Friday, August 31, 2007

Dr. Neil's Notes 47

Welcome to Dr. Neil's Notes Show 47


Partner Maps went live this week

A few new articles on ViaVirtualEarth

New imagery on Virtual Earth

Keeping Focussed

keep tasks small and achievable in small time frames.

Happy Coding!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Dr. Neil's Notes 46

Welcome to Dr. Neil's Notes Show 46

Week around Oz.

Show Notes:
Smart Client or Web application, that is the question.
Live ID is live (1.0)

Happy Coding!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sydney Design 07

Today was the last day of the Sydney Design 07 Festival.
A lot has been happening in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, which is always worth a visit anyway.
I spent most of today at the museum and took in much design, some good and some bad (IMO).
I also attended a couple of talks and a film.
The first talk was by Krispin K on 'Design Doing Good'. A great presenter with lots of audience interaction.

The second talk, was about futuristic designers and was followed by a movie about Jaque Fresco an amazing inventor and futurist.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My name in a Microsoft product page

I think it's known as ego surfing, I expect you have all done it, you search for yourself on the web, go to a search engine and enter your name.
I am not sure what triggered this 'ego surf' but I entered my surname into Live search today and was surprised that the second result was a link to the Microsoft lifecam product page. What is going on here? There is no mention of my name on the page.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dr. Neil's Notes 45

Welcome (back) to Dr. Neil's Notes Show 45

Long time no speak, the podcast is back.

Show Notes:
Travel around the globe
TechEd - Orlando, USA and Gold Coast, Australia

Test Driven Development

Tip for team communication.

A ScreenEdit podcast?

Happy Coding!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Internet is a Time Machine

It's 3:30 pm I have just received an email from a colleague. I decide to see if he is online to chat about the email, he is on my Instant Messenger list and he's online.
It's 10:30pm yesterday and my friend is sitting on his sofa sipping some wine and answering emails. He receives a 'ping' on Instant Messenger from me.
This world has got so small in the last few years.
Think back 10 years, yes you could communicate with people all over the world with ICQ and email but somehow the ubiquitous nature of of IM and email have really changed the landscape in the last 5 years and it seems that the social networking websites that have become all the rage in the last couple of years are merely fueling this change.
So what does this mean? (apart from a good title for my blog post)
I expect it means we are moving closer to a global community. I hope it means we are slowly breaking down the physical boundaries that define countries and cultures.
While I like to see the upside of this mass communication and constant connectivity, there are some challenges that it creates, such as my 3am online meetings :)

It's a Web Application!

The web is changing. For a couple of years now the shift in the way people use and develop content on the web has been called a number of things, most commonly web 2.0.
One of the shifts that has occurred is something that the average user (and often client) may not be aware.
Many (if not most/all) of these new wave of web sites are not simple images and some simple but clever HTML and javascript but rather full applications. These web applications are just as complex (sometimes more so) than the client applications that run on your PC or Mac.
Along with this shift in complexity of code needed to run these web sites comes all the other challenges introduced by complex software systems; collaboration, process, and tools.
The interesting thing to me is that the collaboration skills and process skills should (and seem to) be transferable. Whereas the tools and technologies may still be immature.
If you are looking to get a new Web 2.0 site put together then you should be thinking about all the things you would consider if you were asking for a client application to be built. There will always be a functions vs. time and resources trade off to consider as well as making sure you break the project into small manageable portions.
This new world on the web is not a simple case of slapping some images and text in markup but rather a full development process.
Many of the traditional 'online agencies' that have built a business model around slapping images and text into some markup and selling that to clients.
As more functional demands are made from web sites I expect these agencies will have to change their process or go out of business.
The web is finally starting to grow up into a real platform and running on top of this platform are applications build by software development teams (which include designers).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

TDD session at TechEd last week

Last week at TechEd Australia I presented a session on Unit Testing and Test Driven Development. Presenting this session raised a dilemma for me.
I have been using Unit Testing, Test First and TDD for eight years now. I have been teaching the benefits of a test first approach for seven years.
Should I assume the attendees coming to this session are already sold on TDD and therefore target the content at some of the issues with TDD and tooling or should I focus on teaching the benefits of TDD to attendees who are not yet TDD believers?
I thought about this and decided that while TDD is becoming popular the attendees coming to this session are most likely to not be practicing TDD and want to learn why they should care about unit testing and TDD.
It was a gamble that seemed to pay off. If you attended my session and were already a believer, I hope you learned something and I apologize that it might not have been what you were expecting.
The majority of the attendees in the TDD presentation were learning about TDD for the first time, and the feedback I received was awesome. Here is a sample of the comments about the session:

Brilliant - got my value for TechEd in a single session (especially as my manager who needed convincing re nunit was sitting with me )

Brilliant. I want to get this presentation delivered to all my developers who couldn't make it to TechEd. We've bought into Unit Testing and we need to get to 100% breakthrough, next up has to be TDD

By far this is my best TechEd experience so far. WE NEED MORE NEIL's IN THIS WORLD. Thank you for giving him a session to WOW us with.

Excellent session - I am now a believer!

Excellent session - well presented, clear and concise with lots of useful items and practices to take away. Best session yet.

For me, this has been the best session so far! Excellent content and an excellent presenter! Fantastic. I would love to learn more about this subject. I am implementing unit testing in my team starting Monday!

Great presentation. Very important way of doing development.

Highlight of the conference for me. 11 out of 10.

Thank you to everyone who attended this session.

Information on the eXtreme .NET book I mentioned in the talk