What makes a ‘webmaster’?

Posted by & filed under IT & the Internet, Software engineering, September 20 2007.

In my job at the moment, I’m considering what it means to have responsibility for a website – what does this entail? A term that is often used in this respect is ‘webmaster’, but what does this mean? It’s a pretty vague term, but it’s used an awful lot – it’s often seen as text… Read more »

The great Java/Perl debate

Posted by & filed under Software engineering, July 9 2007.

An enduring aspect of the various academic IT-related jobs I have had over the years has been the ongoing and seemingly endless debate about the merits of the Perl and Java programming languages, with strong adherents on both sides. Perl in many ways is seen by some people (not just software engineers) as a poor… Read more »

My schizoid workplace

Posted by & filed under Software engineering, February 28 2007.

In the organisation where I am employed there is a dual, almost schizophrenic, nature to the work that I (and the other software engineers in my team) do there. Our funding comes from several sources, but a large portion comes from academic research councils. The nature of this funding is that it involves short-term projects… Read more »

Why I love Google Maps

Posted by & filed under IT & the Internet, Software engineering, February 27 2007.

I spend a lot of my time working with and developing Geographic Information software, especially graphical mapping applications. Recently I have been working a lot with the mapping data and JavaScript API provided by the Google Maps service, and I am very impressed with it. It’s very simple to use, and makes adding mapping capabilities… Read more »

The 80:20 and POGE software engineering rules

Posted by & filed under Software engineering, February 23 2007.

There is a well-known ratio in engineering; 80:20. This ratio crops up in software engineering too and refers to several rules-of-thumb that sound a bit flippant but in my experience are valuable real-world guides when managing software development projects. This is also called the ‘Pareto Principle‘.

In defence of Cowboy Coding

Posted by & filed under Books, Software engineering, February 22 2007.

At the organisation where I am a software engineer, discussions and debates about software development methodologies and tools (such as UML, Agile, XP etc) has gone on for a long time. There is a general feeling that these are a Good Idea, and that we should embrace them, but variety and complexity seem to be… Read more »