A language for parallel programmability

Parallel programming is difficult. No surprises there really. I came across a great slide deck discussing some of the issues in detail. A portion of the deck does a great job of using the Cognitive Dimensions framework to analyse various language constructs. Well worth looking at.


Do we really need another book about making software?

Late last year, I was asked to contribute a chapter to an upcoming O’Reilly book called ‘Making Software’. I wrote a chapter describing how we learned what it means for an API to be considered usable. A rough cut version of the chapter and the book is available at http://my.safaribooksonline.com/9780596808310. The rough cuts version is an early…


How do you evaluate API usability?

As a consumer of an API, how do you tell how usable the API is? Do you learn though bitter experience? Do you experiment with small development projects to see what the experience is like or do you dive in head first with a larger project? Do you even think about evaluating API usability before…


What makes a platform compelling?

I posted a few weeks ago asking how important API usability is. At least three people believe that it’s important. Thanks to Bing, I found that others seem to agree too: David Koelle on API usability, API usability people and resources, Mathieu Jacques’ article on CodeProject, Carnegie Mellon University API Usability project, and there is…


Scottish developers, we need you!

If you are a software developer and you live and work in Scotland, and you are interested in helping us out with our user experience research programme please let me know. There are lots of ways you can participate – being a participant in a study, answering a survey, allowing me to come to your…


Are you experienced?

I used to be a software developer. I worked for Motorola, building debuggers and simulators for smartcard microcontrollers (the 8 bit 68HC05SC to be precise…). When I joined the Visual Studio User Experience team I had the benefit of experience with Visual Studio and experience with software development in general. But I don’t believe that…


Who cares about API usability?

Do you? Does it really matter if an API is usable or not? If a platform is compelling enough, will you still develop for it even if the APIs are terrible?


API usability evaluation

Christopher Oezbek is keeping notes about an API usability evaluation he is doing using the cognitive dimensions.


HOWTO: Run an API usability study

With the task list in place and participants recruited, it’s time to run the study. My experience has been that running an API usability study is really no different from running any other type of study. Here’s a description of what I do. The day before the study I make sure that the machines I’ll…


HOWTO: Design and run an API usability study

A few people have asked me about how I design and run API usability studies. I’m running an Indigo study this week so I thought I would describe the steps that went into setting this study up. The study is a follow up to the Indigo study we ran in October and which identified a number…