<< | Next Archive>>

Android Development Update Hell

It appears to me that recently, some developers have gone nuts. Like the ones sitting at Google. They don't seem to be interested in backwards or forwards compatibility, and are pushing out this incredible crazy development dependencies. As example, see below what I spent half of this day doing: I just wanted to debug CopperCube's Android client code on a newly bought phone. Should be easy, with a ready to run and working development environment, right? No:
Dear developers: Did you ever hear about the term backwards compatibility? Or forward compatibility? The software I write has over 500 highly complex features (from calculating math on 3D GPUs, over running a web server to generating Android apps on the fly, or rendering realtime 3d reflection surfaces), will run on Windows 8 and 10, and while using some of that operating system newest features, it will still also run on Windows 95. And you don't have to update each time you start that thing. It is not magic. You just don't have to be a lazy-ass developer, in order to make this possible.



Greenlit!

Last week, Valve sent me a friendly mail, notifying me that CopperCube has been greenlit. That's pretty neat news!

It will take some time making CopperCube available on steam, because this involves quite a bit more than just uploading the app there, but once this is done, maybe a few more people start using the game engine. This would be pretty nice, because then, I would be able to allocate more resources to continue developing even cooler new features for CopperCube.

I'll keep you updated on this.



The Real World doesn't have Undo

Software projects are quite often compared to other scenarios, like building a house or a car. I've often heard the claim that time estimates, planning or defect management are so much better in those other areas of engineering. But they are not true, in my opinion.

How many programmers do you know, who ever did some "real world engineering"? If you are a software developer, have you ever built something with your own hands? During the last 5 years, I've build a lot of stuff which was not software, and I can recommend to try it out: It is different to the process of building software, but you learn a lot which you can also re-use for your programming skills, interestingly.

For example, during the last 2 or 3 weekends, I build this thing here:



It is just a simple wall, a walk-in closet. But it is complex enough, and you need a bit of planning for it. When I built something like this the first time, and did something wrongly, I thought "Damn! There is no Undo button". There is also no copy and paste or version control system, so you need to do that project a little bit more differently than a software project.
But there are also a lot of similarities: Time and resource estimates are nearly always completely wrong. In the beginning usually by a factor 2, by my experience. But it gets better. It also doesn't matter if you are doing the project or parts of it yourself or are outsourcing it. It will usually take longer. And more money then anticipated. Also, there will be bugs. And the way they are fixed will not always be the correct one.

Basically, things I learned from building "real world stuff" is that planning and re-using is much more important than for software. Also, I think the way I am doing software projects has been improved quite a bit since I started building stuff like this. It is also a nice way to 'relax' from a thinking intensive programming session. So I can really recommend trying to do some DIY projects from time to time.



My Adventure of Getting a Code Signing Certificate

It was a surprisingly strange procedure to get a Code Signing Certificate. Which I decided to obtain in order to make the nasty ones of the browsers like Internet Explorer stop complaining when downloading installers for the software I develop.

Finally, I now have one. If you should decided to get one too, one day, read here what I had to go through: After having read quite a few times now that hackers and malware programmers apparently are able to easily sign their software with false certificates, I wonder if all this was it worth at all. And since the certificate is only valid for one year, I hope I won't have to do this again in 2016.

The process of getting this was costly (from the perspective of an indie developer) and quite complicated - and this although mostly everything went well. Imagine something would have gone wrong. I think this might also be the reason why code isn't signed that often.