Archive for May, 2008|Monthly archive page

Google AJAX Libraries API

This is pretty cool. We’re currently internationalising a couple of our social networking sites for the US and other international markets and I can see real benefits in using this approach, not least of which would be:

  • Caching can be done by Google… we don’t have to write and maintain additional code in our apps for this
  • Files are Gzipped
  • The files are hosted by Google which has a distributed CDN at various points around the world, so the files are “close” to the user (UK visitors get a copy from a UK based CDN, US Visitors from a US CDN, etc)
  • Because the libraries are hosted on the same URLs, if the user has used another application that uses this infrastructure, the file may already be cached on their local machine.
  • Google servers are able to deliver content fast!

Microsoft release source analysis tool

Microsoft have launched a new source analysis tool called StyleCop, similarly named to thier other analysis tool FxCop, but whereas FxCop is intended to check for good practice and standards against assemblies, StyleCop is more about checking good practice and standards in the source code itself.

Full details can be found on the MSDN Blog.

Initiatives towards encouraging well written, readable code are generally a good thing but it appears some already have some gripes with the standards MS are recommending with this tool – particularly with respect to the use of spaces over tabs – and the fact that, unlike FxCop, it is not possible to define one’s own rules, although having a set of common standards does imply one set of standards and not every “joe programmer’s” set of rules!

Also, it seems the tool simply reports the issues, which is as one would expect, and this has led some to propose that it should additionally perform a productivity function by automagically fixing all the issues as well.

It could be argued that in some respects it’s a good thing for a developer to return to thier code and manually correct these issues, since it might encourage a “right first time” approach in the future but with real world practicalities (deadlines et al!) I guess it’s a tough call to make.

Regardless, I’ll certainly be giving it a whirl – and correcting those issues …if I have time πŸ˜‰

Update: 27/05/2008

It seems you can configure the tool to enforce or ignore specific rules.

Additionally when I took a look around the settings panel, under the “Settings Files” tab there are options to merge with additional settings files – as yet however I can find no documentation on how to create a settings file!

John Snow

John Snow
My office window looks out over the John Snow pub in Soho and recently our talented leader put a spot map up on the wall which John Snow had used to illustrate how cases of cholera were centred around the pump in Broadwick Street.

Snow’s study was a major event in the history of public health, and can be regarded as the founding event of the science of epidemiology.

A famous physician, who attended Queen Victoria, he was also widely recognised as a leading pioneer in the development of anaesthesia in Britain.

A fascinating tidbit of Soho history and an insight into a remarkable unsung British hero!

A new space race

WOW – I installed Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope the other day and I’ve got to say it is absolutely awesome.

I always wanted a telescope but could never justify the cost when there are always more pressing priorities.

With WWT I can scan the entire night sky and zoom in on countless near and deep sky objects from NASA’s huge archive of images.

Initial impressions are that it beats the pants off of Google Sky but some commentators see this as the start of a different kind of space race that will herald in a new era in space research.

If you watch the Guided Tour on the Orion Nebula you can actually see protoplanetary discs forming around young stars, it’s that amazing you are able to see that level of detail right there in Orion’s belt – as if I wasn’t in awe enough when I looked up at the night sky this adds a whole new hypnotically beautiful dimension to it.

These increasingly powerful tools coupled with an increasing number of eyes looking outward has enormous potential for expanding our knowledge of our universe, and I always think it is really cool when technology enables your regular ‘joe’ to discover more about our fascinating arena of reality.

A useful resource?

I came across this and thought it might provide a useful resource, especially β€œThe reference section includes a growing library of test cases for checking cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility.”

I recently got stung by a cross-browser compatibility issue and had to roll back my changes (ouch!) so I’d be interested to know if/how anybody makes use of those test cases, as well as just the library in general.

Another commitment

As if I haven’t got enough to keep me exceptionally busy, I’ve now decided that I should start blogging.

Well I was kind of blogging anyway (if you count around 5 or 6 articles over the space of about 18 months entirely devoted to generating adsense revenue, the outcome of which was one of those “I can’t be arsed” type of lethargies after I made only $7) but this time I’m doing it for real and by that I mean I’m not in it for the readies, I’m just talking about what I love doing which, fortunately enough is also what I do for a living.

But wait, before you withdraw muttering about “another techie blog” , didn’t you notice the title? Well, the point is that although I shall indeed use my blog to post about my software development activities, there shall also be some (hopefully) interesting tidbits about my observations in and around the colourful and creative Soho area in the West End of London, where I am based, anecdotes about life in general and possibly some shockingly revealing insights into what it is like to be me (well, what it is like to be an extremely busy Dad, anyway!).

So lets hope that somehow, somewhere out there, somebody might just stumble across my blog and take a smidgin of pleasure out of reading what I have to say. If that does indeed happen, then I shall be delighted to count this endeavour as having been worthwhile.


P πŸ™‚