keskiviikko 25. tammikuuta 2012

Bluestripes meets Designer's corner

The designer's corner is being done here. I just got a funny idea about writing a little bit of thoughts about programming, and do it into a aesthetically pleasing form - thus combining a bit of design and text.

Topics to cover:
 -familiarizing a bit with the capabilities of Blogspot blogging platform
 -general IT talk, especially on software quality, design, and testing

I'd like to give a bit of background here, first. It might seem strange to talk about the history of computing in this context, but I think it does give some nice backdrop against which the actual content is served.

Google introduced us back to using text. Before the visual paradigm, and GUI, we had text terminals, as UNIX still has very visibly them. The most adept expert in the UNIX age was a person who could remember and comprehend how a variety of simple operators and operations were combined, or piped together to make something meaningful happen.

There was always the textual command processor (or shell, for short) present even in different Microsoft Windows versions, but it fell out of fashion for some time.

Depending on the version, you could always launch it by writing 'cmd', or 'command' in the Run box (invoked by Win+R key combination). So in the old days, people did things by writing commands and getting a reply from the computer. It was kind of conversational interaction.

The flow of commands and answers formed a logbook of interaction. Sometimes it was useful to save the interaction for further inspection. Well, and in fact, before the old days (in the Really Old Days), computers and people interact via punchcards and printed paper. The graphics era brought visualization, buttons, and generally: user interfaces.

Apple's machines, Microsoft's and also various flavors from UNIX all had their own user interface paradigms. UNIX was concentrating on getting things done accurately and in "industrial scale", while Apple and Microsoft were more concentrated on practical everyday use cases. Soon the limits would fade away, however. Innovations blended in a jolly way. When they did not, court rooms heated up.

There were also a lot of common ground in graphical user interfaces: the gestures like clicking, dragging, and in fact the whole object based metaphor was quite common to all of these. These were summed up in the desktop metaphor. As there were major changes in computing, namely ever-increasing speeds (capabilities) and larger memories, also the graphical user interface changed. The tiny 640x480 screens were soon changing into a typical 1024x768 resolutions. Video made its way into mainstream adoption. The network was still a major bottleneck. Video and everpresent cameras The web, from 1994 - browser wars Now in 2012 Microsoft has taken a stance on the mobility scene, teaming up with Nokia. It wants to be present in the mobile phones, too. Another challenge is the cloud: applications seem to thrive in the network, so that the traditional model of "owning" and installing a native application no longer plays dominant role.

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