Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Websites That Don't Need to Be Made Anymore 161

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but there is a finite number of social networking or selling websites that the world needs. Here is a collection of the eight kinds of websites that absolutely don't need to be made anymore. I'd add dating sites and anybody who uses pop-up ads myself, but I think that would eliminate half the Web.

Submission + - Is Apple's Multi-Touch Patent Valid? (bnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Ther'es evidence that Apple's multi-touch patent application may have failed to list some prior art that showed gestures in multi-touch interfaces as early as the mid 1980s. Some of these examples even appear in the bibliography Wayne Westerman's doctoral dissertation, and he's one of the inventors on the application's list. If true, that could leave them wide open for legal attack, should they try suing someone like Palm for patent infringement. Also, Apple may be infringing some key multi-touch patents owned by the University of Delaware — and co-developed by Westerman while getting his doctorate.

iPlayer Released for Mac, Linux; Adobe Announces AIR for Linux 231

Zoxed writes "The BBC reports that their iPlayer has just been released for Mac and Linux (download page). It is based on Adobe Air, but unfortunately the service is only available to UK IP address, so I can not test it out from my adopted homeland of Germany. Perhaps a UK-based Slashdotter could review it?" In related news, an anonymous reader writes "Adobe has announced a Linux version of its AIR 1.5 runtime environment that is supposed to allow rich web apps developed on it to run on Fedora Core 8, Ubuntu 7.10 and openSuse 10.3 with no modification. The company released versions for Windows and Mac OS X back in November."
Data Storage

Toshiba To Launch First 512GB Solid State Drive 256

designperfection9 writes "Toshiba said Thursday that it will show off a new line up of NAND-flash-based solid state drives with the industry's first 2.5-inch 512GB SSD. The drive is based on a 43 nanometer Multi-Level Cell NAND and claims to offer a high level of performance and endurance for use in notebooks as well as gaming and home entertainment systems."

Comment No silver bullet (Score 1) 541

Like all work, software development can be categorized into three groups
  1. Problem definition
  2. Problem solving
  3. Routine work

Routine work is defined as work where both the problem and solution is known. In problem solving, the problem is known, but not the solution. The hardest group is problem definition, where neither the problem nor the solution is known.

When people are comparing software development with building a house (a ridicules metaphor but one that seems to stick around), they are talking about routine work and to some degree problem solving. Software development in these two categories can benefit from rigid processes control and following some form of software development method.

There have been a few articles about the teams that build software for the space shuttle program and space probes and how well they build software, with close to zero bugs, delivery on time and within scope. It can be useful to look at their techniques, methods and tools as well as the development process. However keep in mind that these groups build software mainly in the problem solving and routine work category. Building software after a stable blueprint is "easy" and as long as you have good developers and follow a proven process it is hard to fail. Not that I don't admire those guys, but I am not surprised that they succeed.

However, the reason software projects often fails spectacularly is because they fall into the problem definition category. That is; no one really knows what the problem is and there is no clear solution. In this case, the target (i.e. realization of the specification) is fluctuating and because of this, it is very hard if not impossible to create a good project plan, allocate resources and estimate the cost.

Projects in the Problem solving and Routine work category will almost always succeed no matter which software development method, techniques and tools are used. In fact, the often debunked waterfall method can be useful for many of these projects.

For projects in the problem definition category, using such methods will be fatal. Instead some form of iterative evolutionary development process must be used to try and narrow the scope, follow the target and at the same time have some form of forward progress. There is no silver bullet as Fred Brooks concluded a long time ago. If you only have one set of tools (method) in your box, like most consulting companies, you will fail sooner or later.

The solution is to realize that each software project is different and to have a box full of tools, techniques, principles that can be applied to different situations and problems. And in this case; "death to methods!" Following a software development method for projects mainly in the Problem definition category is fatal.

Slashdot Top Deals

Any given program will expand to fill available memory.