Insights and outlooks on software development

S'true

On Flickr and JSON vs JSONP

Friday, September 16, 2011 by Thomas L

I've been playing somewhat with the Flickr API lately since I've been preparing a workshop in introductory jQuery, and the Flickr API is a great example in doing GETs for JSON content. However, the Flickr API returns JSONP instead of JSON by default. A typical response:

jsonFlickrApi({
  "photos": {
    "page": 1,
    "pages": 1033,
    "perpage": 100,
    "total": "103268",
    "photo": [{...}]
  }
})

In order not to confuse my students, I wanted to start using pure JSON, i.e. letting the response be

{
  "photos": {
    "page": 1,
    "pages": 1033,
    "perpage": 100,
    "total": "103268",
    "photo": [{...}]
  }
}

I couldn't find this in the Flickr API docs, which are rather good, but later I found out that you can append &nojsoncallback=1 to the request URL to accomplish the latter response.

On design vs. style

Friday, September 2, 2011 by Thomas L

So, recently I was listening to the Style episode of This Developer's Life, talking about the importance of design. In the beginning, the interviewer talks to a designer working at Microsoft, and it hit me that they, without mentioning it, are talking about the single reason why Apple has fared so well in the marketplace.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
- Steve Jobs

Compare the quote from Steve Jobs above to the Microsoft designer talking about colors in the code surface.

Design isn't visuals, it's the entire user experience. If you're only doing a fair job thinking about how the user will actually use your feature, there's no way the user is going to think your product is good even though you put a lot of thought into the color scheme.