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:: XPlanner ::

XPlanner is a servlet-based tracking tool for extreme programming projects. And I'm glad it's around. Open source has been missing XP process management systems, especially ones that assist remote collaboration.

As it gets tough beyond four people to intuitively calibrate the point system (for each two week cycle) betwixt the propeller heads and pencil necks, XPlanner incorporates scheduling feedback loops (well explained in Joel Spolsky's Painless Software Schedules.) Managers can't schedule effectively unless each of their people can schedule themselves. Programmers are irrepressively optimistic; aggressive feedback is the only way to ween them of this. (I say this as a person who's missed more deadlines than I will admit.)

XPlanner needs some maturing and portability beyond Tomcat (cringe). Go give some feedback.

Link | 10 October 2002 | in Coding | Comments (0)

:: Manhandling Hiptop ::

The launch of Danger's Hiptop (currently sold only as T-Mobile's Sidekick) has been anticlimactic. Reports of manufacturing defects, mediocre site compatibility and delays of the most-important developer suite have attenuated enthusiasm. Further, rumors question the general availability of said SDK, or whether it will shepherd a cost barrier. All can be fixed, but my lust has drifted.

New favorite vapor device: Sharp Zaurus, GPRS unlayered and a ThinkOutside keyboard to pen airplane missives.

"Yes, stewardess, I know my bag of batteries won't fit under the seat. But I need them. Desperately need them."

However, this isn't on the drawing board. Zaurus' successor will improve ergonomics, but not attack high cost and always-on wireless. Other brands remain distant to its outstanding hacker capabilities.

As I've said before, server-side is the exciting bit of Danger's danger. Still we wait to see if they will befriend and beguile.

Link | 04 October 2002 | in Gear | Comments (0)

:: Java on the Desktop ::

Gosling, quoted:

Microsoft provided tools that developers have ended up being forced to use to build desktop software, he said.

"And, for lots of desktop developers [Windows] was the only market that actually mattered," Gosling said. "That is, I think, deeply tragic."

The above conceit is an appropriate one, as long as it remains consigned to Sun's public marketing. James, being a smart fellow, understands the distinction between a Java desktop application and a usable desktop application. But there's no admitting that on stage.

It amuses me to read articles citing Microsoft's destruction of Java. No doubt they have it in for Sun (and often support dubious technologies), but the early MS JVM was the singular reason I could deliver professional Java applications (1997-98) given Sun's original, adolescent runtime and libraries.

Since the appearance of .Net, I've been mourning the loss of Java. It's brilliant for server use, I quite like the language -- and the present broad, industrial-strength API set is an unprecedented joy in the history of code. But if it can't move beyond servers, it will fade to competition. And Sun has been responsible for its failure on both browser and desktop, via petty and (ultimately) self-destructive behavior. Further, Sun has assured the bifurcation of a unifying technology, and rejected technical advances, important enough to real projects, to excite (Mono, dotGNU) the open source crowd.

There is one possibility. IBM wrests away control of Java, open sources their JVM (let the porting begin!) and makes a real push for the efficiencies and rounded APIs required of desktop use. In the same way latest Mozilla might have a fighting chance by virtue of solid implementation of standards, huge platform diversity and malleable component use for other development.

It'll never happen.

Link | 04 October 2002 | in Coding, Systems | Comments (3)

:: Further reading on this article ::

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