Thursday, March 13, 2003

Division Of Labor

The product of which I joined the team three years ago is getting more and more professional. It is no longer a testbed for prototype installations, we have been reorganized and the product is becoming a member in a family of products.

Which means we developers now have access to professionals for peripheral development tasks like getting the artwork for splash screens and icons and such. We are a Real Nokia Product, so we get Nokia's contract design house to work for us too. I want 16 document icons? Done. I send 8 of them back for being too messy? Two days later they are back, redone and sharp and clear, without a peep except "How do you like these then?" I ask for them in three sizes and four color depths to be complete, next day they are there, all formats carefully packaged in .ico files with hints on which media types to best associate them with.

I have started incorporating the artwork into our latest codebase. It all really helps up the slick-quotient. But no longer will all the people downloading the app look at the application icon I made in desperation three releases ago in a single afternoon with Photoshop. No longer do we have an e-vote over which stock photograph of an Attractive Person Looking At A Nokia Phone we will use for a startup screen. I am not sure how I feel about that. I always say I am an interaction designer, I do not do graphics. But meanwhile my work was being seen by hundreds of thousands of downloaders over the years, and it was kind of cool. Now that's gone.

(BTW, Nokia has thousands, I repeat, thousands, of stock pictures of Attractive People Looking At A Nokia Phone, and new ones are added like every second with all the product announcements we do. Every tonality of image, every saturation, every occasion, every severity, and every phone model. They are on the intranet and on CD-ROMS, ready to be included by any project that needs it.

We sometimes wonder if the Finnish Fashion Academy has classes named "My Life Is Better Thank To My Nokia Phone 101" just so people know how to throw the right look. Sometimes when we see the latest batch we all go try our own Person Looking At A Nokia Phone pose.)

Monday, March 03, 2003

Geek Out JAVA

Beth mentioned Eclipse, and I commented there that I was loving that system. I wanted to here that mention that Eclipse rocks my world. It is a JAVA development environment, 100% free for download and use, that gets it right. I have code that has to become shared libraries and code that is my own and ant build scripts and extra JARs that all relate together, and I have it all working like a dream.

Finally I can step through my shared libraries again like I couldn't in JBuilder 7, and Eclipse understands that sometimes sources live far away from their libraries. It understands the dependencies between projects, integrates with javadoc beautifully, and all options to set up what needs to be set up are where I expect them to be.

It has refactoring tools built in, not as 3d party for-pay extensions. While very basic, they are aslo straightforward and understandable, and allowed me to very quickly extract the commonality between classes.

I am addicted to CTRL+M for automatic inclusion of imports of classes you just type in the body of the code, and if the system can't resolve the import, it asks you explicitly. It reformats code when asked, sorts class members after a template you can set, does inline parse warnings, but without being stupid, and generally feels rock solid.

I am about to dump JBuilder off my system.