Monthly Archives: November 2011

Top Listing in Google

I’m amazed by the amount of spam that I receive that just doesn’t make sense.  Okay, I shouldn’t be amazed by that, but here’s a good example:  I have a couple web sites, one for myself and one for one of my books, JavaScript Step by Step.  On the JavaScript Step by Step web site there’s a contact form for readers to let me know about errata and other such niceties.

It seems as though a spam bot must’ve found the form through a search engine and now someone, somewhere, thinks it’s a good idea to try to advertise SEO services by filling out the form they found using a search engine.  See the fallacy?  If the site wasn’t already ranked high enough in the search engines then their spam bot wouldn’t have found it.  However, since the site is high enough in the rankings they found the site.

Moral of the story:  If you want to market SEO services, don’t use a search engine to find potential clients.

Project Methodology: What’s the Goal?

I’m struck by the number of times that people make the wrong decisions when it comes to application development as it relates to the ultimate goal.  The ultimate goal of application development is to support the business, so that the business can leverage that application to streamline processes, beat a competitor, or whatever the business need.  To that end, it seems worthwhile to deliver the best application possible.

A competing approach says that the application needs to be delivered by a certain date, regardless of the features (or failures) of the application.  Setting dates for deliverables makes sense, especially when those dates are tied to reality.  Too often though, dates are chosen without regard for the needs of the business; the dates are chosen out of thin air, using a dartboard, roulette wheel, or some other method less accurate than the aforementioned.

When due dates are chosen arbitrarily it only hurts the business.  Sure the application gets out there faster and some project manager somewhere can mark that as a completed project, but features go missing, bugs go unfixed, and the people who suffer the most are the ones who need the solution most.  That’s an important point that seems to go missing:  Business users suffer the most when arbitrary deadlines are set.  The ultimate goal, delivering a product to support the business, gets sacrified when dates are not based on reality or requirements.

Does Agile fix this?  With an agile process, more software is delivered, but that software is not necessarily better software.  And even with an agile process, deadlines are set.  However, now those deadlines are set based on even less information than other project methodologies.

Keep in mind the ultimate goal of delivering better software and supporting the business when setting deadlines.

Wordy today

I’m writing a review for a book and while rereading some of the paragraphs I noticed that I’m having one of those wordy writing days; one of those days where I write several words to express one thought when one or two words would do.  A symptom of such a malady is the use of semi-colons (oops, already used one in this post).   I wonder as to the source of this wordiness.  It may be from having to obtain a higher page count for certain unnamed publishers or it could be from reading old (1800’s and early 1900’s) writing where the sentence structure was much more formal.

Either way, it’s making editing a more difficult task.  It’ll be interesting to see how the final review ends up.  I should leave it unedited, take a word count, and then edit it down and compare the word count.  Bah.  That’s too much work.