I've been a little slack with the posting

I've been busy and haven't had a chance to get things posted like I wanted to. Work and personal commitments have a habit of getting in the way of otherwise good intentions. I'll do my best to get a few posts out this week and I'll see if I can't get caught back up and maybe get a few posts written and scheduled.
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Get your contractors under control

In a recently conversation I was told of a situation which I've experienced in the past and I'm sure others have as well.
While on holiday the code I'm responsible for has been modified by an external contractor. Before my holiday I pointed out that we should make sure version control is used by anyone making any change. It wasn't. Now I'm frustrated and pissed off.
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another new design

You may notice that this site has yet another new design today. I've left blogger and gone back to wordpress and hosted the blog. I like Blogger and I really like the idea of hosted applications but it just wasn't giving me the control I wanted and I was finding it time consuming to get things the way I wanted. 

It's not you, it's me.

Hosted applications are great and Blogger has got to be one of the best free ones out there. I really do like it, but we wanted to make all our goroam pages consistent, so we bought the great thesis theme from diythemes. We bought a developer licence so we could use it on all our sites and would be free to modify it. 
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There is no excuse for... back buttons that don't work

The back button is one of the strongest and most pervasive conventions available to developers, yet some fail to use it correctly and see it as a burden rather than a resource. The fact of the matter is all users great and small know it's there. From novice to expert they quickly learn to know and use the back button and taking that away from them in your application, well there is no excuse for it.

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Saying no some more

Re-reading my post about saying no got me thinking about the other reasons we've turned down work. It's hard getting work in the first place and doubly hard turning it down, but sometimes you just have to say no.

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There is no excuse for... bad URLs

The address bar is at the top of every user's browser and it's often totally overlooked by developers. We all know we should think a little when choosing a domain name, well mostly, but after we've done that normally let the our toolkit or internal organisation work against the user and clutter up the address bar with crap.

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Spartan Programming

Jeff Atwood was pleased to find that his coding conventions, the ones we all settle into, have been tending towards those of a style of programming called Spartan Programming. Which is minimalist programming, as in "a spartan lifestyle". Check his post out for a more in depth explination but suffice to say the aim is to reduce complexity in any way possible.

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Release early - Release often

Agile methodologies have recently been getting something of a bad name, it's not unwarranted but it is unfortunate. The problem isn't actually the process, an agile process will work very well - if the infrastructure supporting it is capable of of being agile as well. By supporting infrastructure for a process here I don't mean servers and software I mean the people and the organisational foundations. The organisation trying to use an agile process must it's self be agile, quick to react to change. Agile processes that work have one thing in common, they encourage features to be released early and released often.

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Minimum Stable Feature-set

From time to time this blog will reflect a decision we take as a company, this is one of those times. We're currently working on a product called Citrus, a better way for agents to sell property online because frankly existing stuff sucks, scheduled for launch in the autumn.

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