Podcast #10

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This is the tenth episode of the StackOverflow podcast, wherein Joel and Jeff discuss the following:

  • We provide some background for new listeners on what Stack Overflow will be. See Joel's post and Jeff's post.
  • Although we have ambivalent feelings about Expert's Exchange, what we're doing with Stack Overflow is similar, and they do have a sense of humor -- and invited me to a conference.
  • We will be using the cc-wiki licensing terms for content posted on Stack Overflow.
  • Hopefully we can ship before Wine (which just hit version 1 after 15 years) and Duke Nukem Forever. Check out a list of things that have happened since Duke Nukem Forever began development.
  • I confess that I was shocked to find out, while listening to our own podcasts, I wasn't hearing everything Joel was saying! Listening is hard. Make sure you're thinking about this the next time you listen to someone.
  • Joel has fun with instantrimshot.com and I mention sadtrombone.com ; these are excellent examples of the emerging classes of single-serving websites.
  • You crazy hackers figured out our super-secret beta website URL! I invite participation for the upcoming private beta, but our in-development site is not suitable for human consumption at this point. There is a special prize for those hardy few that "hacked" their way into the development site, though.
  • A brief discussion of the badges that you can earn while participating in the Stack Overflow site. We don't need no stinkin' badges, of course, but I think they'll be fun and complimentary to the reputation system.
  • Stack Overflow edits will only be possibly for users who have earned a little bit of reputation on the site by actively participating. This is where we diverge a smidge from Wikipedia, which still (amazingly!) allows regular anonymous edits. But I think it's a reasonable compromise: anonymous people can ask and answer, but not edit.
  • Jarrod did a tremendous job of getting our one-click build set up: it deploys the database, the code, and even runs unit tests against the website before deploying it. We're using MSBuild and nUnit.
  • Joel references AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis (Paperback), and describes a few of the anti-patterns he's seen while developing small apps at Fog Creek for internal use.
  • On the dangers of being an internal IT developer. This is important if you love coding.
  • One of personal favorite bits of Joel's writing, on cleaning the toilet. Naturally.
  • Sometimes as a manager, it's your job to do the grubby, ugly stuff so the sales guys can sell and the developers can develop.
  • We use TortoiseSVN for Subversion integration as almost all other Windows developers do. But as Visual Studio developers, we've also adopted VisualSVN, which I highly recommend! It makes working with Subversion a pleasure instead of a chore, at least in my opinion.
  • At Fog Creek, they're switching to Mercurial source control, which like Git is part of the new, emerging class of distributed version control.
  • Source control remains the bedrock of software engineering. I meet so few software developers, myself included, that really understand source control. Just avoid SourceSafe at all costs, and understand the value of branching and merging.
  • Is there anything positive anyone can possibly say about Windows Mobile? How can something six versions old be this terrible? It should be razed to the ground and reinvented, ala Zune and Xbox 360. Can Google's Android be like Windows Mobile, sans all the sucking? I expect Apple to dominate this closed ecosystem; it plays to all their strengths.
  • On Ruby performance, scaling, "enterpriseyness" and whether or not this is even the right question to ask. Shouldn't we be thinking of this in terms of the solution first, and the language as a side-effect of that?

We also answered the following listener questions:

  1. Sebastian Dwornik: "Doesn't the current mobile phone platform war remind you of the PC platform wars?"
  2. Loren Norman: "When will Ruby be ready for enterprise development?"

If you'd like to submit a question to be answered in our next episode,

record an audio file (90 seconds or less) and mail it to podcast@stackoverflow.com. You can record a question using nothing but a telephone and a web browser.

The transcript wiki for this episode is available for public editing.

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