It’s about time that I updated my crufty old list of recommended books. What books should I have up there?
Ground rules: to keep this conversation on track, everybody gets to vote for ONE book, and one book only. I really want to hear what people think is the SINGLE best book on “painless software management.”
CityDesk, Part Five
Now we’re thanking our lucky stars that we didn’t have a bunch of stupid venture capitalists forcing us to copy all the other content management companies, and we’re grateful that we’re not in Silicon Valley where everyone meets at Bucks and Stanford University seminars and copies each other’s bad ideas, because the one thing we’ve heard from everybody who’s tried CityDesk, consistently, is that CityDesk is the easiest content management software they’ve ever seen, full stop. And we got this ease-of-use because we believed certain things about software.
Alan invented Visual Basic, which is the language we used for CityDesk, so it’s no big coincidence that I agree with him so wholeheartedly. And it’s true: from a UI architecture perspective, browsers are CICS + fonts. CICS is an extremely ancient interactive system used with IBM mainframe terminals. Basically, the server sends a text-mode, full-screen form down to the “smart” terminal. The user fills in the form and sends it back to the server. And that’s about all you can do from a UI perspective. The mainframe is happy because it can basically be about as stupid as a web server: queue up all incoming requests and deal with them sequentially. The user suffers because the UI is abysmal and the programmer suffers because you can’t MAKE a good UI no matter how hard you try.