Archive for the ‘Computer Science’ Category

Pair programming – a practice that promises increased efficiency and better code. After all, “Two heads are better than one.” At the same time, the pair approach to programming can drastically change the way one approaches the process. While some less social programmers (myself included) would just as well shut ourselves in a quiet room alone and program in peace, pair programming makes programming a more social task. This semester, I am taking Computer Science 3081: Program Design and Development at the University of Minnesota. This course requires that I complete a sizable programming project with a partner. As part of this process, I am required to leave my comfort zone, employing a couple programming strategies I have little experience with: pair programming and test-driven development. In this article, I will focus primarily on the impact pair programming has had on the process.

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A friend of mine was looking for a program that would allow him to automate a series of mouse actions to quickly set up his workspace. I know there are already some programs out there that do this, but I couldn’t help taking the opportunity to practice programming. You can check out the finished product on my software page.

Edit: Just uploaded a new version with an additional command.

There are a number of considerations that need to be made when designing a user interface for a computer program. One of the most fundamental is the question of how simple or complex to make the UI. Frequently this is a trade-off between ease of use and functionality. The more features you include, the more complicated the interface tends to get. Too often, developers seem to favor function over form, leaving end users with a very functional program that is too difficult to use to be of any real use to the average end user. While functionality is very important (it’s what makes the program a program), the UI is what really matters as it is how the user interacts with the program.

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