It’s been ages since I’ve blogged, but it’s not because I’m sitting around nothing… actually I have been doing that too… but it makes me feel better if I try and cover my tracks with activity…

  • I’ve got an interview over at DZone’s groovy portal
  • Sven and I have been working hard on building up the Grails Podcast (600 downloads in the last 5 days, a good sign of health). We’ve got a few interviews happening over the next couple of weeks, and then a few more at JavaOne (I can’t make it but Sven has a press pass for the Grails Podcast! How cool!). Stay tuned.
  • groovyblogs has had massive performance improvements in the last couple of weeks (you’ll recall how painfully slow things were a couple of weeks ago?). Turns out the fix didn’t required a single line of code change. And didn’t even required the app server to be restarted! What was it? Clue: create index on table (field). Which explains why it’s been getting slower and slower for no apparent reason (it’s you guys generating content!)
  • And another super secret project involving dead trees that you won’t hear a word from me about for a month or two…

But enough excuses, that’s not the point of this post. I was having coffee the other day with one of the guys who works in my little recruitment company. One question that I love to ask developers is “What’s on your kungfu list?” - in other words, what areas are you weak in that you’re actively working on making sharper? And he asked me the same. The first thing for me is testing-related stuff. Good coverage, all that. You’ve read heaps about this in my MockFor(March) series, so you know things are happening there. The other big kungfu item for me is design.

Starting Design Kungfu with FontDoc

I don’t mean technical design stuff of architecture, loose coupling, clean interfaces and all that. I mean visual design. CSS. Fonts. Gradients. Colour schemes. All that softer stuff. I’ve long been king of the Franken UI, and the current blog theme for Gravl irritates me no end. It just looks cluncky. groovyblogs looks a little better, and is helped by your thumbnails, but it’s not really visually compelling either.

The Rails community knocks this one out of the park. They have done some really stunning stuff with visuals and even their hardcore developer guys still seem to still cross-skill pretty nicely to the web design space. So it’s time to catch up. I’m totally convinced that design stuff is learnable for all of us (even those of us who aren’t naturally endowed with good design skills), and I’m going to start doing something about it.


 Ludwig Gatzke’s compilation of Web2.0 logos hacked by Glen


So for the next little while I’m off for a little journey into very-much-softer the world of graphic design. If you’re a Franken UI guy, feel free to tag along. If you’ve already got some snazzy design skills, would love your input as I beef up my puny design muscles.

Happy Gradients…