The craziest requirement I’ve ever heard about

2007/10/15

Can you imagine a database table with 25000 (twenty five thousands) columns ? No, not rows, COLUMNS ! Now if you can do that, can you imagine displaying these columns in a datagrid (spreadsheet) on a screen ?

This is exactly what this guy is describing to be his requirements. I hope he did misunderstood or misread the requirements, because displaying 25000 columns on a screen is not only impossible – it is absolutely useless. How would the user interaction look like ? As one of the guys in the discussion pointed out, the table would be few hundred meters wide (assuming 1 cm cell and 19 inch monitor) ….

Monsters like this happens when the person responsible for WHAT needs to be done goes step further and defines his/her idea about HOW it should be done. I have seen it many times when otherwise very good functional analyst gets overexcited in the process and goes beyond domain model – makes the actual data model part of the spec – despite lack of data modeling or database skills. This is ususally a guaranteed way how to end with bad data model and lot of unnecessary complexity later on.

In this case, showing peak information about customer the key is slicing the time interval (to show just some subset of information), proper using of graphs and aggregation of the values with drill-down functionality to show the details.

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Unlike Vista, this user interface *is* something new

2006/12/20

Quite seldom I see something on the net that is elegant, beautiful, and simple – so simple that it becomes obvious. Last time I had this feeling was with iPod’s wheel.

There was lots of excitement about new Vista user interface features. The users who never used / saw OS-X, must love Vista. It is huge improvement over XP – much nicer, cleaner, very good typography, comes very close to Tiger. Linux users have their own great looking desktop XGL. From human-machine interaction point of view, neither Vista, nor XGL did really bring anything new – just caught up with Apple and added few eye candies on top. All this 3D-turning, spongy shaking windows, transparencies and rotating planes look indeed nice, but add very little to the functionality of Expose (besides, no one except Apple has two finger trackpad scrolls). So what is so cool about the BumpTop ? Everything.

User interface paradigm demonstrated in BumpTop prototype combines 3D graphics and physics in very new and creative ways. But see for yourself. The site offers hi-res videos in QT and WMV formats as downloads or torrents. The Youtube link to low res version is here. The lasso-n-cross idea and pile/unpile are so impressive. Enjoy !