2008-12-11

Still a bit proud

Looking at Steve Muench's blog with its screenshot of JDeveloper 11g production makes me feel a little bit proud of what we built. Somehow I left Oracle with the feeling that I hadn't been very productive for a while, but seeing what Steve posted reminded me that the team really poured a lot of stuff into 11g. 

Just visually from the screenshot, you can see the new look and feel I implemented based on a design from our talented visual design team. It got a lot of flak (experience is teaching me that fear or dislike of change is a very common trait), but apart from being unbelievably blue, I think it's quite attractive. 
Also shown in the screenshot is quick search (which, honestly, we always referred to internally as "Google-like search". Hehe). This was something I wanted and so hacked together on a lazy afternoon without any kind of design or project plan while we were supposed to be in bug fixing mode. Despite its birth, it somehow made it into the final product in a very visible way. A very talented member of the team (Neil) did some fantastic work improving the visual design of the component while I was buried under classloading related tasks. One of the things I loved about the JDev team in the early days was the freedom to do this kind of innovation. Although that flexibility to innovate had been almost entirely crushed by the time I left, you could sometimes still get away with it and succeed. 
Finally, Steve blogs elsewhere about log window search, which people begged and begged for until we finally relented and I was assigned the task late in the day. 
I'm still very proud of these things, and even prouder of all the other innovations my old team implemented. 

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3 comments:

  1. That's funny, I had the same impression yesterday when I saw that 7% of the bugs fixed in the last release were automatically reported by JDeveloper itself.

    It was also a personal project that started after a conversation with my friend Karl. I checked in without telling anyone and I am glad to see that many years later it is still reporting bugs.

    At the time I left, it was reporting bugs within the intranet only but I think you were looking at making it work for external customers. Does it work now for external customers?

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  2. Hey Cedric :)

    Yeah, the auto bug reporter was, and still is a darned awesome thing. We never got the time or management buy in to try to externalize it in any way, unfortunately. Rob Clevenger did a partial rewrite of the infrastructure at one point with a mind to making it easier to externalize, but then he left and went to Google.

    I always wanted to improve it - I wrote a manual bug filer for JDev that internal teams use a lot too (it can take screenshots etc), and I wanted to work toward merging all the feedback mechanisms. But then I also left and went to Google ;)

    You did some really amazingly cool things in JDev that help make it still a pretty nice IDE in my eyes (and I feel like I have a pretty balanced view these days, since I'm working with Eclipse and IntelliJ most of the time now).

    Brian

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  3. Hi Brian
    Even I am seriously proud of JDev (well the UML modellers mainly) ... even though I wrote not a line of code for it (-:
    It is the only thing I have ever worked on that ever really got out into the market (aside from a layout tool that I reviewed a bit for designer). I loved the early days too ... my first year was fairly blissful when I was working with Amy as my boss. I was able to take really dodgy builds and then do walkthroughs with expert testers and then email the clips straight back to you guys - so that we were actually chaning the design based on real data. For me that was the only time I have ever seen real extreme UI Design in practice and it was great. Although I made a few very poor design decisions which I got slammed for later ... putting multiple layers of tab buttons was one. But that was simply that there was no UI review process in place. I was so sad at the end of that year when the whole project got canned and so glad later that so much of was retrieved, revitalised and turned into product. Funny ol business software design.
    Lisa

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