How Failing Fast allows you to reframe the problem

Just read an article on Fast Company on how human powered flight was solved by Paul MacCready. It's really cool because it's not a software story, but it has so many similarities with software. Success centers around creating an environment where you can iterate on your idea. I like stories like this because the motto of "fail fast" gets hollow as it is over used. After a while It's hard to remember what it originally meant. Stories help re-affirm it's meaning.

In so many ways this is really what agile software development is trying to get you to. Agile demands a lot from your team, and the only way you can live up to the promises of agile development is to create this environment. Without it you'll just fail, or worse just survive on far less productivity.

No more big design up front. It failed people for human powered flight, it failed for cars, and it failed for software.



View Source and SVG on the iPad

I'm playing around with SVG on the iPad, and I find it's hard to really debug even the smallest thing on it. Apple is a lot of things, but calling them a developer of great development environments would be a grandiose lie. Before I say something I'll have to do a lot of explaining about I wanted to share a script for view the source on your iPad for SVG documents.


To get this on the iPad follow these steps.

  1. Open this page on the iPad.

  2. Select all of the text from the prior paragraph

  3. Add a bookmark for this page.

  4. Edit the 2nd field and past the copied text in there

  5. Now open a SVG document and click your new bookmark

This is a modified version of source code from Rob's Blog. The only problem with Rob's version is the use of innerHTML. Unfortunately, SVG doesn't have innerHTML. This code will handle document nodes that don't have innerHTML property by cloning them and placing the clone in a DIV element. That way we can properly get the innerHTML from there. Using this code will allow you to see the SVG and HTML source.

Here's the source code for this bookmarklet for easy debugging if you have trouble:

var sourceWindow = window.open('about:blank');
var newDoc = sourceWindow.document;
newDoc.write('<html><head><title>Source of ' + document.location.href + '</title></head><body></body></html>');
var pre = newDoc.body.appendChild(newDoc.createElement("pre"));
var src = '';
if( document.documentElement.innerHTML ) {
src = document.documentElement.innerHTML;
} else {
var div = newDoc.createElement("div");
div.appendChild( document.documentElement.cloneNode(true) );
src = div.innerHTML;