While I’m working through the inevitable backlog of tasks that build up during a 2-week vacation, I thought I’d post something quickly about some of the events of the last fortnight. I’ll get back on with AU preparation and related technical posts later this week, I hope.
Firstly, a few people have asked me about our trip to Egypt.
We spent the first big chunk of our holiday at the beach, relaxing, snorkelling and scuba-diving. I actually stayed away from any kind of electronic communication for the whole time we were in El Quseir: the only news that managed to filter through to me was that Steve Jobs had sadly passed away, just to give you a sense of how disconnected I was (and how momentous that particular item of news was).
On the way back towards Switzerland, we stopped for a day of sightseeing in Cairo, just two days after the violence erupted there. Despite travelling a few times through the centre of the city (which we only did after checking with our local agent from Sobek Travel, Ayman Wadie, who acted as our host and guide, and comes with my highest recommendation), we didn’t experience any problems. The issues were very much domestic in nature, but still: despite the tension that many Egyptians are clearly now feeling, we experienced nothing but courtesy and were made to feel very welcome.
It’s definitely not my place to offer any kind of political analysis of the current situation in Egypt, but this article by The Economist seems to accurately reflect the opinions of two local Copts I talked with during my stay in the city (one of whom was at the fateful demonstration on the Sunday night but left before any violence started).
After the visit to Cairo we headed home, once again availing ourselves of the excellent Fly Rail Baggage service to have our luggage delivered to our local train station (having checked in at the local train station when we first left for Egypt – both services that are really helpful when travelling with children). I do love the Swiss railway service for that.
Secondly, a particular news item did the rounds towards the end of my vacation, the mistakenly public posting of an excellently written “rant” by Steve Yegge, an engineer formerly at Amazon and hopefully still at Google. The gist of this post was that while Amazon has its failings – in many ways it was an inferior place to work than Google, in Steve’s opinion – it has done one thing right, and that’s to place appropriate emphasis on providing platforms rather than just products. If you’d like to read further analysis then this article may be of interest, although I’d personally recommend taking the time to read the rant itself (it’s better written and far more entertaining in its entirety, especially if you don’t object to strong language).
Now I live and breathe this stuff: Steve’s words definitely resonate with me, whether related to the exposure of APIs for web services or for desktop applications, I get where he’s coming from. And thankfully so does Autodesk: while we clearly have to make measure investments in R&D – and sometimes API exposure necessarily lags behind feature work – we understand the benefits of providing platforms to our customers and development partners, and certainly strive to do so.
Some of our product teams have taken this to heart in a big way… for instance, while not originally having API exposure in their DNA – the founders of the original startup having worked on Pro/E at PTC – the Revit team has made huge strides towards an API-centric development model, whereby the API is at the centre of their feature work and is thoroughly dogfooded within the development organisation.
But I don’t want to use this as an opportunity to say how great we are (that wasn’t my original intention, at least ;-) as much as a request for a sanity check: What do you think? Does Autodesk generally meet your platform needs, or is Kean delusional?
This is your opportunity to let us know if you think we’re doing OK or if we’re way off the mark with our API exposure efforts (outside of the API wishlist surveys that we generally hold in the Spring). I can’t promise we'll be able to address any concerns you raise, but I will make sure the big items are validated by my team and passed on to the Engineering teams for our various products for consideration.