Business-focused custom software

  • Keep it under control

    I'm often amazed at the number of developers who don't use source code control software. The arguments I've heard against it are lame and half hearted:

    Too expensive

    Other than some time to set it up and the disk space to set aside for it, there is no reason for it to cost anything at all. There are several source code control options that are open source or free. (Some examples include Subversion and CVS.) Personally, I use Sourcegear's Vault, which is free for a single user.

    Only large teams need source code control

    Even teams of one person can benefit ...

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  • Can you hear me now?

    Do you ever run into a vendor who doesn't listen to you? I find this happens a lot more frequently than I would expect.

    Today I am struggling with an online vendor who made a mistake on my order. They got most of the order correct, but one item came in the wrong size. I shipped it back to them and requested a replacement. Unfortunately, they sent the wrong size back to me. The packing list shows the correct size. Apparently, something is in the wrong bin in the shipping department.

    Before I shipped it back again, I decided to ...

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  • What do you want to do?

    A critical component of user interface design is understanding what the user is trying to accomplish. One of my customers has discovered the hard way that their attempts to add new features and functionality to one of their web applications has actually had the opposite effect - it has made the system less usable and more confusing.

    Originally this application was designed to search and display property information. At one point, the customer decided they wanted to add vacancy information to this application. On the one hand, this was the right idea - vacancy information was much more important to ...

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  • Can we talk?

    An employee for one of my customers last week made the comment that she thought a web application I built was "almost unusable". Unfortunately, I had to agree. This customer used a design firm for this application. The goal was to create a web app that was more "usable" than their previous applications. Unfortunately, the design firm did not have much expertise in this area, and the results are unfortunate. The application looks okay, but it requires several clicks to get to the desired information, which is frustrating for end users.

    Unfortunately, this customer made a couple of mistakes. Since usability ...

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  • Being a Professional

    Two completely unrelated items got me thinking today.

    The first item described an artist selling her creations at an art fair. She wouldn't take credit cards and she was ambivalent about shipping an item, even when the purchaser offered a FedEx number. Clearly, she was more focused on being an artist than she was on business of selling her art.

    The second item shows what happens when software developers don't develop a repeatable process for setting up a developer's project environment, either for a new developer or if an existing system has to be rebuilt. With software development, it is ...

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What the critics are saying...

Avonelle is a rare IT professional who can communicate with business users on a level they can understand, and who can recommend creative technical solutions that are in line with the business goals and the business budget. Avonelle is conscientious not only about meeting deadlines, but also exceeding her customers expectations around quality software while providing superior customer service. Avonelle is an inspiration to me.

Valerie Vogt, Director of IT Advisory Services @ Inetium