Recent Feature Articles

Oct 2018

Paper (Size), Please

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Samsung SPP-2040

Terje worked for an IT firm that serviced the purchasing department of a global corporation. To manage purchases, the department used an enterprise shipping and warehousing system that shall be called BLA to protect the guilty. The system ran on a Citrix farm in Norway with all the most impressive resources at its command.

The Hardcode to Success

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Rodrigo was but a simple software development intern eager to prove himself. He would always volunteer for the menial tasks that nobody else wanted to do. "Nobody else" mainly consisted of Justin, Rodrigo's supervisor. Justin wasn't a big fan of doing stuff so he was glad to have an intern that was ready and willing.

Justin got a request from the network administrators to create a system status application to interface with their servers. They wanted to receive alert emails every hour on the hour if anything on the servers had a conniption. If everything was ok, maintain radio silence. To do this, a simple app would need to be created to pass system health check results to Pushbullet, which would take care of sending the alerts. Rodrigo didn't even wait for Justin to finish. "I'll do it!"

The Theater of the Mind

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Hamza has some friends in the theater business. These friends had an in-house developed Java application to manage seating arrangements, and they had some problems with it. They had lots of problems with it. So Hamza cut them a deal and agreed to take a look.

There were the usual litany of problems: performance was garbage, features bugged out if you didn’t precisely follow a certain path, it crashed all the time, etc. There was also an important missing feature.

A Floating Date

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Enterprise integration is its own torturous brand of software development. Imagine all the pain of inheriting someone else's code, but now that code is proprietary, you can't modify it, poorly documented, and exposes an API that might solve somebody's problem, but none of the problems you have, and did I say poorly documented? I meant "the documentation is completely inaccurate and it's possible that this was intentional".

Michael was working on getting SAP integrated to their existing legacy systems. This meant huge piles of bulk data loading, which wasn't so bad- they had a third party module which promised to glue all this stuff together. And in early testing phases, everything went perfectly smooth.

Blind Leading the Blind

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Corporate Standards. You know, all those rules created over time by bureaucrats who think that they're making things better by mandating consistency. The ones that force you to take time to change an otherwise properly-functioning system to comply with rules that don't really apply in the context of the application, but need to be blindly followed anyway. Here are a couple of good examples.

Honda vfr750r

Kevin L. worked on an application that provides driving directions via device-hosted map application. The device was designed to be bolted to the handlebars of a motorcycle. Based upon your destination and current coordinates, it would display your location and the marked route, noting things like distance to destination, turns, traffic circles and exit ramps. A great deal of effort was put into the visual design, because even though the device *could* provide audio feedback, on a motorcycle, it was impossible to hear.