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September 2002

Clemens' book is hitting the shelves

[Clemens Vasters] I've been (and still am) busy preparing the downloads site for my new book ".NET Enterprise Services" (Hanser Verlag), which is going to hit shelves in Germany on Monday.

Clemens, despite our agreed upon disagreement on various .NETish and webservicish topics, let me just tell you that this is one of the few books I'm really looking forward to read (preordered for some time now)! Hey, who knows - maybe it's the book to make me change my mind on some of our points of discussion.

Looking forward to meeting you again at the DevCon!

.NET weblogger gathering (part 2)

[Matt Croydon::postneo] Sam Gentile and Brian Graf noticed that I'll be at the Web Services DevCon.  Ingo Rammer will also be there, along with a bunch of other webloggers who will be speaking and attending.  It's gonna be CRAZY!

[Sam Gentile's Radio Weblog] It sure is! Welcome to the Jungle! Ingo and I have referered to each other back and forth for months. Heck, he's even the one that intially got me on Radio. We even spent a night with my Rotor problems via Messenger. I feel like I know him like any of my best friends. Its going to be great to attach a face to his name. It will also be great to see the friends from last year and attach faces to a whole lot of other bloggers.

You bet! It's gonna be fun and I'm really looking forward to meeting y'all.

Anyone makes a sign to put up? "Weblogger's corner"? ;-)

.NET weblogger gathering

I'm currently doing final preparations for my leave to the biggest .NET weblogger gathering. I'll arrive in Boston, MA on Oct 1st together with my fiancee, and we will stay in this area for three weeks (vacation, attending W/S DevCon, vacation, speaking at WIN-DEV, vacation) before continuing to Orlando, FL. If anyone feels like meeting us during this time, just drop me an email.

Usability of web pages

A reader just pointed out the he absolutely agrees with my rants about bad web applications.However, I published this rant on a page that uses a fixed layout and a fixed font size, thereby affecting usability as well.

He's right. Guilty as charged.

My problem is, that I'm a software developer, therefore I've been somehow more affected by development bugs than by design bugs. I simply didn't think too much about usability of web pages with fixed layouts and fixed fonts (which is especially bad in my case as in a former life, I've been surfing the web at 1600x1200 with fonts set to "very small").

Thanks for pointing this out to me. It should be better now. That is, if I didn't screw it up altogether ;-) 

Why I hate Internet Applications ... (Warning: rant!)

Warning. 100% pure rant.

I hate Internet applications. Actually I don't, but I hate applications which had been developed by people who don't care about usability at all. I have some examples:

* My online banking system. This is the trigger for today's post: I just entered a number of transactions which I wanted to batch-confirm as soon as I'm done with all of them. Suddenly the server stopped to react. Logging on two minutes later -> all data is gone. Why the heck don't they store their session-date in persistent memory and store a persistant cookie at my hard disk?

* Austria's largest real estate service: After finding an interesting object, you can send emails containing the relevant information. It does however not remember the following properties: sender's first name, sender's last name, sender's email address, recipient's first name, recipient's last name, recipient's email address. Why don't they even assign a temporary cookie here but instead force me to re-enter all this information for every note-to-self I want to send? Even more important, why don't they create a direct link to their objects? Instead, when reading the email you have to go to their homepage -> Search -> Advanced Search -> Houses (rent) to enter the object's ID contained in the email. Argh.

* Austria's railroad operator. You can buy and print your tickets online (which is fine). However, if you klick back once too often, they will internally create and bill two tickets. This happend to a co-worker of mine - the customer support department refused to refund the money. Why the heck don't they use a hidden form field and simply detect re-submit? Did they ever hear the word idempotency and know what it means? Also, you have to re-enter your payment and address information again and again. Why don't they assign a permanent cookie?

* A certain US Robotics ADSL router. Contrary to most other devices, this router only comes with an "embedded" web application to configure it. No means of telnetting to it. When something doesn't work, you can view a log which shows brilliant information along the lines of: "Dialing started .... Could not connect". Thanks very much. Why don't they at least include an advanced log which really shows what's going on? Note to USR: I returned your device because of this. I'm now running a unixish operating system for connection sharing again - I can now get as much log output as I want.

Finally (aka. "why did I post this rant?"): If you're developer of applications which are used inside a browser, please, please, please care for usability. Save my settings, don't make me re-enter anything. Also please, care about idempotency of web requests. If you're QA tester of one of these applications, please don't let them release it as long as these things aren't considered. Your customers will love you.

Thank you very much for your support. I'm looking forward to using your application!

IP and System.CodeDom

Dan [1] wonder's why I show "lack of interest in Intentional Programming and [...] praise of System.CodeDom? :-)"

Good point. I definitely thought about it when writing my original post. CodeDom is in my opinion far from the visual, intentional way in which I'd like to think about IP. It's basically a very low-level interface to programming language constructs. But on the other hand - whoever provide IP tools based on .NET should better look into this namespace when providing additional layers of abstraction. At least you don't have to think about the programming language anymore ...

[1] I didn't even recognize that he's running a blog-like web site. Welcome!

Intentional Programming

[Learning C# and transitioning to .NET] The programming world is primed for a major shift in paradigm (it's been a decade since the OO shift); I suspected that it would be aspect-orientation, but IP [Intentional Programming] is even more potentially dramatic.

In my opinion, aspect orientation will be the next really big thing. IP isn't remotely interesting for me ... I definitely code quicker, with less bugs, etc. the way I do now. It's been about 10 to 11 years now that I touched a BASIC interpreter for the first time - I really can't think about working in an IP visual way. However, I guess the transation from casual user to power user to IP programmer is easier than learning a programming language for casual use. It could therefore be ok for macro-like stuff ... or especially for business logic programming. However, I wouldn't want to develop my next Remoting transport channel in a visual way ;-)