don't do one thing, do it all; don't sell one piece of content, sell it all; don't store one piece of data, store it all. The Economy of Abundance is about doing everything and throwing away the stuff that doesn't work. In the Economy of Abundance you can have it allBut for most publishers this has been easier said than done. They may have an abundance of content, but building, feeding and tuning current online distribution and marketing systems is enough of a resource hog to dampen the experimental spirit at all but the richest. This, as you may have guessed, is the problem we're working on at Tizra. We think we're pretty close to solving it.
One ramification of Chris Anderson's economics of abundance argument was nicely summarized by David Hornik:
Tom Coates recently picked up a great post on a how much better a nice, intelligble URL scheme can make almost any web application. It's a place where system architecture and information architecture often diverge, and where thinking holistically about both at once from early on can result in software makes as much sense to people as to servers.
Jeremy Zawodny is rightly torqued about the needless complication of tools that purport to help with information sharing. The web's always had that pretty well covered, thanks to the simple magic of the URL. Anything you find, you can bookmark, email, or with a tinyurl, disseminate on a cocktail napkin. If my dear grandfather had been born later, he probably would never have picked up the habit of mailing articles lovingly clipped with a pen knife, and instead would have referred me to his del.icio.us feed. Zawodny points to a bizarre assortment of pop-ups, forms, and other unwelcome surprises that result from the "helpful" new sharing features, and notes...
they seem to be placed on the sites under the assumption that I'm too stupid to send email (to the people I presumably email frequently already) with a URL in it... Thanks for the confidence boost.At Tizra, we're more inclined to say thanks to for the opportunity to do better. Our AgilePDF™, for example, gives every page of an online PDF its own URL, so that users can find them, bookmark them, and yes, share them just the way they would any other web pages. Call us uninventive, but sometimes it's better to exploit rather than fight the standards and user habits that have made the web the fastest growing medium in history.
Leading a team of developers in the effort of building a robust, quality software product should involve the establishment of some process and tools to assist the team effort and serve as a safety net for the errors of getting people to work together. Continuous integration is, I believe, a crucial element of that process. Introduced by Martin Fowler and Matt Foemmel (see article Continuous Integration), continuous integration establishes the practice of frequent integration of work developed by the several team members verified by automated build and testing of integrated code within a clean sandbox. This practice is valuable for several reasons:
- It promotes the development of a clear process of building/deployment independent of any specificity of developer's platforms. Code that exists on a single platform only is bound to become dependent on specific aspects of that platform without anyone really noticing the dependencies until trying to port to other platforms. The existence of the integration clean sandbox allows these specific dependencies issues to not go unnoticed.
- It promotes the development of testing. Being based on the premise of "test often" it makes the testing development part of the team's process. The fact that there is a platform built specifically for build and testing verification transforms, from the developer's perspective, testing efforts into an even more useful and justifiable effort.
- It allows for quick detection of code integration issues by providing the clean slate for bringing all the code together. The little quirks of code combining can be detected by effective smoke/regression testing.
How many times have you, in your developer life, smacked our head and screamed "that was sooo obvious!" upon discovering a bug ? And how many times those were pretty simple bugs that could have been caught just by looking closely at the code and finding a silly mistake ? I'm guessing too many times.... :-) PMD, no real meaning to the acronym (see here), is a pretty handy tool that if used with some frequency can help you at least save your head from the smacking. PMD is a Java code analysis tool that draws from an experience-driven rule set to look into your code and flag possible mistakes. From unused imports to the always error prone braceless if statement, PMD can give you a pretty good coverage of what you can do to improve your code and reduce the probability of making a silly mistake. PMD can be run from within your ant or maven build file should you want to make running it part of your build process. You can find plugins for most of the popular IDEs to make it even simpler to run it and enhance your code. PMD is extensible letting you add your rules should you wish to enforce any kind of rule to your project. Finally, PMD is open sourced, licensed under a BSD-style license and available at sourceforge. All in all a pretty cool and valuable tool to improve your development process and maybe keep your development team a bit saner.