Jul 17

Microsoft Popfly is a set of online visual tools for novice programmers and end-users to build Web pages, applications and games.  This was Microsoft’s attempt to bring programming to the masses, similar to Hypercard on the Macintosh, or the original Visual Basic on Windows before it became a real (complicated) object-oriented language under .NET.

But this fly lived for only two years.  Microsoft has just announced that on August 24, 2009, the Popfly service will be discontinued and all sites, references, and resources will be taken down.  At that time, access to your Popfly account, including any games and mashups that you have created, will be discontinued.

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Apr 15

Grok2 has highlighted an old but excellent essay about why computer programming is fun.  This quote is from one of our industry’s groundbreaking books, The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.  First published in 1974, the book posited the computer law that “adding programmers to a late project makes it later.” 

Brooks’ innocent but insightful comments about his delight in programming the green-screen dumb-terminal IBM OS/360 is even more relevant in today’s world of high-resolution dynamic graphical displays and the global reach of Web applications.  The players have changed, the technology has certainly changed, but the joy of computer programming endures.

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Feb 05

You know it’s time to find a new job when your boss buys you one of these chairs:

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Jan 14

Experts from more than 30 U.S. and international cyber-security organizations jointly released a consensus list of the 25 most dangerous programming errors that lead to security bugs and cyber-crime.

The impact of these programming errors is significant.  Just two of these errors resulted in more than 1.5 million website security breaches during 2008.  These breaches allowed malicious software to take control of the computers that visited those web sites, turning their computers into zombies that committed further cyber-crimes.

Shockingly, most programmers do not understand or look for these errors.  Colleges rarely teach programming students how to avoid these errors.  And most software companies don’t explicitly test for these errors before releasing their products.

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Jul 17

A creed is a statement of belief or faith often recited as part of a religious service or organizational gathering.  The word “creed” derives from the Latin credo (I believe) or credimus (we believe).  Perhaps the oldest is Apostle’s Creed cited in Christianity.  However, the Rifleman’s Creed is arguably the most famous, made popular by the Stanley Kubrick war movie “Full Metal Jacket” (warning: language).  This has inspired me (with tongue planted firmly in cheek) to write a creed for our noble profession of software development.

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May 07

It’s widely accepted in the software industry that some programmers are much more productive than others. Many experts cite an order-of-magnitude productivity difference between the “best” and “average” programmers.

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May 06

Two bytes meet.  The first byte asks, “Are you ill?” 
The second byte replies, “No, just feeling a bit off.”

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Apr 30

For many developers, the normal Google search engine is all they need to find source code on the Web to solve a particular programming problem.  But Google doesn’t understand code, so dedicated code search engines have emerged to bring code search to a new level.

Following is a list of all known code search engines and the tagline and “About” information from the site.  Please comment if you know of other code search engines, as I will keep this list updated.

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Apr 25

This is the first in what will be a series of articles, each highlighting an obscure programming language.

There are over 2700 languages spoken on Earth. And while there are only about a dozen popular programming languages, there are over 400 known programming languages, many of which you can see in this extensive “Hello World” collection.

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Apr 21

Ten Commandments I was reading an article about the death of actor Charlton Heston, most famous for his portrayal of Moses in Cecil B. DeMille’s epic movie, “The Ten Commandments.” That gave me the idea to write a “Programmer’s 10 Commandments,” but a quick perusal of Google showed that many people have already been there, done that.

So instead, here is a bunch of “Commandments for Programmers”:

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