Clairvoyant Software Engineering

While ripping out old code and refactoring late last night, I muttered out something that I just had to write down: one of the most profound skills of a software engineer is the ability to foresee the moment when the negative consequences of implementing a feature outweigh its benefits. Quickly. Perhaps, that’s why the 37signals folks came up with their “It just doesn’t matter” mantra. Obviously, the other important skill is the ability to communicate and argue the point. Perhaps, that’s why all too often, software engineering fails massively on a larger scale.

Attention Google: License ActiveSync!

If any of the Googlers-in-charge are listening, here’s my pure-gold tip of the day:

Buy a license of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync Protocol.

With the rapid adoption of this protocol as de-facto standard for mobile email client synchronization and proliferation of Windows Mobile devices, it’s a no-brainer.

I bet it will take a couple of nights for 2 of your over-caffeinated server gurus to hack together GMail and Google Calendar support for this, making it possible to sync any ActiveSync-enabled client with your server data.

And then you will offer an ever-too-tempting alternative to the business users who have to stick with the Microsoft Exchange at this time, giving sad, longing looks to your cool email and calendaring suite.

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