1991-2016—25 years of Art & Logic

The Apple Watch is Silly, Isn’t It?

The Apple Watch is Silly, Isn’t It?

I love my smartphone. Like many of us today, I couldn’t live without my phone. I don’t do anything these days until my phone tells me I need to do it. Ok. Maybe slightly hyperbolic, but I can certainly say without exaggeration that I’m a more organized and productive person because of my phone.

But, the idea of a smart, wearable device? I didn’t get the point of it. Why would I want to take the functionality of my phone and compress it into an even smaller screen? It’s already tough enough to navigate my 4.7-inch smartphone. The idea of navigating an interface only slightly larger than a postage stamp was laughable. (more…)

Composing and Improvising: the Art of Software Development

Composing and Improvising: the Art of Software Development

In the early years of Art & Logic, my wife and I liked to visit a small inn in Palm Springs called Villa Royale. It was lovely. Each room was decorated in a different European country theme. The proprietors traveled frequently and brought back regional artifacts to lend authenticity to the room designs. It was a relaxed and creative space — especially the small pool at the back of the property with its odd shape and faux antique fountain. This was before we had children, so we had lots of hours to while away. I spent many of them pacing around that pool and sketching out my vision for how Art & Logic should work. How would we recruit developers? How would we keep track of our time? How would we bill our clients? (more…)

Top Ten Ways in Which Software Development Is like Parenting

Top Ten Ways in Which Software Development Is like Parenting

One of our developers was recently talking about a personal milestone that happened to mark both his 20th year at Art & Logic as well as his son’s 20th birthday. That got me thinking about how much parenting and software actually have in common. For instance…

  1. It’s never done.
  2. The requirements are constantly changing.
  3. You never feel like you’re quite ready to start.
  4. It can cost way more than you could ever imagine.
  5. You can do a lot of it from home, but some travel will be necessary.
  6. You can find an endless supply of books telling you how to do it, but the best way to learn is on-the-job.
  7. You’ll make mistakes along the way.
  8. It can be rewarding one minute and equally exasperating the next.
  9. It can keep you up all night.
  10. And at some point, you have to do a public release and trust that you got it right.

Picasso vs. Cezanne: Experimental Innovation and Software Development

Picasso vs. Cezanne: Experimental Innovation and Software Development

In 2006, Wired Magazine published an article entitled “What Kind of Genius Are you?” The article highlights the work of economist David Galenson (currently a professor at the University of Chicago). Galenson is famous for postulating that artists fall into two classes: Conceptualists and Experimentalists. Conceptualists innovate radically, rapidly, and usually at early ages. The Wired article calls Picasso the archetype of Conceptual Innovation. Picasso upended modern art by inventing Cubism in his early 20’s. From the Wired article: (more…)

Why Refactor?

Why Refactor?

“What does this ‘refactor’ word you keep using really mean . . .?”

I could almost hear the client’s eyes and nose scrunching up in scrutiny. We were talking about realistic budgets and schedules for a potentially large, multi-developer feature addition to his existing application.

I switched gears, put on my imaginary professor glasses and set my imaginary apple on the corner of my desk.

“Well, you are right. It’s part of the software development and developers’ lexicon. It’s a word that means – sort of – ‘optimize’ or ‘clean up’ or ‘tighten’ and, really, all three of these things at once.”

“So, the code is dirty?” he intoned. I could hear the silent thought bubble form above his head — “but-I’m-paying-you-NOT-to-write-bad-code!” (more…)

Why Would Developers Hire Developers?

Why Would Developers Hire Developers?

Why would developers or other technology-driven companies hire a development firm? It happens more often than you think, and maybe not for the reasons you would expect. Some developers (by which we also mean in-house teams at technology companies) always use outside software developers because they do not actually build stuff in-house. More often than not, however, we find that companies with in-house software engineers find themselves in need of outside help for a variety of reasons, five of which we’ll address here. (more…)