Aza Raskin is one of my new heroes. I talked to him a little bit and was able to get some stuff ironed out in my head that I was really uncertain about.

I was curious about the people necessary to make a killer UI. As it is, we have 2 technical people, and 1 designer. The designer is doing some great stuff, but he’s still in the designer arena. Which is not necessarily taking into account the issues Bill Scott was talking about. We really need a User Interface designer, which is totally different then a Web designer, and ideally we would all be abstracted by an Information Architect. As it seems unlikely to me that we are going to hire either of the missing two players to our little team (the UI designer and architect) we will need to mix responsibilities a bit. As it stands any member of the team can become a UI Designing expert, but if its the designer he will have no checks beyond his own conscience for his designs. Where if it was me, I would be able to check the designer, but would have the confliction that I don’t want things that are hard to develop. (And things that we don’t know how to do we always consider hard, thus I would subconsciously be removing features I don’t know how to do from the pipeline)

It wasn’t until the SmartClient demo, and even OpenLaslo possibly (I only caught the tail end of this demonstration but it seems like the same idea) that we are neglecting our SaaS advantages. The only benefit you get right now is that installation is super easy, we just provide you with a login and your ready. Yet you can’t get at your data with customizations in any serious fashion, negating any benefit these tools might have brought to you.

So I was thinking about Offline Ajax today and realized that in some situations you just won’t want to use it. An offline Gantt would be nuts, any changes you made would cascade through the system and with its offline delayed nature, you would get massive conflicts. Its possible for a company to lose at least a whole days work to hard working PM who did a bunch of planning offsite in the morning and then synced back up at the end of the day.

Yet for personal applications, something that conflicts are much less of interest, you probably can’t wait for this. Google Docs, wonderful. I am curious if they have Google Docs implemented already, it seems like such a wonderful marriage between a product and a technology.

CSS, for all we hate about it just isn’t getting any love. It doesn’t have as many frameworks, it didn’t have many sessions (maybe just 1 that I know of), and the majority just despise it. I think Aaron Gustafson dismissed me as a piton after I re-iterated my opinion that CSS isn’t good. CSS is a third of what we need to work with, and it seems we are just ignoring it.

This area is still so young. Name recognition wise, the big names were all here. The creator of Selenium, the creator of jQuery, the writer of the AJAX for Enterprise Applications book, a member of the W3C, a member of the ECMAScript specification team, and just a slew of guys who have really pioneered the area that everyone is so mushy over.

Be careful which session you step into. Some of the sessions were people telling you about why the world needs a certain technology, and then would proceed to describe why their product is that exact technology. In the end, you know quite a bit about something called Thinwire, but unless you need their specific technology for your company then you’ve just wasted an hour.

We didn’t take full advantage of the raw brain power in the room. We had some of the brightest web minds in the world in one room, and we only spent about an hour having an open conversation.(two really, one each of the last two days) Sure I could go talk to these guys individually, but we need the group talks even more as I can take my comments and questions to email. I would have liked a room that was reserved all day for different conversations, first two hours CSS, then two hours of JavaScript, then two hours of SCRUM. Get it? Got it? Good.

We at eProject had originally intended to write our own bits of logic into our library so that we didn’t have an explosion of improper jQuery throughout our system. I have already seen the raw power of these libraries in action through use, but after seeing some of the technical issues involved, and the massive brains on the developers of these libraries I’ve grown just a bit smarter to realize thats just insane. Why would I want to spend precious time re-writing something thats already 10x better then what I would ever write? McFly? McFly? Anybody home? Now it isn’t totally my call to let the bonds on jQuery go and let it propagate through our system, but when faced with a choice of having me spend several months to implement something thats already been done, or use whats out there, I don’t see how they could disagree.

We need to start doing usability testing on our UI’s, somehow before we become committed to them. This will certainly be something I’ll have to add to my plate if its decided I need to become the UI Designer or if it takes to long for us to get one. Right now, we hope what we implement is good, we try to stick to what we already do as much as possible so that we can rely on consistency and the belief that if it already exists and people don’t complain to much it must not be that bad.

I need to blog more, and better. I really enjoy getting a bunch of hits, its so much fun, and when I blog I get rewarded as such. When I don’t, nobody shows up to the party. Huh.

I want to become a Refactotum. Man this sounds great, and there were very positive comments in the class about the benefit a developer can get from programming for open source. My first target will be JSUnit if possible as I just HATE that it looks so lame. I think I can make some big contributions, since I use it so much it will be a positive production gain for the future.

I also want to get back to spending Fridays on non sprint tasks. Every friday I pick something that I want to improve in the eProject system, and dig in. Usually refactoring a component and documenting it would take about a day, and thats how we got a bunch of our current framework. The documentation needs to be better, I’ve tried to use it myself and ended up looking at the code. Booo!

Not enough testing sessions for sure. I was jazzed about both classes I went to, the Selenium class, and the overall QA which included a bit of selenium, jsunit, and random other topics on testing.

We need to test more, everyone knows that. I have this suspicion that we may not be as good as we think we are, and thus when they tell us to do something we don’t know exactly how we will do it, and what factors we should test. Then I think that, that is what design is for. Once we have a design we should no all the testing points, but we feel that its just faster at the moment to product a lot of code, have it smoke tested, and then move on.

No comments

Leave a Reply