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Showing posts from April, 2008

give us your email please...

As an IT professional my email inbox is constantly inundated by offers, white papers and seminar invitations to various sponsored events wishing to sell one thing or another under the guise of doing my business a favor. I usually skim and delete the messages that aren't relevant to my business focus or that I otherwise don't find interesting. Today I received a ZiffDavis letter filled with sponsored white papers , now I've signed up to ZiffDavis events before but I can almost swear that my account information goes kaput every few months. I was about to just delete the message but then noticed a white paper that was relevant to my business and grudgingly slicked the disengenuously titled "download now" button.

As I was expecting that action took me to another page where I was instructed to enter my email address. Okay, no problem I have several email addresses to fill up with the junk that you eventually receive when you sign up for these papers and used one. Now y…

making it socially sticky

One of the key characteristics to the success of recent web 2.0 websites has been the ability to get the customers to keep coming back for more by leveraging the desire for people to engage socially with their friends and new people all over the world. As I finish up the consumer site of my start up I've been thinking of ways that I can enhance the social stickiness of my web site beyond the (imo) innovative features that allow that already. In thinking about this problem I've isolated a few points that I see as key goals for any start up wishing to use social stickiness in their business models to employ:



Let your users control who they see and who sees them. This allows the user to limit their access and exert a level of privacy on your system. People hate (at least I do) being immediately available to other users on a social network if they can not control that contact in some way. This also allows users to control their exposure to spam!Allow users to notify one another of …

more site design popcorn...

It has been a long time since I sat down and designed the UI for a consumer facing web site. The last few years I'd been working on the UI elements for the management interfaces of the distributed framework that powers the consumer collaboration site. Now that I am head deep in the task of writing feature lists, designing comparison tables and writing description pages for the various pages that are important for a consumer site I remember just how boring it can be! Tons of boring pop corn, tons of basic html but much of it repetive save for a few minor changes which must be done manually (especially when doing comparision tables) argh!

Good to know that I am almost done, but I was able to make several choices in the design of the site that might be instructive to those working on or soon to be working on a similar project. First, a short description of the page and then I'll go over the choices I made to expedite facile management of the content later as the need arises. The s…

Commerce Enable Nirvana on the way...

After deciding to bootstrap the launch of my site I had to get to work putting together the consumer facing pages that will allow internet users to quickly figure out our services and get started right away using the service. The last week has been days and nights of long and tedious task sessions tweaking html tables to look just so, rendering graphics and updating style sheet styles but I am fast approaching completion of the various pages for the site. One set of code that I am looking forward to is the code for enabling automatic e commerce. When I was working at TheStreet I was always curious about the commerce code used on the web site to register new accounts and confirm provided payment information. Since then I've picked up extensive knowledge of the software design process far beyond the knowledge of content management systems and xml feeds that I specialized in at my time with the company. Now, I am finally getting into the meat of a commerce system, and like all things…

Google lights a Campfire...

This week Google launched their App Engine Platform to add their hand to the collection of products and services provided by large and small providers of web frameworks. As a developer of just such a framework still in steath, the announcement is not a surprise (if it is to any of the other guys they may have a few things more to worry about) but with this announcement Google also announced a few "proof of concept" applications built using their App Engine. To demonstrate the ability to build apps quickly, three of their developers are said to have worked on their "spare time" to create a free web group chat application called HuddleChat very much like the service provided by 37Signals Campfire product. I am quite familiar with Campfire as in my initial research for developing a collaboration API in my framework 2 years ago I came across their website. The product serves a simple purpose of allowing a team of individuals to come together and converse in a chat room…

Michio Kaku on Time

A former professor of mine from City has been a strong proponent of science and teaching it to the masses. Along with other such popular authors in the field Professor Kaku uses his keen understanding of the fundamentals of reality and his excellent speaking skills to spread the wonder of technology and science. Currently on several cable channels (I am watching it on "The Science" channel) Professor Kaku is tackling the idea of "time" , what it is and what it means from a scientific , geological, human and universal perspective.

I recall well the class I took with him , "The Physics of Science Fiction" he was always willing to discuss and explain concepts and did so in a such a way that you just got it. Check your local listing to see if you can catch the episodes ...or they might be on youtube. ;)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/time.shtml

Another bug in the eternity bin...

I just finished implementing full image branding capabilities for the multi-tenant site management options provided by my platform. One great consequence of the winding down phase of a piece of software development is the reduction of load that attends the end of the line. If your design is one that is conducive to scalability, both in terms of adding new code and functionality to the platform via the API and as well by run time scalability, then as time goes by you should find that it is easier to do more complex things. I was able to implement the branding logic very easily, it only required adding two new columns to the associated site table, the rest of the changes were UI related to enable mutation of the new values.

The branding is a perfect example, being able to allow for distinct managed and secured sites on the same platform required design decisions that were coded into the core API, quite literally several years ago. The main decision was to chose a permission structure tha…

avoiding de spaghettification in client implementations of good OO classes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilkins_Sound

That's about as political as this post will get. nuff said.

In other news, I did not get much done today. I rebuilt the software distribution for a windows environment , incorporating the fix from last night that I was working on for the previous 3 days (but thought would only take 3 minutes)...ha!

The fix was in the code to my guest pm dashboard API that I added a few weeks ago. If you have ever been to a site with a "live help" feature, you know what a guest pm dashboard is about. I targeted it as an easily added service to my collaboration API because it takes advantage of the unique architecture of my distributed framework. (Built in multi-tenancy, build in fine grained permissions, automatic auditing of guest requests and agent engagement history) The solution details are not really relevant but the bug highlights a problem that can crop up when too much code is put into a single dynamic resource. For example, recommended OO d…