In our last wonderful adventure, I lamented the state of website registration, and took umbridge with SQL Server Central’s approach of requiring a user to log in before viewing the article.
Since then, there have been two developments:
SQL Server Central‘s registration requirement can be beat by Firebug
The CEO of Red Gate Software personally* told me that they’d get rid of the registration requirements for that website.
All it took was Joel Spolsky mentioning it on his Google talk about Stack Overflow.
As an aside, while I’m very pleased with Red Gate’s move, I can’t believe it took a celebrity calling them out for them to change their tune. If they had taken an afternoon and conducted a usability test, I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t have found out that this is an issue for users.
Of course, this brings out another problem. I’m using the blogs of two well-known programmers to add credence to what I believe as a programmer. Why shouldn’t I? They’re smart guys, and they get things done. The problem it causes is that for all the progress we’ve had in Software Engineering, the ‘best-practices’ are still a collection of blog posts inter-mingled with light reading.
Unlike other disciplines, there is no Software Engineering bible that contains the canonical Dos and Don’ts. There can never be. Once a book is published, it could be obsolete. We move too quickly for any one book on Software engineering to have a long half-life.
Our ‘Bible’ is and probably always will be a collection of blog posts that reference books that are either already irrelevant, or soon will be.
As an example, Steve Krug’s book, “Don’t make me think” covers web 1.0 very well, but doesn’t cover web 2.0 at all. How should web designers handle Ajax? What is obtrusive, what are the best practices? We only have blogs to tell us, and perhaps that’s the way it should be.