Distributed Computing

Vol. 7 No. 5 – June 2009

Distributed Computing

Painting the Bike Shed:
A sure-fire technique for ending pointless coding debates

Last week one of our newer engineers checked in a short program to help in debugging problems in the code that we’re developing. Even though this was a test program, several people read the code and then commented on the changes they wanted to see. The code didn’t have any major problems, but it seemed to generate a lot of e-mail for what was being checked in. Eventually the comments in the thread were longer than the program itself. At some point in the thread the programmer who submitted the code said, "Look, I’ve checked in the code; you can paint the bike shed any color you want now," and then refused to make any more changes to the code. I can understand his frustration at nitpicking comments, but what did he mean about painting the bike shed?

by George V. Neville-Neil

Browser Security: Lessons from Google Chrome:
Google Chrome developers focused on three key problems to shield the browser from attacks.

The Web has become one of the primary ways people interact with their computers, connecting people with a diverse landscape of content, services, and applications. Users can find new and interesting content on the Web easily, but this presents a security challenge: malicious Web-site operators can attack users through their Web browsers. Browsers face the challenge of keeping their users safe while providing a rich platform for Web applications.

by Charles Reis, Adam Barth, Carlos Pizano