Category Archives: Interview

Review – Coders at Work

Coders at Work I’ve been reading “Coders at Work” by Peter Seibel over the holidays and wanted to share my review.

The book is basically a series of in-depth interviews with 15 interesting programmers including people like Brendan Eich (inventor of JavaScript), Ken Thompson (inventor of UNIX), Peter Norvig (Director of Research at Google).

Other programmers interviewed are: Frances Allen, Joe Armstrong, Joshua Bloch, Bernie Cosell, Douglas Crockford, L. Peter Deutsch, Brad Fitzpatrick, Dan Ingalls, Simon Peyton Jones, Donald Knuth, Guy Steele and Jamie Zawinski.

I first got interested in in this book after reading an interesting tweet from Ralph Hauwert quoting Joe Armstrong in the book:

“The problem with object-oriented languages is they’ve got all this implicit environment that they carry around with them. You wanted a banana but what you got was a gorilla holding the banana and the entire jungle.” — Joe Armstrong

Its really invaluable to get the perspective of this wide range of experienced developers and get an insight in the way they work, what inspires them to code and how they see the future of programming languages.

Definitely recommended reading and a good source of inspiration to any developer!


Interview with Scott Barnes about Silverlight 3

Scott Barnes, MicrosoftThose of you that follow me on Twitter will no doubt have been witness to some interesting (and sometimes tedious) discussions between myself, other Flash Platform enthusiasts and Scott Barnes of Microsoft. Scott was an ardent supporter of Flex before his move to Microsoft which makes his perspective all the more interesting.

Thought it was worth asking him to answer a few questions about the latest Silverlight developments. As you might imagine I don’t fully agree and sometimes strongly disagree with some of the points he makes, but its an interesting read nonetheless.

Thanks for your time Scott, can you introduce yourself and explain a little about your role at Microsoft?
Sure. I’m a Rich Platforms Product Manager, which is a great title to confuse many with. I’m simply part of the WPF & Silverlight team. I used to be the first RIA Evangelist for Microsoft, so it does in part derive from this previous role.

My role varies from month to month as simply due to my background, and I have a wide degree of interaction with not just the WPF & Silverlight teams but other teams within Microsoft. Overall, my main focus is ensuring we’re putting the right features into Silverlight & WPF whilst ensuring we keep a balanced view between designer and developer needs. I’m currently focused on a complete upgrade of our website experiences.

I also spend a great deal of time monitoring and interacting the online/offline developer and designer communities, as I’m constantly searching for evidence on how we can better meet our customers’ needs. Continue reading

Interview with Peldi Guillizoni about Balsamiq Mockups

Giacomo ‘Peldi’ Guilizzoni – photo © Matt Snow
I recently had the opportunity to talk to Giacomo ‘Peldi’ Guilizzoni — ex-Macromedia/Adobe software engineer — about his new company Balsamiq and the hugely popular Balsamiq Mockups application.

I’ve started using Balsamiq Mockups on a number of projects myself and its proven to be a very useful application, definitely worth checking out!

How did you get the idea to create Balsamiq Mockups? Was it the type of application you were looking for yourself or noticed a market for?

First off, let me thank you Peter for the opportunity to answer your questions. I have been following your blog for years! 🙂

I think the idea for Balsamiq Mockups took shape over the years. As a developer, I had to write many feature specifications, and the more I wrote, the more I noticed that the process we followed had many gaps in it which could be improved. For instance, we would always design a feature on a dry-erase whiteboard first. While this had just the right amount of low-fidelity to encourage discussion and iteration, it was also a bit painful: first you had to go around the office stealing markers that worked, then if you needed to stretch a rectangle you had to erase an edge and redraw it further out, and sometimes the end result was so messy that you’d come back to a whiteboard the next day and were unable understand what the heck that mess of lines and squiggles really meant.

Continue reading

Porting Doom to Flash – Interview with Mike Welsh

Most of you will more than likely have heard about Alchemy by now, an Adobe project that allows C/C++ code to be cross-compiled to ActionScript. I was incredibly impressed to see an actual port of Doom running in the browser released into the wild just days after Alchemy hit

Doom running in the Flash Player

I recently had the opportunity to do a quick interview with to the developer behind the Doom port. Its a fascinating read that I wanted to share with you.

Mike WelshQ. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and how you got the idea to port Doom using Alchemy?
My name is Mike Welsh. I’ve been working for the past few years as a Flash developer for Newgrounds, where I spend a lot of time staying on top of new technology and developments in the Flash community. I also did some work for Castle Crashers. Doom is one of my favorite games, and id Software is nice enough to release the source. It was a good way for me to get familiar with Alchemy.

Q. When did you hear about Alchemy and how did you get started with it?
I first heard about it from watching the sneak peak videos from Adobe MAX right on your site! Scott Petersen showed a very cool demo of Quake running inside the Flash Player. This was very impressive, but I remained skeptical. Was it actually cross-compiling C to ActionScript bytecode? Or was it just a trick to run native binary code? As more information was released, it became clear that it was compiling into AVM bytecode, and I was really intrigued. When Alchemy was initially released a few weeks ago, I downloaded it and plunked through the documentation. I figured that I’d use the Doom source to test it out.

Continue reading