Tangential comments about Software Development

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Languages: The Good Parts

"Most programming languages contain good and bad parts. I discovered that I could be a better programmers by using only the good parts and avoiding the bad parts."
Douglas Crockford, Javascript: The Good Parts, p1

"Take an existing programming language and make significant improvements to it by making no changes except to exclude the low-value features."
Ibid p.99

So what do I leave out?

In C# I use public a lot, private a bit, internal almost never.
In Excel magic numbers, multi-level formulae

That's probably why I took to jQuery - the Write Less Do More mindset.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Nobody Likes Plastic Flowers

I'm telling all my friends to read Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals. They have a great mindset on how to start and run a small company, IT or not. And it's a Twitter style of book, concentrating hard on being pithy. The last-but-one draft of the book was 57,000 words, and they cut 30,000 of those. Nice one.

My favourite dicta:
  • Why grow?
  • Enough with "entrepreneurs"
  • Ignore the details early on
  • Throw less at the problem
  • Meetings are toxic
  • Good enough is fine
  • Underdo your competition
  • Say no by default
  • Out-teach your competition
  • Nobody likes plastic flowers

Perhaps that last one needs an explanation? People accept the imperfections of a fresh flower, even that it will decay. So why bother aiming to sound perfectly "professional"? Be yourself.

36 Heroes

I just finished Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals. An excellent read.

The last page is a "list of some of the people we know, and don't know, who have inspired us in one way or another." Nice to see heroes of mine like Kent and Dieter. Makes me want to find out more about Marc and Judith.

Frank Lloyd WrightSeth Godin
Warren BuffettJamie Larson
Clayton ChristensenRalph Nader
Jim CoudalBenjamin Franklin
Ernest KimJeff Bezos
Scott HeifermanAntoni Gaudi
Carlos SeguraLarry David
Steve JobsDean Kamen
Bill MaherThomas Jefferson
Mies van der RoheRicardo Semler
Christopher AlexanderJames Dyson
Kent BeckThomas Paine
Gerald WeinbergKathy Sierra
Julia ChildMarc Hedlund
Nicholas KaravitesMichael Jordan
Richard BirdJeffrey Zeldman
Dieter RamsJudith Sheindlin
Ron PaulTimothy Ferriss