Ned Batchelder writes about pulling weeds (via HMK) and I agree wholeheartedly.

Most people don’t like weeding. In a garden on a sunny day with good tools, it can be enjoyable, but planting is really the fun part. The same goes for software. You want to be making new stuff, not maintaining old cruft. With habitual pruning and weeding, you can maintain the code while you are working on the fun stuff.

My garden began with a few seasons of digging dandelions in the company of a three-year-old who was happy enough to dig in the dirt while I dug up the long tap roots. I now garden with a six-year-old who knows that the weeds we don’t dig up today will come back next year with brothers and sisters and nephews and cousins.

The native plants grow well and survive when we go on vacation. I don’t know where pansies come from, but they need an unnatural amount of water (relative to the other plants in my garden). The colors are pretty, but I probably won’t plant them again. In software, some parts of the code seem to need an unnatural amount of maintenance. Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas talk about software as gardening and how when it is difficult to maintain it may be an indicator that the requirements are incorrect. Are you trying to plant an orchid in a desert? Sometimes that feature just doesn’t belong. If it is required, maybe the rest of the ecosystem needs to be developed.

I’ve been meaning to learn more about XAML and was interested to see a very approachable app demonstrated in a tutorial by Joe Marini (via Sam Wan).

Since I left my msdn subscription at the office, I decided to write the app in LZX (from Laszlo Systems) to see how the two compare.

The Laszlo app is 39 lines of code, while the XAML version is 70. While I don’t believe that brevity is all important, I do think it helps.

LZX app

LZX code

Independent of the academic interest in the comparison of the two languages. The Laszlo app will, of course, run in your browser today without the need to install extra software or wait for an OS upgrade.

The mapping application gives consumers a visual way to quickly and easily find a hotel. To try it yourself click “search by map” on the La Quinta homepage. Be sure to check out the state of Texas, which has so many La Quinta Inns that a zoom in feature was needed. The coolest thing about this app is behind the scenes. When La Quinta adds a hotel, all they need to do is update a database with the name & GPS location of the Inn and, with a little Laszlo magic, the app does the rest.

“Laszlo’s use of open standards makes it easy for us to integrate LPS into our existing architecture without added complexity or infrastructure costs,” said Raven Zachary, Director of Internet Technology at La Quinta Inns. (read more)