Pretty pictures

I’ve been reading a bunch of Joel on Software lately. He says a lot of things I find really interesting to think about. I’m not sure I agree with a lot of his opinions (he says far too many nice things about Microsoft and its methodologies, even if they might be true). Still, I like reading about software development techniques, and he’s verbose and well-spoken. If he were in St. Louis and hiring, I bet he’d be a good employer, too.

One quote I found that resonated:

If you show a nonprogrammer a screen which has a user interface which is 100% beautiful, they will think the program is almost done.

This turns out to be true of programmers, too. I remember in CS 194 when Greg and I showed our interface prototype, people said things like “wow, you’re almost done.” Of course, we were nothing of the sort. We’d spent a few hours mocking up an interface with PowerPlant, and there were clickable buttons and animated icons. But nothing actually did anything. We were weeks away from any sort of usable functionality. In fact, I’m sure there were interface elements in the demo that we ended up removing because we ran out of time to actually write the code behind them. But our demo looked cool!

(I note that I’ve mentioned my senior project a few times so far in this weblog. I guess it’s on my mind?)