Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's Alive!

Good premise for a blog ... check.
Catchy title ... check.
Bad first-post title ... check.

OK! Start the blog!

Well, they say that third times the charm and since my other two blogs have gone stale and moldy, this would be the third. And it's not even a New Year's resolution! Actual internal motivation started this one ;)

So what is Def Sci about, you ask? Well basically I think that bioinformatics applications (and scientific software in general) is over-engineered and does not pay enough attention to the UI aspects of their software. Many projects and otherwise good idea fail to grasp the essential point that agile web development shops have been pushing of late; namely that without an intuitive and simple interface, you'll never get adoption and thus never get an evangelical early adopter community to beat your drums. I am here to espouse my views on simple and agile development, with a skew towards biomedical informatics.

Open source developers and commercial vendors, lend me your ears, because I have a direct line to actual researchers and deal with them daily! I know what they like and don't like about products! I know their needs! I am the bridge, if you will, between those that would sell me something and those that would use it.

But wait that's not all! I have a message for the biomedical researcher as well:

"Learn some programming, bub."

I kid you not when I say I have walked into a meeting and someone tells me they spent weeks trawling through protein result lists in excel determining which were the same/different across a couple of conditions and experiments and did I have a better way to do this. My answer: "That's three lines of code." OK, maybe four. Would take me 1 minute to code, and most of that time is spent typing, since I never did learn to type with more than 6 fingers.

So my audience, prepare yourself for a mix of posts ranging from problems folks approach me with (and the solution I come up with), to reviews of source software out there in the wild, to comments on projects that I am working on, to just plain old rants (like this one :) )