April 28, 2010

Please be specific when talking to your developers

Filed under: General — Tags: — Darrin Maidlow @ 4:46 pm

In the tabular reports we have the ability to format the output of a column using a standard String.Format syntax.   This is used often in the reports to convert string data containing URLs to clickable links when the page is rendered:

   1: "<a href=”{0}” target=”_blank”>{0}</a>"

This format string of course when applied to the source data would result in a hyperlink being created with the URL in both the href property of the link as well as the  visible link text.  called and asked if it would be possible to change the report so that it showed simply the word “View” instead of the url.  We already had a remote control session running so I opened up his RADE and changed the format string to:

   1: "<a href=”{0}” target=”_blank”>View</a>"

He saw this small change and I heard him slap his forehead, and he asked “Why didn’t you tell me this sooner, I’ve wanted to do this forever!”.  To this I responded “You never asked…”

So the moral of this story is directed to managers, sales types, or any other person who works with software developers.   We’re incredibly smart, and there is far too much good stuff inside our heads for us to just “tell you everything”.  If we were to try, you would either fall asleep or your head would pop.   So please, rather than expect us to tell you what you want to know – just ask. =)

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