In a year and a half as a lead on a fairly massive software project with a very small and tight team, one axiom sticks out as the key to happiness — always be shipping.
It forces you to look at problems in smaller chunks. (Admittedly much easier said than done!) It gives the team a constant sense of accomplishment, as the thing they are working on is constantly seeing some sort of polish or improvement. For building larger projects, shipping components behind the scenes and letting them bake in production is a really nice and easy way to keep things moving.
Earlier this year my team without the aid of automated unit tests (we had some UI tests that were getting quite a trial by fire!) rattled off an admittedly stressful 33-day streak of shipping at least one thing, whether it be a bug fix, improvement, or new feature. The conditions were that the one thing had to pass QA before it went out — no shortcuts, no releasing for the sake of releasing. As I said, it was stressful, but it was a great exercise. (That being said, do not try this at home.)
I’ve been applying the “just ship” mentality to my weather projects recently and it has helped me overcome a lot of analysis paralysis of how to proceed. As a result, long-standing bugs in the @chswx bot have been fixed and the accompanying website finally got the mobile-first facelift it needed.
Shipping makes me happy. It should make you happy, too.
Just ship, baby.
If you spend any reasonable amount of time within terminals on Mac OS X, you need iTerm2. It’s been a constant in my Mac life since I switched. The 3.0 betas are ridiculously good and fit in so well on Yosemite and El Capitan. There are some outstanding tweaks in the latest betas that make me fall for this software all over again.
Microsoft’s error messages may have been rather cryptic and full of techno-babble in the past, but you could at least find a Knowledge Base article based on the message and get a good handle on what’s going on. “Something happened” is still cryptic with the added detriment of being completely useless. Unfortunate, too, because Windows 10 — if it installs, anyway — is a really strong OS, as strong as Windows has been in recent years.
I’m writing this in Safari, the genesis of the WebKit project, while listening to music on Spotify, a WebKit-based music player. On my other monitor is GitHub’s Atom, a really damned fine programmers’ editor that has its roots in WebKit (to the point where you can inspect it and change the UI with stylesheets).
Just imagine if Microsoft had continued to actively develop, and perhaps even open-source, Trident (the IE rendering engine) in the early 2000s. (On second thought…best to just leave that alone.)
Six Colors, Jason Snell’s (formerly of Macworld) new site, is powered by Movable Type. I worked daily on Movable Type when I was at ReadWriteWeb. Despite how I would tend to curse some of its quirks, I grew to be quite fond of several of its features and implementations, notably its publishing to static files, its flexibility in setting up a publishing queue (may TheSchwartz be with you) and how it handles multiple blogs (something MT still blows WordPress away at).
So many people are thankful people are part of their great year and want to make sure their Twitter friends don’t get left out.