Web Development

Trends, tools and development tips and tricks.

Scott Guthrie on ASP.net, Azure and Open Source

Scott Guthrie has made a big bounce at Microsoft. He was the key developer of ASP.net and now he’s the Corporate VP for Windows Azure. At the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference, I spoke with Guthrie about ASP.net and its tools, as well as the potential of Windows Azure and open source. Here are some highlights from our discussion. While the tools for ASP.net are fantastic, it’s less so for Azure. Guthrie said Microsoft is trying to make Visual… continue…

How to Leverage Your Engineers As Recruiters

Whether you’re a recruiter or not, you may have to eventually hire someone. To learn how engineers can help with the recruiting process, I attended a panel discussion entitled “Recruiting Hacks for Engineers” at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp. The panel was moderated by Pete Soderling (@petesoder), g33ktalk and included Dan Arkind (@danarkind), Aki Taha (@akitaha), Persona and Jeff Winner, Cardspring.  Image: Engineers by Bigstock 

The Basics of a Usability Failure

Flow Charting
Usability is a fancy word that we throw around a lot in engineering: “This API sucks from a usability perspective. It takes four calls to do anything!” or “How did anyone consider this a usable site?! I can’t find the Buy button!” There are standard or semi-standard usability indicators, like time to accomplish a task, number of clicks, and eye-tracking heat maps. All of this chatter and all of these measurements come down to understanding what usability really is: A… continue…

Tips to Crack the Coding Interview

bigstock- Coding Test
Gayle Laakmann McDowell’s session, “Cracking the Coding Interview,” was likely the most popular event at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference. McDowell knows her subject well. She’s the author of a Cracking the Coding Interview, as well as  The Google Resume and is founder of CareerCup, a website that hosts more than 8,000 interview questions for software engineers. Here are a few highlights from her seminar: Be prepared to write long hand McDowell’s first piece of advice for a coding… continue…

The Basics of Google’s Dart Milestone 1

Dart Language
A year on from its initial release, Google Dart’s Milestone 1 has a whole raft of improvements and new features, though the removal of the string concatenation for performance and consistency reasons has left a few scratching their heads. It’s OK, though. You can also use StringBuffer, string interpolation (see below) to concatenate string literals. What isn’t in doubt is that Dart is starting to gain traction, having recently entered the Tiobe Index Top 50 and is currently at the… continue…

Think Carefully Before Upgrading to Python 3

Python Logo
Upgrading software in a timely matter is important (as I wrote here), but I don’t always follow my own advice. I have a client who uses Python, which is currently on version 3.3. The client is using Python 2.7, and I’ve recommended that they not upgrade. In other words: I think upgrading is a bad idea. Why? Python 3.3 was released on Oct. 1, 2012. As of that date, the most popular version of the programming language is… 2.7. Yes,… continue…

Crowdsourced Web Dev Help from Webplatform.org

Webplatform Logo
What happens when you mix Opera with Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla and Nokia, then sprinkle a dash of of W3C on top? You get WebPlatform.org, a free one-stop-shopping site for information about Web development and standards, and is stewarded by leading tech companies and coordinated by W3C. The site is currently in alpha but already has a wiki, forums, chat and a blog. If you sign up now, you can immediately begin to contribute your expertise to… continue…

How to Become a UX Designer

User Interface
The need for User Experience designers is growing, and so even self-taught professionals can be attractive candidates for employers in need. And these people can come from a variety of backgrounds, according to Nick Finck, the self-taught director of UX Design at Seattle-based Deloitte Digital. He’s added 24 people to his staff over the last few years. “UX is essentially an umbrella term used to describe individuals who wear different hats,” says Finck. “You need to look at the skills… continue…

Love, Sex and C++: The Technology Behind OkCupid

Couple Has Fun in Bed from Bigstockphoto
Our subject today, OkCupid, is known as the dating destination where the cooler, cuter kids hang out. With 3.2 million active users and 7.1 million unique visitors each month, it’s touted for having a proprietary algorithm that results in a more compatible match. Somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of single, active Internet users have tried online dating. Each of the big dating sites like Match.com, Plenty of Fish and OkCupid has a distinct reputation, and OKCupid’s happy to be… continue…

How to Set Up Couchbase on a PHP Website

In my previous post Testing Couchbase as a NoSQL Server, I described my use of the NoSQL data store Couchbase. Today I’ll show you how to start using Couchbase with a PHP website. Note that because the Couchbase client PHP driver isn’t available for Windows, this can only be installed on a Linux system. There are two versions, the stable 1.8 or the Beta version 2.0. For this article, I used the stable version 1.8. Start by downloading and installing Couchbase.… continue…