# Friday, 30 April 2004

Didn't developers always create the form first, then the function?

Usability Observation - "Toolbox First" for Forms Programming.  I just ran a usability study with 9 participants where we asked them to build two forms...

So from now I think that when we think about feautres that support any UI programming, we should always think that the user is going to approach it by laying out the form first, and then making the design of the form work by writing code, running wizards, using other features, etc... If users have to do work somewhere else in Visual Studio before they can start laying controls onto the form, they probablyt won't discover this dependency, or won't want to use that feature.  [via ricksp's weblog]

I am absolutely astonished that MS have only just come to this opinion. I've been programming for (gulp) 30 years - in the non UI days (tape/cards and paper printout) the function would come first but since starting with UI (Apple II onwards) the form would be designed and then the code put in to make it work. Heck, after the spec is done don't even COBOL programmers work like this - design the screens on screen coding sheets and then implement the code to do the screens and then the business logic to wire them together?

Is this the first time MS have done this sort of study - if so, why? If not, what was the result of previous studies?

Perhaps I am (or was) at odd with the rest of the world - I did write a database program where you never designed the database per se - you designed forms and the database tables were created for you as a result of your form design.

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# Thursday, 29 April 2004

Isn't this going full circle?

Why did you choose to launch an aggregation blog?

 [via Micro Persuasion: Q&A with Robert Scoble on Blogging, Media and PR]

Since Dave Winer has linked to the 'interview' it will get a ton of hits - and Dave was one of the original Web loggers - those who logged the web; a list of links to things that they deemed, for whatever reason, interesting. Now Scoble has to come up with a new name - why?


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ASP.NET Server control for MeadCo ScriptX

So that I don't loose this (updated so doesn't look gobble-de-gook):


<%@ Control Language="c#" %> 
<script language="C#" runat="server">
public string guid = "";
public string src = "lic.mlf";
public int revision = 1;
public string codebase="http://www.meadroid.com/scriptx/";
<object id="secmgr" style="DISPLAY: none" codeBase="<%= codebase %>smsx.cab#Version=6,1,431,2" 
classid="clsid:5445be81-b796-11d2-b931-002018654e2e" viewastext>
<param name="GUID" value="<%= guid%>" >
<param name="PATH" value="<%= src%>" >
<param name="REVISION value="<%= revision%>" >
<object id="factory" 
   codeBase="<%= codebase %>smsx.cab#Version=6,1,431,2"
   classid="clsid:1663ed61-23eb-11d2-b92f-008048fdd814" viewastext>

Which can be used thus:

<%@ Register TagPrefix="MeadCo" TagName="ScriptX" Src="scriptx.ascx" %>

and then in the page:

   src="http://www.meadroid.com/scriptx/xlic.mlf" id="ScriptX1"
   Visible="False" />

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W3C and Web Applications.

The W3C is sponsoring a workshop on Web Apps and Compound Docs in San Jose, June 1st & 2nd.

From the web site:

Position papers submitted for this workshop topic should address at least some of the following questions:

  • What functionality is needed for Web applications? What should a hosting environment provide?
  • How much of a Web application should be declarative? How much in script?
  • How are they related to Web documents, which are normally static?
  • Is there a need for a standard set of user interface controls? Should these controls use the native platform look and feel?
  • What APIs are needed for Web applications (eg. retrieving and sending data over the network, parsing XML, client-side storage)?
  • How should a Web application and its related resources (e.g. images, sounds) be packaged?
  • What security issues need to be addressed?
  • To what extent can application behavior be usefully abstracted from platform specific details of UI controls? How can the application integrate different modality interfaces (eg. voice, pen, keystrokes)? How to address richer models of interaction management that go beyond simple event handlers?

[via DonXML Demsak's Grok This]

Hmmm, interesting - there is a mailing list and the workshop will also have a public web site. Worth following to see what is presented and conclusionsl, if any.

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And another MS timeline goes 'phut' (XP SP2 this time)

Not long ago the timeline was first half of the year. There is now speculation here and here that it is now delayed to, how shall we put this, 'early in the second half of the year'. An RC2 still seems on its way in May and to bang my favourite drum (which I have banged with various MS people to no effect what-so-ever) will SDK bits be provided?


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# Wednesday, 28 April 2004

Shrink-wrap software

Why shrink wrap software won't die.  Tangible assets [via The Register]

 Interesting, but no analysis of the type of software sold via this channel, or is it everything?

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# Tuesday, 27 April 2004

Interesting visual

"rollers".  [via Critical Section]

Rather than nick the whole article and repeat here, you'll have to follow the link. 

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12.1 million UK households online

Society: Internet Access.  12.1 million households online [via National Statistics Online]

In the fourth quarter of 2003, 49 per cent households in the UK (12.1 million) could access the Internet from home, compared with just 9 per cent (2.2 million) in the same quarter of 1998.



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# Wednesday, 21 April 2004

Timeline on XP SP2

Rebecca Norlander, group manager for the SBTU, spoke with Nash and confirmed that a second test version of Service Pack 2, known as Release Candidate 2 (or RC2) will be released in May, and that the final version of XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) is still on schedule for the first half of the year. More release candidates are possible after the RC2 release, depending on customer feedback, Norlander said.  [via InfoWorld: Microsoft executives face questions on XP SP2: April 20, 2004: By : PLATFORMS]

Still waiting for an SDK here, still waiting for info on how the SetHomePage() binary behavior knows that its been called from within a user initiated context. If MS authored stuff can do it, why can't the rest of us - or have I missed the obvious?

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