Ideas Of March: Don't Read The Comments

It's that time of year again, time for an "Ideas of March" post (you can read more about this initiative on Chris Shiflett's blog). Most years many bloggers pledge to write more often, start or restart their blogs, and generally embrace the idea that some thoughts are worth more than 140 characters. Chris himself wrote this year about the demise of google reader, and about blogging as a way of curating and retaining ownership of your ideas, which I thought was an excellent point to make. Continue reading

Study Days: Keeping on Top of the New Shiny

One of the biggest dangers in this industry is getting left behind as the tools evolve very quickly. For me, working alone or as the most senior person on a project in most cases, this becomes doubly hard as there's nobody in my office to show me a new trick or share an idea that he or she learned in a previous job. So how do I deal with this?

I take "study days".
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Five Clues That Your API isn't RESTful

I get a lot of emails asking me to get involved with API projects, and that means I see a lot of both implemented and planned "RESTful" APIs. Now, I absolutely love REST and for a data-driven application, it would be my first choice. A service of some other description may work better for other scenarios or skill sets, and non-RESTful services can be very, very useful. If you tell me that your service is RESTful, then I expect it to be. If you're not sure, look out for these clues:

It has a single endpoint

I don't really care what else is going on in your API, any "RESTful" API which has a statement such as "all requests are made to http://example.com/rest" is ... not RESTful. REST is all about handling representations of resources, each is represented by its own URI and we operate directly on that. If it looks like "pretty URLs", then it's probably along the right lines. Continue reading

Teaching Those Beginning The Journey

Becoming a master developer is like becoming a master craftsman; you just can't rush the process. You learn the basics, apply those skills, and over time master them and adapt them to be your own. As time goes on, you take on bigger and more complicated tasks, and apply appropriate skills to those, and so on. Our journey as developers is really much the same and yet sometimes I feel that we don't help those at the very start of the journey as much as we could. Continue reading

A Freemium Business Model

I have an android smartphone, and I have *very* few paid for applications on it. Mostly I have document viewers, the wordpress app, mail/calendar/map from google, and so on - plus a couple of free games. In January I downloaded a new game and I've been playing it pretty regularly since*.

Tapfish is a game where you can buy, raise and sell fish - like a tamagotchi, all grown up and moved to the smartphone platform (and prettier!) You can play quite a bit of the game without paying for anything - so much in fact that I got quite into it. When you consider that I've played daily for 6 weeks, 10 quid for the add-ons that will let me play more of the game seems reasonable. Continue reading