Friday, 14 November 2008

The kind of waterfall development I like...

The process cynic in me says you don't often hear the words "waterfall" and "innovation" in the same sentence... This, however, is an exception.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Web Sequence Diagrams: It doesn't get any more exciting than this...

Ok, a slight exaggeration. You might even accuse me of lying, but I find this pretty damn cool.

Last year I stumbled upon an ingenious tool - Web Sequence Diagrams. By using a markup language, you can draw sequence diagrams without the fuss of Visio, or even Gliffy.

A day in the life of a builder, sequence diagram style...

In just a couple of hours, you can be in diagram heaven. You could flood your desktop with exported versions of the diagrams. You could fill your office with print outs (but consider the environment kids). But there was something missing. There just wasn't an easy way to store them in their raw text format, and view the results... The tool was SCREAMING out for a wiki plugin.

So, I set about writing one. And got no further. Life, well actually work, intervened, as usual.

But fear not (for I know you are trembling with fear and anticipation), others have come to the rescue with a plugin for Confluence and a plugin for the rather wonderful Trac. On top of all this, you can also find a whole set of example scripts for Python, Java, and Ruby. Apparently, you can even render inline markup by using a bit of JavaScript magic, but I haven't quite got that working yet...


Friday, 7 November 2008

A prediction about projection...

This morning, news about a tiny projector dropped into my inbox.

To summarise, this is a battery powered projector, perfect for showing movies from your ipod. Great. The author of that article got it right, this is game changing stuff. Very cool.

But I think it is bigger than that.

You see, when the MP3 format first came on the scene, the people rejoiced. "Woo", said Bob, "I can burn a CD with 200 songs". "Amazing", said Esmeralda, "I can FTP this song in just 1 hour!". "Holy crap!", said Justin, "I can make a fortune out of writing a media player". No one (that I knew) said: "Wow, in just a few years we'll have changed the way we listen to music. Oh, it'll be much prettier too." Very few really saw the true potential of this breakthrough. And I think the same is true here.

Right now, we're using desktops and laptops as much as ever. Sure we're using mobiles to access the web, but we're not using them as a replacement. We use them where we wouldn't use a regular computer. With a few improvements, we'll start to see these small projectors converge with mobile devices. Add to the mix the inevitable rise in processing power, and a new breed of device will start to replace the desktop computer, and indeed the laptop. We'll be able to forget about the small screen, and use a projected larger one. Add a futuristic input mechanism, and you'll have a pocket powerhouse.

I'm guessing this is why Google never bothered trying to make a desktop operating system - mobile will be the new desktop.