Business-focused custom software

  • Having it your way (except when you can’t)

    Good projects (and by “good” I mean “successful” of course) always have a defined objective. Everyone knows the goal, and everyone stays focused on that goal throughout the project.

    Also important in a good/successful project is understanding the project sponsor’s values. For example, some customers place a high value on source code portability – the ability to easily take the code to any vendor. Others may prioritize completing the project as quickly as possible. In the case of the former, using a third party component might not be appropriate, but for the second customer this might make a lot of ...

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  • Gracefully handling the unexpected (deer edition)

    If you plan on enjoying your evening, I recommend that you do not ram a deer with your car. Really. Truly.

    I did not follow that advice. Last weekend as we drove home from a family gathering, a deer jumped into the road directly in front of the car.

    There was nothing I could do. There was not enough time to stop. Swerving would have put me in the lane of oncoming traffic, or the ditch. So I hit the deer.

    As you can imagine, the evening went downhill from there. I won’t bore you with all the details: the ...

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  • My software doesn’t contain missile launch codes, why does it need security?

    “I just want my users to log into my application before using it. Is it really that hard?” my customer asked, frustrated.

    Short answer: Yes.

    Long answer: It depends.

    Look I sympathize. If you think I enjoy all this security stuff, you would be really wrong. Security related issues are NO FUN. No one likes security. Users hate it, so if people have security-related trouble, they think the application is horrible and the programmer is an idiot.

    The reason why everyone is frustrated is obvious. Software security is intended to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the application. But users want ...

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  • Is your software project run by underpants gnomes?

    Every time I see the underpants gnomes on South Park I shudder. These are the guys who came up with the brilliant 3 phase business strategy:

    File:Gnomes plan.png

    Actually I think the underpants gnomes are pretty funny. But they hit a little close to home, you know? Because I’ve seen a lot of software projects that follow a similar logic.

    Take for example a recent Craigslist post:

    “I'd like to find a web designer that would help me build a web community like MYSPACE or FACEBOOK. I’m looking for local web designers/students that can be affordable.”

    Uh, okay. You want to build ...

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  • Why your programmer needs to be like MacGyver

    200px-MacGyver_intro Okay, I confess. I never really watched MacGyver. But the idea of someone who can solve most any problem by quickly inventing a solution out of duct tape and dental floss (or whatever is laying around nearby) is pretty cool.

    To me this seems a lot like how the best programmers work. While most programmers aren’t solving the life-and-death problems that MacGyver faced, they often have to solve them remotely, and with little or misleading information.

    So what MacGyver-like characteristics should you be looking for in the next programmer you hire?

    Creativity

    I think the thing most important MacGyver ...

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What the critics are saying...

Avonelle is an incredibly talented software developer. She works fast, is economical, and offers great insights into the project at hand. She is also not afraid to speak up when she has concerns about a decision or approach. We’ve utilized her talents on many of our software development projects over the years.

Carrie Rocha, Chief Operating Officer @ HousingLink