Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Can't ignore IE

I've been using Ubuntu as my operating system for the past five years. So long that I almost forgot that you must always check your web site for IE compliance. Well, I didn't forget so much as I wasn't concerned.

So since I've been shopping for contracts---I decided to return to consulting if I can line up the right opportunities--I thought it would be wise to review the user experience of my site, devinvenable.com, using IE. I fired up a virtual machine running Windows XP, opened up IE 8, and was hit with Javascript errors. Doh!

It's simple enough to conditionally remove code from your page that won't run on IE, or conditionally include code that does. Even if you use cross-platform javascript libraries like jQuery, as I do, you are still bound to run into issues from time to time.

<!--[if IE]>
You are using IE (IE5+ and above), so include include script that is specific for IE here.

<![if !IE]>
You are NOT using IE, so feel free to use HTML 5 features.

So don't get lazy and assume that IE is history. While it's true that many savvy technical users have ditched IE for Chrome or Firefox, there are always users who will use IE because it is installed by default on their Windows OS.

Writing this entry made me curious about the current browser usage statistics. Amazingly, Firefox is way out in front with 42.9% this month, followed by Chrome at 25.6%. Microsoft's IE is still hanging in there with a respectable 24.3%. Still a contender but far from being the market leader in 2011.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Job search fun!

I've decided to make a transition. New opportunity, here I come!

Looking for a new gig is always a lot of hard work. One must find the right fit: good people, exciting technology, and room for growth. I've talked to one prospective employer already and was asked, "What would be your ideal job if you could have anything you dream of, the perfect environment?"

It's a tough question. As a technologist, I'm probably at the top of my game. With 14 years of software development, I've dappled in just about everything. I don't encounter new technologies or languages often for which I've not already built products. Because of this, I tend to stay in the trenches---doing hands on technical work.

I'm 42. At my age, some get out of the trenches and into management. I'm afraid I would be bored silly if my primary work tool was Microsoft Project. That said, I am a people person, and often find myself wishing for more socialization when working with other developers, as so often they are introverts.

I like building new products versus extending the work others did before me. Who wouldn't? So often you inherit a bug infested mess. Building systems from scratch is fun for me.

I love brainstorming and sharing ideas. I'm a dreamer and I always have been, and this tends to work for me in the creativity department.

I love open source projects and all things Linux. This doesn't always work to my benefit in the Tulsa market where many mid-sized corporations go with Microsoft solutions. Perhaps I ought to go after these markets, selling CTO's on the joy of open source and living in a license free world. For a fraction of what companies pay for licensing fees I could switch them over to free solutions. That's a gift that would keep on giving. Many mid-sized corporations would be well served ditching Oracle, for example, as the scalability and reliability of open source alternatives is easily demonstrable. And what about the hundreds of thousands they spend on DBA's? Database administration doesn't have to be this hard, folks.

I'm no closer now than when I started writing this blog entry to knowing what my ideal job would be. But at least the creative juices are flowing. :)