As t → zero

Andy Hunt asked a while ago, What happens when t approaches 0?”

One of the interesting topics that came up today at Software Trends was “what happens when the time to develop a new application approaches zero?” It will never be zero, of course, but it will, over time, asymptotically approach zero. Suppose we finally get to the stage where a single developer, sitting at a laptop, can develop an application as fast as the end user/sponsor/customer can describe what they want.

I’ve been noticing a few web projects lately that are built at light speed. There’s nothing new about this as I’m sure lots of cool programs in history were written in a day or a weekend. Still, websites are the coolest programs in history because they’re immediately accessible by the whole planet, so it’s great to read about these projects happening. Thanks to the power of social networks, blogging, etc etc, it means a new service can come on and immediately its creator gets an idea about how big it will be and where to take it.

Here are some examples:

  • Startup Weekend brought 70-odd people together to build a new startup in two days. The blog from the event and the blog of the subsequent website, VoSnap is candid and the insights and admissions fascinating.
  • TwitterVision was built in four hours.”>built in four hours. This is, at present, my canonical example of lightning-fast development and the power of the mash. Not just spiking the concept, but actually a full delivery. (Twitter itself is rumoured to have been built in a week, which seems fair as it’s more the idea that makes it what it is.)
  •, which claims over a million big file downloads, was built by two guys in a weekend in ’05, two normal 8am-6pm days. Here’s how
  • RailsDay challenges developers to build something real in 24 hours. (The idea is sound, though execution lacked apparently, hence no repeat this year I guess.)
  • Yahoo! HackDay encouraged fast mashups and led to the GetUsOrganized startup.
  • AnAppADay The “software jedi” wrote 30 apps in 30 days. I’ve often contemplated taking a week off and doing 7 websites in 7 days. I’ve got enough ideas and can code them fast enough to get something out with Rails, the problem is deploying in a manner that’s stable, cheap, and secure. Looking forward to the day when Rails deployment becomes as simple and cheap as PHP … or maybe I should just bake cake.

Drag a custom window with Adobe Air

Quick tip. Been playing with Adobe Air recently and was trying to let the user drag a "systemChrome="none" transparent="true" around. The definitive Air reference has an example that shows how to close and minimize, but not how to move it. And all the examples I could find are Flash-based rather than the HTML/JS/Ajax approach I’m taking (along with some forum posters who were as confused as I was). Based on the Flash examples and the close/minimise pattern, it turned out to be this simple:


  1. document.body.onmousedown =
  2.         function() { window.htmlControl.stage.window.startMove(); }

Ajax Patterns Lookalike

So there’s this Japanese R&D blog that focuses on covers and spotted an uncanny resemblance.


Ajax Design Patterns

Ajax Design Patterns

  • 作者: Michael Mahemoff
  • 出版社/メーカー: Oreilly & Associates Inc
  • 発売日: 2006/07
  • メディア: ペーパーバック



紀伊国屋、DVD「バクダッド・カフェ 完全版」を4月25日に発売


Bagdad Cafe is an arthouse that was always in the video library but I never watched. The film runs 95 minutes in the U.S. and 108 minutes in the German version). It is a somewhat surreal comedy set in a down-at-heel truck-stop café and motel in the Mojave Desert. An ill-assorted cast of characters are assembled, including a plump German tourist (Sägebrecht as Jasmin) who has left her husband after a row in the middle of the desert, the short-tempered owner of the café (Pounder as Brenda) who has just thrown her husband out, Brenda’s two children and grandchild, a strange ex-Hollywood set-painter (Palance), and a glamorous tattoo artist (Kaufmann). Through a passion for cleaning and for magic tricks, Jasmin transforms the café and all the people in it.