If I Wished Upon A Star

Then All I Were Was My Guitar.

Makes sense, surely.

The Help still hasn’t been touched yet. Tonight I discovered a couple of tiny pieces of shrapnel, buried within the ever-growing functionality of Rasp.

One of these was the caching of files by the browser. See, every time a User "actions" (Views, Uploads .. and one day, Changes) a File, Rasp records it. Well, this was my intention. IE worked a treat (whhhhaaaaaa????), but Firefox was craftier. It cached stronger, and so the Workflow recording would only fire the first time the User actioned the File (which in my case is just clicking on the File URL). The problem was fixed though, thankfully. Now working in IE and Firefox for tEh Awesomeness. They are the only 2 browsers in existence right? Right?

I’d like to think there’s a better way to get Help done. Something _more_ than just a file which people open up to find stuff. Although, realistically, that’s how I use Help files, so why wouldn’t it be this way?

I’m feeling like Drizzt Do’Urden when he _knew_ that the move his father was using against him was beatable, but he didn’t know how. I _know_ there’s a better way of delivering people a product that doesn’t need help, or that uses something special. I’m not sure, could be wrong .. but you know.


No release of Rasp tonight. And it’s not so much a never-ending quest for perfection. Well, it is that. If you establish excellence from the beginning, then people will, yes, expect it .. but also, they will pride yourself on it. They will pride _yourself_ on it. Like, I use these guys a lot, Blizzard. Or Capesoft. Or that guy with a blog who makes it look so easy. But it’s the way it works. They uphold it, and it reaps rewards. Of course, my whole "day job" opposing "night job" is a battle. Not between them, but battling to not drain myself. Building an empire is more difficult than tackling a big prop running at full-steam 5 meters from the line. It’s a hundred props, running at you .. plus they’re wearing chainmail, wielding metal-ball morning stars, and shoot firebolts from their eyes.

So how do you build an empire?

I’m not sure yet. Secretly, most of what I’m doing is winging it on my own pre-conceived thoughts and dreams. But you know, a lot of those thoughts are based on what i’ve experienced before AND MORE, on what I’ve taken in from around me. Other people’s experiences, watching how big companies work, good and bad. Watching smaller entities begin, flourish, fail.

Maybe one day there’ll be enough stuff in my brain that’s TRUTH to write a book. For now, I’ll continue to blather in this little journal of jive. Master of Myseterious Code. Haven of Hellion Programmers.

I’ll stop now.

Rumors of Clarion 7 are arising. Nothing concrete .. just .. rumors.

Fare Thee Well,

Dual-Wielding Development

Now, I don’t know about you, but ever since I read R.A.Salvatore’s first Drizzt books (The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, The Halfling’s Gem), Dual-wielding weapons is the first thing I take in rpgs … it’s what I dream about as a legendary warrior, it’s what I practice with broomsticks when nobody is watching.

But anyway. Bill’s experiences of late have unearthed two facets of Dual-Wielding in Development.

  1. Support

    There is the helpdesk-y, support calls, functionality. A system where all calls are logged, client’s ring and have someone walk them through working parts of the program, fixing problems over an instant messenger.

    This is the part of support that everyone knows about. Rightly so. It’s 50%. Maybe more.

    The other, hidden, rarely spoke of side, is that of the Account Manager. Nothing to do with Accounting, but everything to do with the Clients. The Account Manager is the Client’s direct link into the matrix. They are there to chat, to argue with, to give feedback, to be supportive. The Account Manager is the public face to the System.

    A very important role. There isn’t any way of getting around it.

    The problem is, I would think, that most of the time this role is handled by either the Head of Support, or the Developer themselves, or even the Manager of the Company.

    Once you get past 1 client, you really need to have an Account Manager. Or at least be able to compartmentalise your brain into different jobs.

  2. Updates

    This is probably more than a "Dual", but I really liked the intro.

    This is functionality that occurs once the software is out there, and you have a bunch of different types of Clients. Actually, it pretty much would be limited to Dual. But … anyway.

    You have client’s who only want the Point Releases, stable. Then there are client’s that are willing to beta releases, test them, get the new functionality sooner.

    So how to solve this? Have dual Install Streams. Or Update Streams. The nomenclature doesn’t matter here, it’s the idea. And it’s not hard to implement, just need to have the design in place. To be able to control what the client downloads, how their "client" talks to the "server", what rules are in place for these interactions.

So there is my latest little brick in the pavement that makes up my journey along Development Highway. There is a lot more than could be said about these elements. Maybe later, or maybe someone else.

Dual-wielding. It’s the bomb.