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Diagrams in Open Source & Successful Development

Posted in Documentation & Communication, Understanding Developers on September 7th, 2011 by Novita Mayasari1 Comment

When development teams are in the same room, it is not surprising to see diagrams being used – if only being shared via sketches made on pads, or through the use of whiteboards. Interestingly, despite the fact that OSS teams are distributed geographically, diagrams also play an important role in OSS development.

There was a helpful research done by Koji Yatani et al. at University of Toronto and Oregon State University. They studied developers on the Ubuntu project and found that developers create and distribute digitalized diagrams as opposed to physical sketches. While the uses of diagrams are specific to the Ubuntu projects, there are definitely lessons that we can learn to apply in other OSS projects to ensure successful development.

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Diagrams- More than What Meets the Eye

Posted in Documentation & Communication, Understanding Developers on August 24th, 2011 by Novita MayasariBe the first to comment


Yes, diagrams. All of us use diagrams in one way or another. Mostly, diagrams are used to enhance communication and to illustrate what exactly one is talking about.

“But that’s it. Diagrams are sketches which are meant to be thrown away without deserving a second look.”

Now that’s where you’re wrong. In fact, diagrams are more useful than they appear to be. Yes, diagrams often become outdated fast in the software development industry and that tends to lead to people having a biased view against them. They often quickly assume diagrams are useless.
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UML- Useless Meaningless Lousy?

Posted in UML & Diagramming on July 5th, 2011 by Novita Mayasari17 Comments

UML LOGOIt is easy to find numerous negative sentiments about UML. The main complaints seem to revolve around UML being of little practical use and inconvenient to draw and update.

I have been looking into the practicality of UML and find this answer on stackoverflow very interesting:

Using UML is like looking at your feet as you walk. It’s making conscious and explicit something that you can usually do unconsciously. Beginners need to think carefully about what they’re doing, but a professional programmer already knows what they’re doing. Most of the time, writing the code itself is quicker and more effective than writing about the code, because their programming intuition is tuned to the task.

My question is: Is it all that bad to walk while looking at your feet? It is often said that learning to walk is one of the hardest skills a person has to learn. However, in time walking doesn’t seem like a “learned skill” anymore because we do it so much that it seems natural. But what happens when we are walking along a tricky path strewn with pebbles, banana-peels and the like; wouldn’t we feel safer to look at our feet as we walk? read more »


Uh oh, not another Large Code Base!

Posted in Developer Tools, Java on June 21st, 2011 by Novita Mayasari3 Comments

I came across two blog posts which agree that large code bases are a hassle to programmers. The first post, “Code’s worst enemy” written by Steve Yegge, basically loathes large code bases and Jeff Atwok shares the same opinion in “Size is the enemy”. The problem with large code bases is that their physical size is indication for the large amount of effort, cost and time to be invested for that project, as stated in Steve McConnell books.

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