Tuesday, August 31, 2010

RSS - The Really Unknown Syndication

At work, on the corporate intranet site, there is a daily survey question. Today's question was, "Do you use an RSS feed to capture news or similar info from websites?" The possible responses were:
Yes – I like that it sends me news I request. 
Yes – I’m just learning how this works.
No – I’ve never used it. 
No – I don’t know what that is.
With most survey components, you do not see the tabulated results until after you answer the question. Before I answered I thought that the response rate would be about 60% answering either "Yes – I like that it sends me news I request" or "Yes – I’m just learning how this works." Wow, was I off. Here are the actual results as of the time of this post:
The "Yes – I like that it sends me news I request" had 719 out of 13,856 or  5% of total.
The "Yes – I’m just learning how this works" received 300 responses out of 13,856 for a 2% affirmative rate.
The "No – I’ve never used it" got a 2,766 out of 13,856 or 20% of the total.
Finally, the "No – I don’t know what that is" answer received a whopping 10,071 out of 13,856 for a 73% response rate.
Again, wow! 93% of the respondents are not using RSS even though it has been broadly available since 2005. Given that the RSS acronym means Really Simple Syndication there are a good many of my fellow employees that have yet to discover the convenience and pleasure of using RSS to gather and consume their news and information.

Posted via email from Mark's Musings

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wired Mag is bumming me also!

From his August 23, 2010 blog entry, Nicolas Carr states that "he is bummed." Why? Because of Wired magazine's statements over the last 5 years:
Wired magazine cover story, August 2005: "We Are the Web"
Wired magazine cover story, September 2010: "The Web Is Dead"
Unavoidable conclusion: "We Are Dead"

He is right. If we are something and that something is dead, then irresistibly, we are dead. Wow! I could easily become bummed too!

Posted via email from Mark's Musings

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Citizen Developer

I have been thinking about the rise of user friendly development tools. Recently, Google released the Android App Inventor tool which according to Google, "App Inventor requires NO programming knowledge. This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app's behavior."
In addition to the Android App Inventor, Microsoft as released their beta version of WebMatrix, which "is for developers, students, or just about anyone who just wants a small and simple way to build Web sites."
So I did a search for the phrase "Citizen Programmer" or "Citizen Developer" to see what was out there. I found where last October, Gartner Group posted an article where they shared that by 2014, 25% of business applications will be done by these citizen developers. Interesting! The article defines a citizen developer as "a user operating outside of the scope of enterprise IT and its governance who creates new business applications for consumption by others either from scratch or by composition."
Historically, CASE tools were to enable the business person to do basic application development. In fact the programming language COBOL was meant to provide that ease of use and comprehension given its verbose and common-language structure.
I consider myself to be an example of a Citizen Developer as my educational background shows that you do not have to have formal development training to be a software developer. Since I received a B.S. in Education from Ohio University in 1993, I have basically learned to program by taking the time to learn to think computationally while learning and using the various interpreted and compiled languages and database systems.

The pattern in the past has been that tools that were marketed to enable business line personnel to create business applications actually required some development skills (such as Microsoft's WebMatrix discussed above). The result was that the tool was moved into the development teams as another tool in the software programming arsenal, leaving the users still depending on the software team to produce the programs.

However, it is my hope that tools such as Android App Inventor will proliferate and result in the growth of the Citizen Developer.

Posted via email from Mark's Musings

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Lions, tigers, tracking, oh my!

Just looked at a Wall Street Journal Blog article What They Know. While I agree that apps that record and retrieve keystrokes are evil, in my view, most tracking is for data purposes to better serve customers with more relevant advertisements. Agreed?

Posted via email from Mark's Musings