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  • How can a non-technical person can learn to write a spec for small projects?

    - by Joseph Turian
    How can a non-technical person learn to write specs for small projects? A friend of mine is trying to outsource some development on a statistics project. In particular, he does a lot of work in excel, and wants to outsource the creation of scripts to do what he now does by hand. However, my friend is extremely non-technical. He is poor at writing technical specs. When he does write a spec, it is written the way you would describe doing something in excel (go to this cell and then copy the value to that cell). It is also overly verbose, and does examples several times. I'm not sure if he properly describes corner cases. The first project he outsourced was a failure. I think he overdescribed some details, but underdescribed corner cases. That and/or the coder he hired didn't think through the corner cases and ask appropriate questions. I'm not sure. I got on IM with him and it took me half an hour to dig out a description that should have taken five minutes or less to describe. I wrote the scripts for him at the end, but didn't examine why his process with the coder failed. He has asked me for help. However, I refuse to get involved, because taking his spec and translating it into clear requirements is 10x more work than executing on a clearly written spec. What is the right way for him to learn? Are there resources he could use? Are there ways he can learn from small, low-pressure practice projects with coders? [edit: Most of his scripts are statistical and data processing oriented. e.g. take this column and run an average over it. Remove these rows under these conditions. So the challenge is different than spec'ing a web app.]

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  • How can I give a basic idea of what I'm working on to a non programmer?

    - by Jesse
    As a relatively new programmer (1 year professionally, many years as an amateur) I've run into many situations that sent me running to Stack Overflow for answers that failed my meagre experiences. Tonight I received the hardest question ever. My wife asked me: What are you working on? The questions is deceptive in it's simplicity. A straight forward and truthful answer of "I'm working on a c# class module for monitoring database delivery times" is sure incite suggestion of attempts to confuse. My second instinct was to suggest that it couldn't really be explained to a layperson, after very brief consideration I came to the conclusion that this would likely result in a long and sleepless night on the sofa. The end result was a muddled answer along the lines of "something to monitor automatic things to make sure they're delivered on time". The reception was fairly chilly, I had to make many assurances that I was not insulting her ample intelligence. My question is thus, what is the best way to discuss your work as a programmer with your significant other who is not.

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  • In general, are programmers or artists paid better?

    - by jokoon
    I'm in a private game programming school where there also are 3D art classes; sadly, there seems to be a lot more students in those latter classes, something like 50% or 100% more. So I was wondering: in the real video game industry, which of the artist/modeler or the programmer is more likely to be wanted in a company, so who will be paid more ? I'm sure there are artists which are obviously paid better than other programmers and I'm sure there are other sorts of jobs in the game industry (sound, management, testers), but I wanted to know if there is a general tendency for one or the other. And sometime I wonder even if an artist can happen to write scripts...

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  • What Is StreamInsight? A Primer for Non-Programmers

    - by Roman Schindlauer
    Are you trying to figure out whether StreamInsight might be something you could use, but you’re having trouble sifting through all the programming jargon that’s used to describe it? StreamInsight is, ultimately, a set of programming tools, and at some point it takes a programmer to implement a StreamInsight solution. But it really should be possible to get a handle on what StreamInsight is all about even if you’re not a programmer yourself. A new article published in the TechNet Wiki may be able to help: StreamInsight for Non-Programmers. It gives an overview of the technology, but it leaves out the C# references and relates StreamInsight to more familiar SQL databases and queries. Check it out. When you’re done there and are ready to dig a little deeper, take a look at Get Started with StreamInsight 2.1. That article should help you navigate through the StreamInsight official documentation and other resources. And, as always, you can post questions or comments here or on the TechNet Wiki. Regards, The StreamInsight Team

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  • What Is StreamInsight? A Primer for Non-Programmers

    - by Roman Schindlauer
    Are you trying to figure out whether StreamInsight might be something you could use, but you’re having trouble sifting through all the programming jargon that’s used to describe it? StreamInsight is, ultimately, a set of programming tools, and at some point it takes a programmer to implement a StreamInsight solution. But it really should be possible to get a handle on what StreamInsight is all about even if you’re not a programmer yourself. A new article published in the TechNet Wiki may be able to help: StreamInsight for Non-Programmers. It gives an overview of the technology, but it leaves out the C# references and relates StreamInsight to more familiar SQL databases and queries. Check it out. When you’re done there and are ready to dig a little deeper, take a look at Get Started with StreamInsight 2.1. That article should help you navigate through the StreamInsight official documentation and other resources. And, as always, you can post questions or comments here or on the TechNet Wiki. Regards, The StreamInsight Team

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  • What trivial real-life example do you use to explain programming to total non-programmers?

    - by anon
    Programmers seem to live in a world of their own (as this site indicates), with their own vibrant culture - and their own premises and vocabulary. Once we've been in the field for a bit, we take a lot of things for granted. But I'm often faced with the question "What do you do?" Or "What is programming?" I generally try to answer this with a small, often trivial, real-world example of how programming is prevalent in our everyday lives and keeps things running. The example I use most often is an elevator - someone has to program the logic of that... And I've seen elevators that are "smart" and ones that are quite backwards and foolish. (And you can easily understand if/decision and looping from that... incorporates a lot of important programming concepts in a very small example.) I've sometimes heard people use traffic lights as an example. What example do you / would you use to explain the concept of programming to someone completely clueless?

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  • Abstraction is for lame programmers ? [closed]

    - by Zaban Khuli
    Hi, there's this senior developer in my company who's (in his own opinion) a pretty good C programmer. I happen to be from functional background (ML, to be specific) and so for me composition and abstraction are the two basic elements of programming. But this MrSmartyPants has got some kind of superiority complex and he'd always argue with me that abstraction is for lame programmers and _real_ programmers do not need it. Is it a problem with this guy or all C programmers have this opinion that abstraction is for lame programmers?

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  • Why do business analysts and project managers get higher salaries than programmers?

    - by jpartogi
    We have to admit that programming is much more difficult than creating documentation or even creating Gantt chart and asking progress to programmers. So for us that are naives, knowing that programming are generally more difficult, why does business analysts and project managers gets higher salary than programmers? What is it that makes their job a high paying job when even at most time programmers are the ones that goes home late?

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  • How should a new programmers behave at their first job? [on hold]

    - by Dimension
    What are programmers expected to know at their first job and how old will they typically be? I'm not going to school so I'm not around other programmers, therefore I have no idea what kind of programmers they are when they first get hired. I just want to get an idea what the median programmer's knowledge looks like. Will they already have had experience with version control? Are they writing good maintainable code? And what are they expected to do do? I'm programming my own software at home and because of the complexities of it and how new I am to programming I'm sometimes throwing all the code out and starting again with a better design. Aren't new programmers going to write terribly structured software for their employer, or is someone else going to be making the decisions on how everything is laid out?

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  • Getting Things Done for Programmers

    - by thycotic
    Ben has posted about one of my favorite topics – Getting Things Done from a programmer’s perspective.   Jonathan Cogley is the CEO of Thycotic Software, an agile software services and product development company based in Washington DC.  Secret Server is our flagship web-based password management product.

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  • Java Champion Jorge Vargas on Extreme Programming, Geolocalization, and Latin American Programmers

    - by Janice J. Heiss
    In a new interview, up on otn/java, titled “An Interview with Java Champion Jorge Vargas,” Jorge Vargas, a leading Mexican developer, discusses the process of introducing companies to Enterprise JavaBeans through the application of Extreme Programming. Among other things, he gives workshops about building code with agile techniques and creates a master project to build all apps based on Scrum, XP methods and Kanban. He focuses on building core components such as security, login, and menus. Vargas remarks, “This may sound easy, but it’s not—the process takes months and hundreds of hours, but it can be controlled, and with small iterations, we can translate customer requirements and problems of legacy systems to the new system.” In regard to his work with geolocalization, he says: “We have launched a beta program of Yumbling, a geolocalization-based app, with mobile clients for BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, and Nokia, with a Web interface. The first challenge was to design a simple universal mechanism providing information to all clients and to minimize maintenance provision to them. I try not to generalize a lot—to avoid low performance or misunderstanding in processing data. We use the latest Java EE technology—during the last five years, I’ve taught people how to use Java EE efficiently.” Check out the interview here.

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  • Facilitating XNA game deployments for non programmers

    - by Sal
    I'm currently working on an RPG, using the RPG starter kit from XNA as a base. (http://xbox.create.msdn.com/en-US/education/catalog/sample/roleplaying_game) I'm working with a small team (two designers and one music/sound artist), but I'm the only programmer. Currently, we're working with the following (unsustainable) system: the team creates new pics/sounds to add to the game, or they modify existing sounds/pics, then they commit their work to a repository, where we keep a current build of everything. (Code, images, sound, etc.) Every day or so, I create a new installer, reflecting the new images, code changes, and sound, and everyone installs it. My issue is this: I want to create a system where the rest of the team can replace the combat sounds, for instance, and they can immediately see the changes, without having to wait for me to build. The way XNA's setup, if I publish, it encodes all of the image and sound files, so the team can't "hot swap." I can set up Microsoft VS on everyone's machine and show them how to quickly publish, but I wanted to know if there was a simpler way of doing this. Has anyone come up against this when working with teams using XNA?

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  • Custom Skin & Dotnetnuke Programmers in India

    DNN Consultants and Skin Developers in India have been there at the helm managing affairs and ensuring that companies looking for affluent web designs get their needs met in the form of enterprising ... [Author: John Anthony - Web Design and Development - May 28, 2010]

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  • Game Programming Resources for Programmers

    - by user17028
    I am a self-taught high school programmer (have an internship at local university), and understand the fundamentals of C++ and other related languages. I am looking to expand into game development, and have found a good DirectX book from which I will study. However, what are some good resources (online tutorials/books/etc) for C++ game programming which are tailored towards someone who is already experienced with C++? Most of the resources I have found attempt to teach basic programming, then get into game development.

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  • Game Design Resources for Programmers

    - by user17028
    I am a self-taught high school programmer (have an internship at local university), and understand the fundamentals of C++ and other related languages. I am looking to expand into game development, and have found a good DirectX book from which I will study. However, what are some good resources (online tutorials/books/etc) for C++ game programming which are tailored towards someone who is already experienced with C++? Most of the resources I have found attempt to teach basic programming, then get into game development.

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  • No excuse for programmers and multiple platforms

    <b>Technology & Life Integration:</b> "Programming across multiple operating systems is easy. I do it. I have done it for several years. I don't need to have seperate code trees for each operating system. I have a single set of code that I work on and it compiles on different operating systems without having to modify the code!"

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  • A report writer for non-programmers?

    - by Earlz
    Hello, we are wanting for users to be able to write their own reports in our application. It is a web application. We don't care if they must download an application in order to create reports, but we need for them to be able to print off reports from the web in PDF format or similar. The report writer is to be used by non-programmers, or at best very light programmers(like the ones that make VBA macros and such). (the writer is not a core part of the program though. So if there is a learning curve, then that is acceptable to a certain extent) We were looking at Crystal Reports but it seems like it'll cost $7000 which is just way too much for right now(though our system is very flexible so could support it eventually). We are also looking at Fast Reports which seems pretty promising, but I'm not sure the report writer would be easy for non-programmers to grasp. Can someone recommend a good report writer for non programmers that won't break the bank?

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  • Why do programmers use or recommend Mac OS X?

    - by codingbear
    I've worked on both Mac and Windows for awhile. However, I'm still having a hard time understanding why programmers enthusiastically choose Mac OS X over Windows and Linux? I know that there are programmers who prefer Windows and Linux, but I'm asking the programmers who would just use Mac OS X and nothing else, because they think Mac OS X is the greatest fit for programmers. Some might argue that Mac OS X got the beautiful UI and is nix based, but Linux can do that. Although Windows is not nix based, you can pretty much develop on any platform or language, except Cocoa/Objective-C. Is it the softwares that offer only on Mac OS X? Does that really worth using Mac? Is it to develop iPhone apps? Is it because you need to buy new Windows every 2 years (less backwards compatible)? I understand why people, who are working in multimedia/entertainment industry, would use Mac OS X; however, I don't have strong merits of Mac OS X over Windows. If you develop daily on Mac and prefer Mac over anything else, can you give me a merit that Mac has over Windows/Linux? Maybe something you can do on Mac that cannot be done in Windows/Linux with the same level of ease? I'm not trying to do another Mac vs. Windows here. I tried to find things that I do on Mac that cannot be done on Windows with the same level of ease, but I couldn't. So, I'm asking for some help.

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  • Why do programmers use or recommend Mac OS X? [closed]

    - by codingbear
    I've worked on both Mac and Windows for awhile. However, I'm still having a hard time understanding why programmers enthusiastically choose Mac OS X over Windows and Linux? I know that there are programmers who prefer Windows and Linux, but I'm asking the programmers who would just use Mac OS X and nothing else, because they think Mac OS X is the greatest fit for programmers. Some might argue that Mac OS X got the beautiful UI and is nix based, but Linux can do that. Although Windows is not nix based, you can pretty much develop on any platform or language, except Cocoa/Objective-C. Is it the softwares that offer only on Mac OS X? Does that really worth using Mac? Is it to develop iPhone apps? Is it because you need to buy new Windows every 2 years (less backwards compatible)? I understand why people, who are working in multimedia/entertainment industry, would use Mac OS X; however, I don't have strong merits of Mac OS X over Windows. If you develop daily on Mac and prefer Mac over anything else, can you give me a merit that Mac has over Windows/Linux? Maybe something you can do on Mac that cannot be done in Windows/Linux with the same level of ease? I'm not trying to do another Mac vs. Windows here. I tried to find things that I do on Mac that cannot be done on Windows with the same level of ease, but I couldn't. So, I'm asking for some help.

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  • How to Make Sure Your Company Doesn't Go Underwater If Your Programmers Are Hit by a Bus

    - by Graviton
    I have a few programmers under me, they are all doing very great and very smart obviously. Thank you very much. But the problem is that each and every one of them is responsible for one core area, which no one else on the team have foggiest idea on what it is. This means that if anyone of them is taken out, my company as a business is dead because they aren't replaceable. I'm thinking about bringing in new programmers to cover them, just in case they are hit by a bus, or resign or whatever. But I afraid that The old programmers might actively resist the idea of knowledge transfer, fearing that a backup might reduce their value. I don't have a system to facilitate technology transfer between different developers, so even if I ask them to do it, I've no assurance that they will do it properly. My question is, How to put it to the old programmers in such they would agree What are systems that you use, in order to facilitate this kind of "backup"? I can understand that you can do code review, but is there a simple way to conduct this? I think we are not ready for a full blown, check-in by check-in code review.

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