Business-focused custom software

  • Stick to what you know

    News stories about software development projects gone bad are published regularly. One such story is this recent article about the Minneapolis convention bureau "Meet Minneapolis", who decided to develop and sell software. The bureau, which gets most of its money from the city, asked for a $2.5 million loan from the city to develop and market software for managing convention sales accounts, hotel vacancies, amd convention registrations. As of now the loan is up to $9.1 million, still without showing a profit.

    Of course, hindsite is always 20-20. Still, it is apparent to me that several factors known at the ...

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  • 5 Ways to Control Software Development Costs

    Here are some tips for keeping software development costs under control:

    1) Don't try to do everything.

    This is a common problem for people who are new to custom software development. It is easy to think that it is better to just add that "one more feature" rather than wait until later. However, it is better to weigh each feature carefully, and leave some thinks to do for version 2.

    2) Don't try to solve all the edge cases.

    Related to the first tip, this is an easy trap to fall into. Most business processes are more complicated than ...

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  • The dangers of indecision

    Software development (like most business processes) is dependent on decision making. If people are unable to make decisions when they work with programmers, the process cannot move forward and the result software will not be built.

    This seems obvious, but sometimes people forget this. They get frustrated when the project is behind schedule, forgetting that the software developer cannot always proceed until decisions are made. Otherwise, if they guess incorrectly, they invite the "opportunity" to re-write the code.

    Something I try to do is anticipate the decisions that will need to be made. That way, if I can get ...

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  • Creaky User Interfaces

    This week I started maintaining a web application written by someone else. The code itself isn't bad; it isn't how I would organize it, but that's not particularly surprising.

    But the user interface, and in particular the validation, is pretty old-school. For example, for fields like dollar amounts that should only allow numeric values, you can type whatever characters you like, and then it provides an error after a postback to the server. Another example: when I left a password field blank, I got two errors instead of one - one for the missing password, and one because the password ...

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  • The Little Things Matter

    Occasionally software developers fall into the trap of thinking that the little things aren't important.

    Sometimes the little things are small cosmetic problems with our applications. A misspelled word, some misaligned controls, or some CSS that looks funny in the wrong browser - all of these things can seem like "little things". Unworthy of concern or time.

    The problem is that these little things can detract and distress. Users can't focus on the software they are using when their eyes are drawn to a flaw. If the flaw isn't corrected quickly, it becomes a blight in the software. It demonstrates a lack of ...

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What the critics are saying...

Avonelle has been a pleasure to work with.  Working with someone that you know will always deliver is tremendous.

Mark McNamee @ Renewal by Andersen