22 November 2005

Web standards

Finishing up layout for a bunch of Web pages: they look perfect in Opera and Firefox but are completely messed up in IE. The causes were: missing selector support, padding or margin differences with LI elements, differences in TABLE width with TABLEs contained in multiple DIVs, and the often-reported DOM differences. All is almost well now, with the only serious problems left involving the CSS menu system. I can either consider it a "learning experience" or be pissed off at IE. Considering that I'm following CSS specs dated 1998, I'm leaning towards the latter.

Today I had an oddly inept interview with a guy at the company I'm contracting for (I was oddly inept, he was normal). I may have an opportunity to get into some server-side Java stuff that, although maybe not be the best career move, it's the technology I'm most interested in right now. And it will be good to be in a situation where I don't have C++ and STL to fall back on. We'll see what happens. I hope to be less inept in further discussions.

The project I was hired for is complete (at least, my involvement is). Although it was un-sexy as a whole, this project had enough smaller design challenges to make it still somewhat interesting. And the other programmer and I worked well together. We have similar principles but still have enough differences to constructively knock heads. I'm not sure that we'll get to work together in the future, but it was a good experience.

Post mortem for me is primarily to review what I did wrong on the project. I think my biggest mistakes were when I would have to interface with a chaotic section of unfamiliar code. I too often assumed it was "as designed" instead of questioning it. It's very easy to just code and move on, especially when the original author is long gone and a day can be lost playing the annoying contractor trying to get information. However, as Fowler says: if it smells bad, change it. Quite a bit was changed later, when it should've been addressed sooner. I also had some frustrating slip-ups chasing down errors caused by multiple or missing DLLs. That was just stupid.

I slip into the desire to just code and unfortunately ignore the less-attractive tedium of these other responsibilities--and that's bad. Still, I left some very maintainable code and several useful test apps. The next process will be smoother... Also, I've begun to use my development wiki for all notes and documentation. I should've done that years ago--it provides a full text search on all designs and odd error codes, plus links to the sites that helped resolve the errors. Very helpful.

[ posted by sstrader on 22 November 2005 at 12:19:00 AM in Programming ]