Skip to main content


Posted by editor on September 26, 2005 at 8:29 AM PDT

What it takes to not suck

It's not often that an online screed is so brimming with ideas that each of them could support its own blog entry.

It's even less often that such a diatribe has a simple and blunt a title as In Why Software Sucks.

In it, Scott Berkun (author of The Art of Project Management) manages to cover:

  • what it means for something, i.e., software, to "suck"
  • how reactions to software are expressed
  • what users mean when they say software sucks
  • what they would say if it were good
  • how to mis-time and therefore mis-use your skills
  • learning curves and expectations
  • developer and user expectations
  • how bad things are made
  • the difference between the acts of construction and design
  • code prettiness and its tenuous relevance to application quality
  • how good things are made
  • how to look at and understand good things
  • the questions to ask yourself about the making of good things.

Laying these out as a list, they look like chapters of a book. This probably should be a book. I'd buy it.

This is a great essay, something you may want to think about, compare with your own situation and those you've been in before, and think critically about. Is Scott right on all these points? There's a discussion going on in an Artima blog entry by John D. Mitchell that digs in further and takes things in new directions. If you have time, do check it out.

In Also in
Java Today
this year's ONJava Reader Survey results are a window into the personalities, purposes, and choices of the Java community as a whole. The results show AJAX capturing mind share at an astonishing rate, Groovy disappearing, and J2SE 5.0 surprisingly slow to be adopted. The wrap-up article ONJava 2005 Reader Survey Results, Part 1 also has numbers from the Eclipse-NetBeans IDE battle, surprising demographic data, plus readers' requests for articles and predictions of the Next Big Thing in Java.

In Projects and
the Mobicents VoIP project has reached its first beta-quality milestone, version 1.0b1. According to the announcement "At this point the core engine is reasonably stable with support for auto deployment, persistence and basic High Availability. The performance is also acceptable for a wide range of applications except for high end carrier grade deployments."

The article A Wireless Web For Ocean Waters introduces the NetBEAMS project, part of the JDDAC Community, describing how it uses a network of sensor devices around the San Francisco Bay to monitor water quality. The sensors are based on the JDDAC transducer data models and interfaces, and use the cellular network to communicate.

In today's Forums, trembovetski questions the timing concerns
Re: Single Threaded Rendering and D3D, Windows Vista and OpenGL
: "Unfortunately STR for D3D will not happen for mustang. We'll work on it and porting to a newer D3D version in the future release. What makes you think Vista will be widely adopted on desktop so quickly that we must have this functionality now?"

ewin has some pessimistic thoughts
Re: Keeping up:
"Don't try to keep up with everything. Instead, ignore stuff as hard as you can. Sun comes up and did come up with stuff that dies and died faster than it is or was thrown at developers. [...] Of course it is not only Sun coming up with one trial balloon after the other. It is paramount to the Java ecosystem. There are two big disadvantages coming with this behavior. Of course it is impossible to follow everything. And, maybe even worse, existing things are badly maintained, because resources are used to invent the next stupid thing."

In today's Weblogs,
Eitan Suez describes
My Dream JDesktopPane, noting that
"one area of Swing that does not appear to be getting much attention these days (or that may have fallen out of favor with developers) are the elements that make up the Multiple Document Interface: JDesktopPane and JInternalFrame."

Konstantin I. Boudnik opens his weblog writing about
Java. Quality. Metrics:
"In this series of blogs I will talk about our goals, visions, and ways to measure, improve, and do smart test development for J2SE platform."

Romain Guy continues his look and feel series in
Synth Week, Components Orientation Support:
"Tiger introduced Synth, a cool and easy way to create custom look and feel. Unfortunately, it has some limitations. Discover how Mustang addresses one of the most important ones."

In today's
News Headlines

Registered users can submit news items for the href=""> News Page using our
news submission
. All submissions go through an editorial review before being
posted to the site. You can also subscribe to the href=""> News RSS

Current and upcoming Java

Registered users can submit event listings for the href=""> Events Page using our href=""> events submission form.
All submissions go through an editorial review before being posted to the

Archives and Subscriptions: This blog is delivered weekdays as
the Java
Today RSS feed
. Also, once this page is no longer featured as the
front page of it will be
archived along with other past issues in the href=""> Archive.

What it takes to not suck