Excellent Studies on Software Quality

The studies measure the impact on quality that common software engineering practices have: Exploding Software-Engineering Myths By Janie Chang 11/2009 at Microsoft Research.
Found via InfoQ.

  1. it is very nice to have real studies and data. Too often, we heard only claims that Software engineering practice X or Y is THE best practice. At best there are 3 successful projects to back up the claims or some niche cases where THE best practice works.

    It demonstrates alas that Software engineering is still very young ! I even think that the subject is so large that it doesn't make sense to consider it as a whole. You would not compare how you build an Airbus to how you build a scooter.

  2. The Influence of Organizational Structure On Software Quality is revealing ! 10 pages from early 2008 : a must read !


Web-Based Software Project Portals trends

Good article in Dr. Dobb's : Tools for Teams: A Survey of Web-Based Software Project Portals
It was pointed by the Modeling Languages Blog. Usually the blog is about UML, DSL, MDSD and such. But they personally participated to the study, so ...

It is well written. They take objectivity very seriously. and I would like to highlight some points:
  • "project portals would merge or integrate with social networking tools such as LinkedIn and personal life management tools such as Google Calendar." I strongly believe that it will happen. I see many trends to put everything (the code, the IDE ...) on-line and then search, connect and socialize. I wouldn't be surprised if someone came with a catchy name for this trend.
  • "we now wonder about the real importance of requirements elicitation and structured development process in the success of a development project". A direct result of Agile : Requirements are managed more efficiently and teams structure their processes to what fit them best.
  • "One clear trend in the portals ... was providing a hosted service." It will take some time, but enterprises will realize that their data are more secure and reliable within a well maintained application than behind their dumb firewall.
  • "...the portals were built ... to allow ... teams to scale up and ... spread out geographically. We believe this explains why they emphasize asynchronous communication (e.g., bulletin boards) over synchronous (e.g., chat)." I have a mixed feeling about this point. Some believe that teams could be just the temporary collaboration of highly specialized and efficient individuals. I doubt that it really works. Certainly the goal is to remove frontiers for developers. But face to face communication is still crucial for a team.
  • they "mainly target agile teams" and "none explicitly encouraged more traditional development processes". Looks like Agile has no competitors, but changing is hard. (By the way listen to all Linda Rising episodes : her voice is perfect for radio.)


The Case for Open MTA Data: Transparency, Savings, and Easier Riding

Interesting article The Case for Open MTA Data: Transparency, Savings, and Easier Riding by Ben Fried on September 23, 2009 in Streets Blog.
I have heard about similar project in France. I hope they will make the information directly available to developers and not shielded behind clunky applications.


The Guava library: a Google lesson in API design

When I first read an article about a new library to do String manipulation, I wondered what could be so interesting in there ? Isn't such a basic topic already well addressed in the standard library ?
But since I am a bit concerned in API design and really wanted to know what would justify to create a new library, because the class String looks OK to me, so ... I gave it a look.
No regrets. Indeed the API is clean, consistent and simple to use.
The guava library.
I wouldn't care for trivial String manipulation, but if I have anything just a bit less than trivial, I will definitively use it !
More importantly, I know I have to look more and more to these "praised" project : google collections being next

LinkedIn groups for social networking

I am starting to use LinkedIn and Ning to build some social networking sites. I find the state of these tools a bit lacking. OpenSocial had some big promises. Yet, there are less than 10 applications on LinkedIn and nothing for groups.
LinkedIn made it clear : There are no Applications available for groups.
Ning looks great at first, but it has some strange limitations. For example you cannot rename a post: you have to create a new one, copy the text and delete the old one.
There are good surprises also: the collaboration between Apec and LinkedIn is a big plus.

Sound banks

"Conserve the sound" http://www.conservethesound.de/  online museum for vanishing and endangered sounds. The sound of a dial tel...