So what is a developer experience anyway?

Discussion on all things related to the experience that a developer has with development tools and frameworks.

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  • Blog Post: A language for parallel programmability

    Parallel programming is difficult. No surprises there really. I came across a great slide deck discussing some of the issues in detail. A portion of the deck does a great job of using the Cognitive Dimensions framework to analyse various language constructs. Well worth looking at.
  • Blog Post: Do we really need another book about making software?

    Late last year, I was asked to contribute a chapter to an upcoming O'Reilly book called 'Making Software'. I wrote a chapter describing how we learned what it means for an API to be considered usable. A rough cut version of the chapter and the book is available at http://my.safaribooksonline.com/9780596808310...
  • Blog Post: How do you evaluate API usability?

    As a consumer of an API, how do you tell how usable the API is? Do you learn though bitter experience? Do you experiment with small development projects to see what the experience is like or do you dive in head first with a larger project? Do you even think about evaluating API usability before you start...
  • Blog Post: What makes a platform compelling?

    I posted a few weeks ago asking how important API usability is. At least three people believe that it's important. Thanks to Bing, I found that others seem to agree too: David Koelle on API usability , API usability people and resources , Mathieu Jacques' article on CodeProject , Carnegie Mellon University...
  • Blog Post: Scottish developers, we need you!

    If you are a software developer and you live and work in Scotland, and you are interested in helping us out with our user experience research programme please let me know. There are lots of ways you can participate - being a participant in a study, answering a survey, allowing me to come to your office...
  • Blog Post: Are you experienced?

    I used to be a software developer. I worked for Motorola, building debuggers and simulators for smartcard microcontrollers (the 8 bit 68HC05SC to be precise...). When I joined the Visual Studio User Experience team I had the benefit of experience with Visual Studio and experience with software development...
  • Blog Post: Who cares about API usability?

    Do you? Does it really matter if an API is usable or not? If a platform is compelling enough, will you still develop for it even if the APIs are terrible?
  • Blog Post: API usability evaluation

    Christopher Oezbek is keeping notes about an API usability evaluation he is doing using the cognitive dimensions.
  • Blog Post: HOWTO: Run an API usability study

    With the task list in place and participants recruited, it's time to run the study. My experience has been that running an API usability study is really no different from running any other type of study. Here's a description of what I do. The day before the study I make sure that the machines I'll...
  • Blog Post: HOWTO: Design and run an API usability study

    A few people have asked me about how I design and run API usability studies. I'm running an Indigo study this week so I thought I would describe the steps that went into setting this study up. The study is a follow up to the Indigo study we ran in October and which identified a number of usability issues...
  • Blog Post: API usability talk available on MSDN from tomorrow

    The API usability portion of the Designing .NET Class Libraries class will be available from tomorrow. Apologies in advance if my Scottish accent makes it difficult to understand me! Let me know if there is anything that I need to translate...
  • Blog Post: Feedback on Avalon CTP?

    If you've downloaded and played around with the Avalon CTP release would you be willing to share some of your feedback? I'd love to hear what you think of the usability of the Avalon APIs.
  • Blog Post: Attributes and API usability (again!)

    I've been running another usability study on an API that makes heavy use of attributes and have made similar observations to a previous study (see http://weblogs.asp.net/stevencl/archive/2004/05/12/130826.aspx#FeedBack ) This time we've been looking at the Indigo APIs. Indigo makes heavy use of attributes...
  • Blog Post: Parameter naming and the Google test

    Brad has a post on choosing parameter names for overloaded methods which brings to mind a recent question on an internal mailing list about using acronyms for parameter names. In general, when determining whether or not it's reasonable to use an acronym to name a parameter, we ask whether or not the...
  • Blog Post: System.Net usability study

    I'm running a study this week on the Beta 1 version of the System.Net namespace. In addition to the feedback I'll be collecting from participants, I thought it would be useful to capture any comments that anybody else might have on the usability of this namespace. If you've used the types in this namespace...
  • Blog Post: Virtual properties anyone?

    As part of the WinFX review team, I regularly review APIs for usability issues. One thing that we as a team have been highlighting as a potential issue is the use of virtual properties. Consider the following code snippet: public class Class1 { private string theString; public virtual string MyString...
  • Blog Post: VS automation samples

    I've been asked for suggestions for a list of VS automation samples that would help solve tricky tasks that I've observed users working on during usability studies. Just wanted to check if anybody has such a list of samples that they would like us to provide. One example from a recent study that I...
  • Blog Post: This scares me!

    Aleksei Guzev was scared by my last post on readability vs writability. I think what might have scared Aleksei (feel free to correct me if I am wrong Aleksei) is the thought that the results of this study would be used to make a case for adding a Count property to the DataReader class and removing...
  • Blog Post: Readability vs Writability

    Jay has a great post on readability vs writability. It's really important to take this into account when performing a usability review on an API. Don't just review the code that a developer has to write in order to accomplish a given task with an API. You should also review the steps that they need...
  • Blog Post: Using the cognitive dimensions

    Now that I've finished posting the series of articles on using the cognitive dimensions to evaluate API usability, I've finally gotten around to adding links to each of these articles (see the left hand nav bar at http://weblogs.asp.net/stevencl ). And, now that you've seen the full list of the cognitive...
  • Blog Post: Using the cognitive dimensions - domain correspondence

    This is the last in the series I've been posting about how to use the cognitive dimensions framework to evaluate your own APIs. For each user goal that your API supports, describe how closely related the classes and methods exposed by the API are to the conceptual objects that users think about manipulating...
  • Blog Post: Attributes and API usability revisited

    I posted a query last week requesting feedback on the use of attributes in an API and their effect on the usability of that API (thanks for all the responses!). My query was driven by a study that I was running and that is now complete. I promised that I would describe the results that we obtained from...
  • Blog Post: Can I see your code?

    Scott Klemmer , a graduate student at the Institute of Design at UC Berkeley emailed me last week to talk about API usability. He sent me a link to a paper he and his team had recently presented at this year's CHI conference (annual conference on all things related to UI design and human computer interaction...
  • Blog Post: Windows mobile devices and API usability

    The mobile devices team has just completed an API usability review and found some interesting results...
  • Blog Post: Attributes and API usability

    I'm in the middle of running an API study this week with an API that makes heavy use of attributes throughout. Basically, much of the functionality that the API supports is largely exposed through the use of attributes. The API requires that you decorate classes, member variables and properties with...
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