languages under my belt, and so landed where I am today doing Flex and Rails and Java and so on. I'm happy working with what I'm working with, but it's good to see that the CF community is keeping up with the times and even enjoying some new features that make other dynamic language frameworks like Rails so fun to work with, as mentioned by speakers like Sean Corfield

Here's a link to my presentation from Friday, which has links to the code samples I showed.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Google's Looking Out for Me.

It's not often I get excited about a User Interface feature as small as this, but I found this one pretty special.

I hopped into my Gmail and staring back at me was this:

That's Google, there, telling me without me having to track it down, that I may have a problem with my experience in Gmail due to third party software.

That's awesome. That is a good user experience.

They had to first decide that there was a problem affecting a good chunk of users (which means they are tracking that sort of thing meaningfully, not just to have the data around). Then they made a help topic on how to get around the issue. They didn't stop there. Not Google. They figured out how to tell that I was running Firebug and then told *me* that there may be a problem instead of waiting for me to figure it out the hard way.

It's nice to see that kind of user experience in action in something I use every day, not just being talked about.