Issue 104

Lori M Olson Lori M Olson Follow Mar 09, 2022 · 7 mins read
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DRD104: Big versus small companies, feature parity and a missing Tube station.

OPED — Lori’s Unvarnished Opinion

Lessons Learned Working for a Small Company

For the beginning of my career, the first eight years I worked for a large company. Then I went straight from working for a multinational oil company of many tens of thousands of people (over 500 in IT alone), to a teeny, tiny software company called The WNDX Corporation with only six people in it. Four developers (one on maternity leave), one sales guy and the boss. This introduced me to the concept of ‘culture shock’.

One of the first things that really blew my mind in the new company was computer upgrades. At the large company when you needed a new computer, you had to make the case to your boss. Then your boss decided yay or nay. And then your boss added that computer to next year’s budget, maybe attached to other computer upgrades for other people in your group. Then the boss’s boss would add all that to their budget and tweak the budget up or down according to their needs.

The next year rolls around and a new computer is delivered and set up by IT, and the old computer taken away. But it’s not the computer you asked for and it doesn’t have enough memory, and it’s not worth your job to open up a computer (to add memory) that has an IT asset tag on it.

By way of comparison, my first day at WNDX: “Your computer is over there. Here are some sticks of memory to upgrade it. We’ll get started on showing you the ropes this afternoon.”

Gulp. I’d never opened up a computer before but, hey, I had a screwdriver and a static strap, and I got to work and I upgraded that memory. By the time The WNDX Corporation wrapped up and The WNDX Group rose out of the ashes, I was building my own computers completely from components.

Large companies and small companies work very differently. You will do well to remember that, if and when you make such a switch.

‘Til the next issue, be careful out there.

While development teams try to attain feature parity, user experience parity will suffer. Everyone who’s used an iOS app and immediately thought “this is a web page” will know what this means.

The consistency sin is a concept I spend some time talking about in my 6 Pack Apps course. Depending on the audience for your app, and the features, you need to think very carefully before committing to a ‘cross-platform’ app.

Intrigued? The next 6 Pack Apps for Entreprenuers starts this month—join the mailing list today to be notified the instant enrolment starts.

GAME — All Things Gaming

We have made the point in the past that any sort of additional documentation is generally a good thing, so long as it actually gets read. In that vein, Justin Collins (AKA President Beef) wrote up an article back in January which, while not documentation per se, will undoubtedly help with your DragonRuby learning curve. In API Levels in DragonRuby Game Toolkit Justin proffers a useful mental model for learning DRGTK.

Now, if Justin’s article finally gets you over the proverbial hump with DRGTK, what you’re going to need next are some great game assets. How about a bunch of free ones.

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APP — All Things App

If you think that log messages are the kryptonite you’ll ultimately need to kill off an intractable bug, you may also be dismayed at having to potentially explain to an end user before you can actually get the log messages you need. Never fear, BackLog—from Eternal Storms Software—is here to save the day. With it all you will have to do is send them a backlog:// link BackLog creates, and all the hard work is done for you.

So you thought the one thing on which most reasonable people can agree is the time of day, right? In this age of ‘alternative facts’, turns out that there are different points of view of even this most unassailable of picayune details. BJ Homer explains why JavaScript and Swift apparently disagree on when time began.

SPOT — Spotlight On…

A couple of short snappers in the Spotlight for this issue:

  • Having trouble getting your DragonRuby game sounding just right? In addition to the API Levels article by Justin Collins referenced above, he also has provided us with a solid yet succinct article on Sounds in DragonRuby. Sounds good to us.

  • Well, it’s about time, in a sea of English-centric content, un curso sobre RubyMotion presentado en español por Euroinnova Business School. Consulta Desarrollo de Apps con RubyMotion para más información.

TALK — Talk of the Tech

As we routinely graze through the two, primary DragonRuby-related chat spaces (on Slack and Discord respectively), we try and find one item from each which will “illuminate the mind and dazzle the eye”. Well, even if we didn’t achieve exactly that, we did come up with a couple of things of interest:

  • SlackRspec Syntax: Brett Walker has created mspec which “which wraps the rake task, but uses rspec style syntax”.

  • Discord — Confused (or maybe just curious?) about the order in which artifacts are drawn with the DRGTK? A recent discussion pointed out that it’s right there in the code. Specifically [draw-rb](

TWIL — This Week I Learned…

You’re likely aware of Twitter’s ability to mute tweets which contain certain words. But then along came this tweet (which beat the muted word gauntlet, thankfully) which provided a clue as to how to rapidly clean up your timeline. We definitely thought this tip was well worth passing along.

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HAHA — And They All Laughed

We’re in awe of the timeless, iconic London Tube map, but we’re pretty sure we’ve never come across this station. Try to spot the joke-within-a-joke. (image: b3ta board via Chris Heilmann)

That’s a Wrap!

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“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” — Coco Chanel