Usability is not Independent of Programming

The discussion came up of how to improve usability of the system.  One position was to hire a usability expert to draw us a specification of a highly user friendly system, and then deliver that to the development team to implement it. I disagreed, and claim this will not work, and this post is my explanation. Continue reading

The Error Message IS the Documentation

Another example of content free documentation below: documentation that is a waste of screen space even to display it on the screen.  Here the issue is a development team so enamored with Documentation (with a capital D) that they really want to do a complete job to document everything, that they are blind to a better approach.  The real goal of any software development should be to eliminate the need for documentation in the first place. Continue reading

XML Schema Validation, or not?

The question is: should a program that reads a standard XML file format use XML Schema Validation when reading the file to make sure that the file being read is properly formatted?  The answer depends upon a lot of things.  It is certainly NOT a foregone conclusion that you should always validate XML when reading.  There are times when validating will constrain the functionality to an unacceptable degree over the long run. Continue reading

#27 A Proper Module does NOT need a Config File

It is common for a system or a program to have a config file: that is a file that holds a bunch of settings that can be adjusted by the administrator or user to get desired effect.  A code module, that is designed to be embedded into a running program and is designed to be reused in multiple programs, should NEVER require a configuration file. Continue reading