Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 17th Dec 2009 22:16 UTC
Mac OS X Late last night (CET), we reported on the story that the VLC project needed more developers for the Mac version of this popular video player, or else the Mac variant may disappear. Just about every website out there reported on this issue, but it turns out it all got a bit exaggerated (on the internet? Surely you jest...). We spoke to VLC developer Pierre d'Herbemont to clarify the issue, and they've also put up a wiki page about the so-called demise of the Mac version of VLC. He also detailed what, exactly, they meant by "Apple is blocking us".
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RE[2]: Qt4 Interface?
by Kroc on Fri 18th Dec 2009 09:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Qt4 Interface?"
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

I speak as a developer who, when he has something new to build, goes out and finds somebody who has already done it, download the code and discover that it’s an ugly, unmaintainable, over-engineered mess that’s more effort to redesign and repurpose than to simply start from scratch.

I could have used MarkDown but it was useless for my needs so I wrote ReMarkable. I could have used a CMS, but they’re all too bloated and changing the HTML would be a backward cow-pat shovelling mission, cleaning up their mistakes. I wrote my own. I throw away and write my own—new and better—tool for almost every third party piece of code I come across.

The fact is, that once a project has been started with an initial design, that project is now on a set of rails and can go in only one direction. The more steam it builds up the bigger the turning circle it has.

In every instance, it is more effort to try turn around a big, fast moving project with many people, than it is to create a new skunkworks project and go you own—better—direction.

It’s why Google contributed to Firefox up to a point (paying full time developers) and then made their own browser. Firefox had gathered the steam to open the marketplace to competition, but cutting the bloat from Firefox was too difficult to do by removing things people were now used to—their only option was to start from scratch.

This will happen, and will keep on happening, and is why even with QT4 so well developed, developers will *still* opt to roll their own—because it would take too much effort to change the fundamental design of QT4 than it would be to just write something new.

I _hate_ Qt4 apps on OS X. They are awful, unwieldy pieces of crap. They look worse than an amateur OS X programmer starting out with their first app. At least the amateur programmer coding for the first time has XCode, the HIG, Interface Builder (which allows easy HIG sizing / placing) and a sense of what an OS X app is supposed to look like.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[3]: Qt4 Interface?
by strcpy on Fri 18th Dec 2009 09:37 in reply to "RE[2]: Qt4 Interface?"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20

I speak as a developer who, when he has something new to build, goes out and finds somebody who has already done it, download the code and discover that it’s an ugly, unmaintainable, over-engineered mess that’s more effort to redesign and repurpose than to simply start from scratch.

[...] I wrote my own. I throw away and write my own—new and better—tool for almost every third party piece of code I come across.


I am sorry if this is too harsh, but this needs to be said if the case truly is what you describe above. It seems like you are not much of a developer.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Qt4 Interface?
by Kroc on Fri 18th Dec 2009 09:43 in reply to "RE[3]: Qt4 Interface?"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Odd, I get a few e-mails a week from people who are blown away by my code.

Perhaps then I’m a developer who has standards higher than the average.

"The Internet is full of generic code that solves generic problems, generically."

I think you’ll find that the truism is that _most_ code is crap. Not the other way around.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Qt4 Interface?
by silix on Fri 18th Dec 2009 11:33 in reply to "RE[3]: Qt4 Interface?"
silix Member since:
2006-03-01

"I speak as a developer who, when he has something new to build, goes out and finds somebody who has already done it, download the code and discover that it’s an ugly, unmaintainable, over-engineered mess that’s more effort to redesign and repurpose than to simply start from scratch.

[...] I wrote my own. I throw away and write my own—new and better—tool for almost every third party piece of code I come across.


I am sorry if this is too harsh, but this needs to be said if the case truly is what you describe above. It seems like you are not much of a developer.
"
as i learned in the field and from others in the field, the good developer is one who is able to write a workable solution, satisfying the requirements, in the least time possible, possibly conforming to coding conventions and maintaining code clarity throughout development (that is, assuming his code must and will be reused by others) and, last but not least, evaluating the best tools for the job, and this includes including the choice between an initial/inspirational codebase, and starting from scratch

this is because other people's code is a solution to other people's requirements, and the result of their development skills, mental process and coding style - so when a publicly available open source project works, but results from conventions and practices differing beyond a certain threshold (say, no unit tests because the programmer doesnt' know about them, or thinks he can do without them - or use convoluted constructs - and be forgiven because he is oh so l33t, or simply because he doesnt intend his code to be read and resused by others) there is an inevitable cost (in time, which when you develop commercially becomes money) associated with evaluating the codebase, learning its structure and understanding what the code does, and then (notice that at this point one has already spent some time) balancing it out against the option of starting from scratch (wich has has an obious disadvantage but, may be largely preferable)

if one takes an existing project made of messy code (maybe even written by duct tape programmers ( http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2009/09/23.html )) to spend 6 months developing into it in order to make the software do something alike to what he needs, and coming up with a 10% larger, but equally messy, codebase; how is he a better developer than someone who, after evaluating the above open source codebase, decides to start anew, and in 6 months is able comes up with a smaller but vastly cleaner (thus more easily expandable) C# code base, complete with unit tests and all, doing exactly what he needs with roughly the same performance?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Qt4 Interface?
by segedunum on Fri 18th Dec 2009 14:24 in reply to "RE[2]: Qt4 Interface?"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

This will happen, and will keep on happening, and is why even with QT4 so well developed, developers will *still* opt to roll their own—because it would take too much effort to change the fundamental design of QT4 than it would be to just write something new.

For starters, it's Qt. QT is QuickTime.

Secondly, the long line of cross-platform toolkits and development avenues proves you wrong. Porting individually to each platform is a spectacular amount of work that merely ends up creating a dominant port where ports on other platforms, including the Mac, are totally incomplete. It's happened with Firefox and it's happened with Eclipse and SWT, which are both primarily Windows platforms. You're best off starting with a cross-platform GUI toolkit and then making your own slight platform specific changes. For an application like VLC it's possibly less of a concern.

I _hate_ Qt4 apps on OS X. They are awful, unwieldy pieces of crap. They look worse than an amateur OS X programmer starting out with their first app.

Would you rather there were no applications there at all for the Mac, because that's what's at stake? As your application base grows then I'm afraid the ideas of purity don't continue to hold, which is possibly one of the reasons why few developers in the world are interested in the Mac. That and there not being much of an installed base.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Qt4 Interface?
by google_ninja on Fri 18th Dec 2009 14:40 in reply to "RE[2]: Qt4 Interface?"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

It depends what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you are doing it for fun, or it is some sort of project where you have your own skin in the game, then I fully agree with you. If you are getting paid to write code, typically it is to get a job done, not to create a masterpiece. There is definitely such a thing as taking pride in your work, but re-inventing the wheel for every little thing because you feel it is more elegant is never what the customer is paying you for. There is an evaluation process when choosing what to use for any piece of technology: does it do what i need it to do? is it supported? is the cost to use it less then the cost to roll my own? is it extensible in the ways I will probably need it to be extensible? is it improving at an acceptable rate? none of these are black and white questions, and all of them are important if you are going to make the the right kind of decision that people pay programmers to make.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Qt4 Interface?
by strcpy on Fri 18th Dec 2009 15:11 in reply to "RE[3]: Qt4 Interface?"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20

It depends what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you are doing it for fun, or it is some sort of project where you have your own skin in the game, then I fully agree with you. If you are getting paid to write code, typically it is to get a job done, not to create a masterpiece.


Not only this. If you've ever worked with large projects -- open or closed and for money or for fun -- something that takes years and years to write by a team of programmers, you quickly learn that rewriting is hardly an option, at least an option for you to make.

Or if you've ever worked within a large team.

Or if you've ever worked with a mature codebase.

Or or or.

As someone referred to Joel (on software), a quick pick could also be:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html

The title is: Things You Should Never Do, Part I.

Edited 2009-12-18 15:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Qt4 Interface?
by vivainio on Fri 18th Dec 2009 14:41 in reply to "RE[2]: Qt4 Interface?"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

I speak as a developer who, when he has something new to build, goes out and finds somebody who has already done it, download the code and discover that it’s an ugly, unmaintainable, over-engineered mess that’s more effort to redesign and repurpose than to simply start from scratch.


That's called "not invented here" syndrome, and is shared by majority of developers.

It's an unfortunate glitch in programmer psyche that code is easier to write / design than read / understand / debug. That's especially prominent if the code is a bit on the overengineered side (frameworkitis...)

Edited 2009-12-18 14:42 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2