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Paper prototyping

Posted by daniel on December 24, 2003 at 6:56 AM PST

Separating your UI from the model and keeping your interface thin are two recurring mantras. One technique that helps accomplish both goals while allowing customers to test for usability is paper prototyping.

Paper prototyping is "a technique that lets you mock up, test, and refine a design -- totally on paper -- before you write a line of code." Carolyn Snyder has gone back through her wonderful book on that topic and put together tips on how to get started working out your interface with paper along with Six Signs that you Should Use Paper Prototyping .

Building it with paper will tend to keep you focused on keeping the interface simple. Consider the implications of starting with the simplest design -- you're less likely to build things that users don't need. I've often wondered what percentage of development effort is spent on functionality that users don't really care about or aren't even aware of. It's kind of depressing to think about! But with a paper prototype, the opposite happens -- you can get reassurance early on that users will appreciate what you're building.

In Weblogs Michael Nascimento Santos points to the availability of J2SDK 1.5 alpha at the Java Lobby. The details are in his BREAKING NEWS: Got Tiger?. Bill Day writes about camera phones (which he calls cellcams, in The Great Cellcam Debate. He writes "Although the first generation of cellcams has sold me on the promise of converged devices, I'm looking for the next generation to truly deliver on that promise." M. Ranganathan puts a preprocessor at the Top on my javac wishlist. Erik Hatcher responds, in part, with a pointer to the Velocity Pre-Processor.

In Also in Java Today Jason Hunter writes about the May changes in Updating XQuery. He also includes a sidebar about " a proposal from Oracle and IBM to create a common API for XQuery/Java interaction. As JDBC is for SQL, so this API will be for XQuery. The proposal was made to Sun's Java Community Process (JCP) and accepted as JSR-225, titled "XQuery API for Java (XQJ)." The API is likely to live in the javax.xml.xquery package."

You know about the String pool and how it effects tests for equality. Vladamir Roubstov digs underneath the covers and shows that interned Strings can be garbage collected in his JavaWorld Q&A item Does an object exist if you can't test its identity?. He then goes on to show "how equal String literals do not always correspond to the same String instance in a program."

In Projects and Communities, James Gosling blogs about The Message of Christmas, the Geek Version and recommends "The Evolution of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod. [...] It's a very readable Game Theory book that contains a profound message of hope: cooperation is the optimal strategy, not conflict." The Java Games community forums contain lists of new games on the Game News and the Games Links forums.

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