• Spider documentation wiki?

    During lunch I ran across an interesting article from CNN Money about Wikipedia and Wikia (a for-profit offshoot).

    This got me thinking, could we harness the power of wikis to help us generate and improve documentation for our software? Perhaps we could reformat Joe's user guide into a wiki format and then anyone within the company or outside the company can improve the documentation with tips, tricks, etc.

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  • Test as Side-effect

    I sometimes regard the term "unit test" as unfortunate. It's certainly important that test cases actually certify your code, but in many ways I've come view that as a pleasant side-effect.

    For developers unfamiliar with unit testing, the "test" aspect might be a tough sell. After all, they can actually see their code working once they've deployed their application. Indeed, prior to being hired at Spider Strategies, I found I had to disabuse potential employers of the notion that my unit testing experience was solely a function of QA.

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  • Web 2.0, meet Business 2.0

    As a gadget lover, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is my annual awards event of choice. Others can have the Oscars, the Grammys, and all of the Pageants combined. For me, it's all about what new gizmos are coming out that are going to make my life easier, happier, or more productive.

    This year was no different. Although life always seems to prevent me from attending, I followed the highlights from the 2007 show in Las Vegas on both CNET and the CES website. As you can see from the list of 2007 Award Winners, these gadgets are all about making life more enjoyable and perhaps even a bit more productive. CES 2007 highlighted everything from a fully voice-activated control system for your car, in the Ford Sync (through a Partnership with Microsoft), to a PDA/Smartphone designed to play TV programs.

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  • DHTML Dialogs vs. Popups

    DHTML and Popup Dialog Comparison

    There are all kinds of situations in web applications were you need to collect information from the user, and our Corporate Management Suite is no exception. Like many web apps, we used to pop open a new, smaller browser window for this purpose. It certainly got the job done, but there were all kinds of problems.

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  • Smart JavaScript Caching

    Like many web-based software companies, a significant part of our frontend logic is dependent on JavaScript. This allows us to add all of the neat little animations and dynamic page updates that make web apps fun. It also dramatically increases the size of the JavaScript files that need to be downloaded.

    Our approach in the past has been to just cache everything and forget about it. Unlike many public websites that have to operate under the assumption that the user's cache will be empty, we can depend on a fairly high percentage of populated caches. And, because we have a single page application design, even if they don't have the JavaScript cached, they only have to download the files once and they'll be available the entire time the application is being used.

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