Interview for The FLiP Show
FLiP interview with Jeff Peters
Michael Smith: This time we are talking with Jeff Peters about his CFUNITED-05
talk "The FLiP Show". So why should a developer come to your session Jeff?
Jeff Peters: This is going to be a very different kind of session, Michael.
Instead of having everyone sit through a PowerPoint presentation that I think
will be absolutely fascinating, we're going to talk briefly about the steps
included in the FLiP process, then let the session be driven by audience
MS: What exactly is FLiP and why should developers care about it?
JP: FLiP is the Fusebox Lifecycle Process. It is the system design lifecycle
that has "grown up" alongside Fusebox. It provides a very clear pathway to
follow in designing and building applications, and is particularly effective in
MS: And what's a "methodology", exactly?
JP: It's a fancy word for "method". A methodology tells you how to approach a
software project. In other words, what steps to take.
MS: Why do we need FLiP? Doesn't Fusebox do a good job of organizing code and
providing focus to software applications?
JP: Fusebox organizes the project code, but FLiP organizes the people and
communications on the project. In my experience most project failures are not
due to some technical problem, but are caused by people communication problems.
For example the client may say they want X. We program Y for them and in reality
they need Z! This is scope creep caused by miscommunication. The problem is that
clients and programmers speak different languages. Even though both claim to
speak English, really clients speak a dialect called "clientese" and programmers
speak the "techish" dialect. No wonder we both get confused about what the other
MS: How does FLiP help solve those problems?
JP: FLiP provides provides tools and processes to allow for communication.
Instead of just using more words to try to communicate, FLiP translates those
words into wireframes and prototypes. The client tells us something and instead
of just making a note and interpreting what the client means at coding time, we
produce something for the client to look at, to click through. And we say, "You
mean like THIS?" And we keep wireframing and prototyping until the client says,
"Yes, THAT is exactly what I mean." It reduces misunderstandings enormously.
MS: So the client actually gets to see the application before it's built?
JP: Exactly. You could think of FLiP like a digital camera with a time machine
that can see into the future. That is after all the late night code changes and
crazy client phone calls, to a time when (finally!) your application finally
does exactly what the client needs. If you could do this and bring the photos
back to the present day and link them all together into a clickable website,
then that could be your model. Imagine how much coding time and frustration you
could save if there were no changes or misunderstandings from having this
perfect model available at the beginning of your project. The database could be
designed right the first time and you could easily pick out common code to
MS: Cool! By the way, "audience participation" sounds a bit dangerous. You're not
planning on something like "Jerry Springer", are you?
JP: Well...no. It will be something like a talk show format, in that I'll be
taking questions about the FLiP process, horror stories or lessons learned from
the audience, but I sincerely doubt we'll have any need for security (or the
kind of language they frequently bleep out of the Springer show).
MS: That's reassuring. I don't think we're ready for TV yet.
JP: No, but I do hope we'll have some very interesting interaction anyway.
MS: So it sounds as though attendees should prepare something in the way of
questions. What are the rules?
JP: None, really, except an interest in Fusebox and FLiP. I'll bring a few of
my favorite stories and examples in case the audience isn't as forthcoming as
we'd like, but frankly I doubt that will be a problem. The CFers I know always
seem to be ready to talk about their interests.
MS: Sounds great. I think I'll try to make it to this one.
JP: OK, but bring your question!
MS: You can submit questions ahead of time at:
The best question will win a copy of Jeff's new book Fusebox 4.1 Update from