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I’ll spare the usual “I don’t post things” spiel, because that’s pretty obvious. I’ve been keeping really busy with other stuff, though.
Nowadays, I’m not doing web development anymore. I’m doing release management work instead. I’m the lead developer for a piece of software called Leroy. It’s basically a workflow system for continuous integration and deployment automation.
What it brings to the table that none of the other packages out there have, is the ability to “revision” the workflows you build in it. Workflows are more or less viewed as code … so you can actually have versions of your deployments that go alongside versions of your code. Testability, repeatability, all those good things.
The workflows themselves are described in XML. There’s no fancypants UI for it, it’s a low level, powerful thing. I’ve been working on it for some months now, and we’re finally starting to unveil it to the public. Go take a look and make your software development life cycle easier to deal with!
published: Thu, 29 Aug 2013 11:27
So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted here, and I figured I probably should at some point Something that has really bothered me of late is the proliferation of Ajax on … pretty much all websites.
Ajax, in layman’s terms, is a technology that basically lets you load things off the web server after the page is already delivered. It’s good (and arguably intended) uses are for things like … product selectors! Let’s say you want to download drivers for your printer. The thing that makes you first pick the type of product (Printer), then the model line (InkJet) then the model (2000) from lists that change based on what you pick is probably powered by Ajax. Very useful, very clean, very nice.
Other powerful uses of ajax can include chat boxes, or form validation (ajax that checks to see if the username you want to create is already in use on a registration form for instance). There’s even something to be said for web applications where there are multiple “tabs” to click thruogh, and each tab is loaded by Ajax.
However, I’m finding more often then not, Ajax is being used as a cheap fake-solution to the “first byte” problem. The “first byte” problem is, basically, minimizing the time between client request and the first byte of data being sent by the server. This “dead air” period of time is, more or less, overhead that makes the viewer perceive a site as “slow”.
What seems to be “the rage” now, is to serve up a really simple skeleton of a page so “something” shows up, and then use Ajax to fetch in the components of the page. To the end user, they see something on their screen almost immediately… but the screen starts jumping around like a man on fire as soon as the page “loads”.
I really hate this! For one thing, in my opinion, the “first-byte” problem is not that big a deal. But setting that user perception despute aside, the usability of this kind of software is horrible. Let’s use Google Documents as an example.
First, it loads the design with the list of items. Then, the screen “twitches” — I’m not sure what it’s loading, but something shows up somewhere that makes it twitch. And then maybe two to four seconds from start of page load later, the entire list of documents JUMPS about half an inch down as it ajaxes in the “Google Docs will soon be Google Drive” notification message.
If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you’re probably trying to click on what you want … just in time for what you want to JUMP half an inch down and for you to click on the wrong thing.
On what planet is this usable or a good idea? Firstly, it’s kind of dumb for a small block of text to be ajax’d in for an arbitrary reason. Seems like they could just load that up front with the rest of the design. Secondly, do they even use this thing? It caught me unawares about two or three times before I finally learned I needed to wait for Google to be done being stupid for me to click on the document I wanted.
I see this all over the place, loading a page, only to have it twitch and spasm until all the sub-components are loaded. I just don’t get it; it looks horrible, it’s terrible UI, and honestly I’d rather wait the extra couple of seconds for a whole page than hope that page is done moving all the links around.
Maybe I’m just crazy! Sorry for the rant without any “solution suggestions”, I kind of find the whole “problem” to be silly to begin with. Kind of solving to a non-issue
Anyway, I do intend to start posting some products here soon. Really!
published: Sun, 08 Jul 2012 22:12
published: Sun, 06 May 2012 19:25