Monday, August 24, 2009

Sugar CRM to manage customers and contacts

With the screenshots on this one I get a general idea of what Sugar CRM does. Hope you'd find it useful too.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

FFC2009: Web Standards, Accessibility & Usability

Web Standards, Accessibility & Usability: Experience is the Key by Regnard Raquedan

• with changes happening, expectations change.
• "Authenticity" - Joe Pine & Jim Gilmore
∘ successive imperatives and sensibilities

Layers of Experience for Web Design
• Jesse James Garrett
∘ Look and feel -> Way-finding and Navigation -> Information Architecture -> Features and Content -> User Needs and Site Goals

Qualities of User Experience
• Peter Morville
∘ UE as honeycomb
∘ useful
∘ usable
∘ valuable
∘ findable
∘ desirable
∘ accessible

How to Improve Web Experience
• Web standards
∘ Markup/Structure
‣ HTML 4.01
‣ XHTML 1.0
∘ Presentation
∘ Behavior

∘ Advantage
‣ Ease of Maintenance
‣ Accessibility
‣ Device Compatibility

∘ How can I make my site standards compatible?
‣ Change your mindset
‣ Use the standards
‣ Validate
∘ Current Issues Web Standards
‣ Browsers
• Firefox now has 20% share
‣ Legacy Issues

• Accessibility
∘ making your site accessible to people with disabilities
∘ Why make your sites accessible?
‣ Give the experience to people with disabilities.
‣ Benefits to people with and without disabilities.
‣ Socially-responsible thing to do.

• Usability
∘ ease of use
∘ What makes websites usable?
‣ easy to learn
‣ efficient
‣ easy to remember
• habit forming
‣ handle errors properly
• give a way out
∘ go back
∘ go contact support
∘ etc
‣ satisfying to the senses
∘ How can I make my sites more usable?
‣ Get the basics done.
‣ Put the user in mind.
‣ Remember context.
‣ Test.
• Local Scene
∘ Web standards
‣ blogs
∘ Accessibility
‣ Phil. Web Accessibility Group
∘ Usability
‣ World Usability Day Manila

Put users in mind :)

FFC 2009: Breaking Your Instincts

FFC 2009: Breaking your Instincts

Breaking your Instincts: Common bad habits and how to fight them
by Rico Sta. Cruz

(There's demo of how to redesign a news site.)

• How convenience affects our work
∘ Don't just make lemonade from lemons :D

• Navigation
∘ usually we're given a site map given by other people
‣ don't just use that; it's not necessarily that, right?
∘ example: newspaper site
‣ maybe have a sidebar which has more links especially if it's something from 3 levels deep
• Search
∘ going with the status quo because of convenience?
∘ think first
∘ searching is not an auxiliary function anymore
• Advertisements
∘ intersperse advertisements with content
• Articles
∘ Headlines
‣ what goes after this?
‣ Dominant + Recessive = Sweet
‣ Importance of articles - could trigger a change in the layout. they don't have to have equal importance.
• primary
• secondary
• tertiary
‣ Excelitis - everything looks like a worksheet. eww.
• you could present table data in a different way
‣ Tendency to use lists
• Recap
∘ Don't just copy and paste
∘ From blog-like you could have a hierarchy
∘ etc.

FFC 2009: Javascript 101 (Nap Lara)

Form, Function & Class: Javascript 101

• membership fee - annual
• organize a mini web design conference
• submit a portfolio of webdesign work - prove that you made it

Javascript 101: DOM, Events, and Objects
Talk by Nap Lara

• analogy: family
∘ body - father - parent node
∘ div - first child - sibling
∘ span - sibling
∘ p - last child - sibling

How do we access elements in the DOM?
• getElementByID
• getElementsByClassName -- YUI
• Selectors -- YUI

Which one do you use?
selectors - not the fastest; generally slower
jQuery - with selectors you could say 'every odd row'
by Class Name - collection of elements
by Class ID - specific

Creating DOM Elements
• inner HTML
• Fragments

How Events Work
• Event Bubbling (usually in IE)
∘ from the bottom up
∘ IE supports only Event Bubbling
∘ user clicks on <p>
• Adding events
∘ inline
∘ DOM level 0
‣ div.onclick = function
‣ this way overrides each other
∘ DOM level 2

When to use them

Event delegation

How to Write Objects
• object literal
∘ lightest way
∘ seen outside, everything could be accessed -- disadvantage
• modular pattern
∘ you could hide some things
• prototypes

• JSON - native javascript; lighter than XML
• Custom Format

Phases when making an AJAX request
• onFailure
• onStart - loader

AJAX tips
• limit your calls
• define timeouts

Best Practices
• Compression
• Obfuscation
• Separate Code from Content
∘ reusability
• Multiple Domains

Global Variables and Functions

Repaint and Reflow
- could happen when working with styles

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thoughts on Agile, Truthfulness and the Filipino Culture

I was just reading up about Agile methodologies and the word truthfulness came out. Here's a link to the InfoQ article: Agility Means Truthfulness. It quotes a blog entry by Birch a lot. Like this particular set of statements by Birch:

Agile methods are made of processes, principles and tools. But most importantly they are concerned with people. Therefore, Truthfulness is the foundation of success in an Agile organization.

Although Agile cannot force people to be truthful, it reveals the direct consequences of opacity in an organization, confronts it and challenges it to change.

As people have said time and again, in relationships, people have to be truthful to each other and we owe it to each other to tell the truth. But the thing is, truth hurts sometimes and in our culture, it's not easy to speak the truth immediately. There are levels of comfort and there are ways of saying the truth that might come off as negative. We have the "pakisama" factor in our culture so it makes it even harder. If you notice someone's flaws, how do you say it without looking mean or KJ (kill joy)? The person's code may be quite flawed or his/her analysis lacking, so how do you tell it to your teammate? Sometimes if you're comfortable enough, it gets easier to do that. But how comfortable are you with your teammates? Do you have walls between you?

Some teammates might sound like they are always right. Or they'd give you an outright "no" when you're just trying to be honest and truthful about pointing out something. Wouldn't the other person look defensive to you and you're probably thinking of how to get through that person. You know you need to be productive but how could you try to be more subtle about the method of getting your point across? Sometimes you're afraid of coming off as disrespectful and you end up becoming like that in the process. That sucks because if truthfulness is indeed a foundation of Agile, you're stuck.

We all have our flaws. Time and again, I show signs of being a PA - Passive-Aggressive person. This is one thing that I know might hinder me from time to time. But if I do have respect for my teammates, I try to give them a heads up. It's just that sometimes maybe I still don't get through them for some reason I have yet to figure out. Is it because I feel the pressure of "pakikisama" and it's deeply ingrained already? Or is it because I am just afraid of speaking out?

Another dilemma we have with our culture is that we need to show respect/deference to other people especially to our elders, leaders, etc. If we're so used to that, it gets more difficult to say our thoughts right away. So how are we supposed to get over that immediately? Breaking a mentality is difficult to do after all. But I am not saying that Agile is impossible. It's just that it's going to be difficult sometimes, depending on the composition of your team, especially in our culture.

What are possible solutions?

Honestly, I don't know. I suppose we just have to see examples of people speaking the truth all the time might help a lot. Truthful but with prudence. I suppose one can be truthful and show it through their humor too. Although that might not work on everyone. I guess it's easier if we could all try harder each day? And just do our best so that we'd all improve. After all, being truthful is not just crucial for an Agile team but for everyone because of our day to day interactions.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day on March 24 :)

Ada Lovelace day happens on March 24 :)

What's up with Ada Lovelace day you may ask? It's the day we talk about women in technology who are leaders, who are cutting edge, who inspire others through their works in the community and in the field they belong to.  You could talk about women in software development, game development, tech journalism, etc.

If you've got women role models you'd want other to know about, it's the chance for you to speak up and be part of the celebration of Ada Lovelace day. For more details, check out and make the pledge.  I did. I hope you will too :)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Case Study of Agile Testing

Got this presentation from searching about Agile methods and testing. I think it's an interesting material to jumpstart learning about testing within the Agile context.

Problem though is downloading. I hope sharing it as slides embedded in the post will suffice!


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The Learner

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a crafty cat who loves food, linux, anime and crafting.

business analyst by day, blogger by night. also a frustrated artist.