The Joel on Software Discussion Group (CLOSED)

A place to discuss Joel on Software. Now closed.

This community works best when people use their real names. Please register for a free account.

Other Groups:
Joel on Software
Business of Software
Design of Software (CLOSED)
.NET Questions (CLOSED)
Fog Creek Copilot

The Old Forum

Your hosts:
Albert D. Kallal
Li-Fan Chen
Stephen Jones

Are you responsible for both GUI and server portion ?

I currently am responsible for both the C# GUI portion and the C++ server side portion plus occasionally Excel/VBA stuff for traders.
This is for a trading system front office role on the east coast.

I am thinking of telling my manager that I would prefer either the C# GUI or the C++ server but not both
Reason being everytime I switch from GUI to server or vice versa (every 3 or 4 weeks) it takes time to switch my brains.

Is anyone of you in a similar situation ?
Should I go ahead and speak to my manager ?

Friday, February 29, 2008
Followup to my earlier message. Others in my team are responsible for either the GUI or the Server but not both.
Friday, February 29, 2008
You have it easy man. Try switching every couple hours!

It is a luxury to spend 3-4 weeks on one thing. I would welcome the change and experience of working on different things. YMMV obviously...
DJ Send private email
Friday, February 29, 2008
I'm responsible for all aspects of the products. It's not a problem for me, and I like working on different things.
sloop Send private email
Friday, February 29, 2008
I second what DJ says. But do what works for you. Personally I like having a hand in the whole pie. Usually the most boneheaded mistakes I've seen are from people that live in one isolated part of a project with no idea what goes on in any of the other pieces.
Bart Park
Friday, February 29, 2008
I'm sort of in this situation. I'm building a web app with a flash front-end (coded in pure AS3) with a PHP/MySQL back-end. I get these moments where I have to stop and remind myself what language I'm in, but I'm getting used to it now.
Preparation DHH
Friday, February 29, 2008
Yeah, I work in Java on the server for the heavy lifting and outbound requests and PHP for view layer scripting. I do much of the HTML/presentations/javaScript (web design), I'm the DBA, project manager , unix administrator and I even fire up Photoshop from time to time. I do a little of each almost everyday.

Although MOSTLY I prefer only to get involved if one of my developers is stuck on something. But I Just cant keep my chubby little hands off of it :)
Richard Corsale Send private email
Friday, February 29, 2008
It would be easier if you used languages which were more different on each side (like VB.NET on client and C-style on server).

Using a C-style language everywhere drops a lot of contextual clues which your brain will pick up subliminally.
Cade Roux Send private email
Friday, February 29, 2008
++ It is a luxury to spend 3-4 weeks on one thing.
a former big-fiver Send private email
Friday, February 29, 2008
I think if you cut yourself off from essentially half of the product you limit your growth options.  Being the person who knows the whole picture makes you very valuable to the project.

Maybe if "switching your brain" is truly that bad of an experience, you instead consider your boss to allow you to balance your time on both sides a bit?  Or even now, maybe when you're in a 3-4 month stint on one side, you go a do a bug fix on the other side once a week or something.
RHH Send private email
Friday, February 29, 2008
We have no GUI expertise in our department.  Programmers do both server and GUI development, and our UI looks like shit.
Knight Who Says Ni
Friday, February 29, 2008
Our guys usually are responsible for all layers, front, middle, and back end. Front is almost always in C#, middle and back, C++.
Friday, February 29, 2008
If you're going to implement a feature, isn't it better to do both the gui and server side at the same time?

Wouldn't it be better to build a "tracer" bullet (get a minimally working gui and server combination) and then add to it with small, atomic pieces of functionality? Switch between gui and server work as necessary to move the project forward?

Personally, I feel the separation of gui and server work is a false one. If they're both part of the same feature, they need to be done together.

Now, usability, that's a different matter. You may need input from a usability specialist while you're working on the feature.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Same situation here.
C++ server, Winforms GUI, Windows Mobile GUI.

I prefer to see the whole picture, not just parts of it.
dazed and confused
Saturday, March 01, 2008
"We have no GUI expertise in our department.  Programmers do both server and GUI development, and our UI looks like shit."

Alan cooper has a name for that - Dancing Bearware.
MT Heart
Saturday, March 01, 2008
GUI and server? You're having it easy man....

I run circles around people, in 3 completely different languages.

Ok, away with the back patting.

What helps me a lot is the ability to switch off tiers completely from my brain when I've got to solve issues involving disparate systems. It doesn't have to be bug fixes or source code, I switch off tiers and get them out of my head, the moment I'm satisfied with the design. This method has never worked well, though, if the final tier was always the one causing the issues - too many leaky abstractions there.
VR Send private email
Saturday, March 01, 2008
How about switching between different projects during the day? Plus dealing with customers & users and remembering their problems? Certainly keeps me on my toes!
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Great software, in my opinion, takes both (UI experts and coding experts). Period! You can cut corners and do both, but no matter how good you are, your product will suffer from some deficits...somewhere.

Its IMPOSSIBLE to have a software project NOT suffer from lack of delegated expertise in by teams of skilled, experienced people in multiple fields.

Thats being said....Ive done both...been responsible for UI and design, and as well, worked with a designer and done the architcture and database tiers. Right now, I HAVE TO DO BOTH in my business and at my employer. I sat I can get away with right now, but Ill lose skills in one or the other eventually, if I dont choose a primary focus. Its inevitable. That being said, Im happy with my web products, but I know if I were to spend more UI time, they would look allot better. Because I did both, I had tocut corners in some aspects of the design, because of teh demands of the backend.

If this helps, I staretd out an artist and Flash designer and now a Web Architect and C# guru. I can do usability and UI as well as I can do OOP. Thats rare, because most C# coders Ive found claiom to be UI developers, but they dont know what XHTML is and use CSS poorly. They also dont keep up with Web Standards, nor do they use Adobe web dev tools very well.

On the other hand Ive met some GREAT web designers who make GREAT coders, and those people, who start out as artists, seem to do much better at doing both, thatn C programmers or JAVA people who attempt petty UI development. Funny how so may programmers who cant even draw stick figures try and drag buttons and tables onto web pages and think that makes them good UI designers.

Because where I work we are short on people, I have to wear both hats, but as good as I "think" I am, I know every hour Im not working with ImageReady, Flash and Flex,  XHTML research, and cutting edge Web Standard code, Im losing my UI skills....slowly. Im gaining ground in OOP architecture and web service work, but you cannot pretend that one doesnt distract you from developing solid skills in the other.

So, to answer your can get away with mediocre work doing both UI and code, but your project will eventually degrade and can never be as great as it could be if you had two people with separate skills refining it and making it better using their field expertise.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Wow, I'd love to maintain a GUI written by a guy who new what the state of the server was, when the server relied on the state of the GUI ;)
Saturday, March 01, 2008

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
Powered by FogBugz