I am an author, speaker, and loud-mouth on the design of enterprise software. I work for ThoughtWorks, a software delivery and consulting company. This site contains lots of my writing on software development, which primarily focuses on software design and agile methods. To find your way around this site, go to the intro guide.


News and Updates

My atom feed (RSS) announces any updates to this site, as well as various news about my activities and other things I think you may be interested in. I also make regular announcements via my twitter feed, which I copy to my facebook page.


photostream 97

Sat 28 May 2016 12:46 EDT

Arnold Arboretum, Boston, MA


Basics of Web Application Security: Hash and Salt Your Users' Passwords

Wed 25 May 2016 09:08 EDT

If you need to store your users' passwords, it's essential that you never store them plainly. Instead you must store a cryptographic hash of them, so that people who get access to your database don't get the passwords. Cade and Daniel explain how to do this properly: salting the hash to avoid lookup table attacks, and using an appropriate hashing algorithm to defend against well-equipped attackers.


Refactoring a javascript video store

Wed 18 May 2016 10:05 EDT

The simple example of calculating and formatting a bill for a video store opened my refactoring book in 1999. If done in modern Javascript, there are several directions you could take the refactoring. I explore four here: refactoring to top level functions, to a nested function with a dispatcher, using classes, and transformation using an intermediate data structure.


photostream 96

Sun 24 Apr 2016 09:25 EDT

Burano, Italy


Videos of my talk at YOW! Nights

Thu 21 Apr 2016 14:51 EDT

Last month I was in Australia and gave a couple of talks at YOW! Nights. The talk in Sydney was captured on video and was just posted to YouTube. Like most such talks, I actually gave a suite of talks, so they wisely split the talk into the three videos, each of which is 20-30 minutes.

My first talk was on microservices, which is a talk that’s been captured a couple of times on video. However my two other talks were captured for the first time. My Event Sourcing talk describes the technique of event sourcing and its interesting advantages. While it was one my first small talks, this is the first time it’s been caught on video. My final talk was a brand new talk on Infrastructure as Code, which I gave for the first time while in Australia.


Born for it

Wed 20 Apr 2016 08:49 EDT

The stereotype of the socially-awkward, white, male programmer has been around for a long time. Although "diversity in tech" is a much discussed topic, the numbers have not been getting any better. On the contrary, a lot of people inside and outside of the IT industry still take it for granted that this stereotype is the natural norm, and this perception is one of the things that is standing in our way to make the profession more inclusive and inviting. So where does this image come from? Did the demographics of the world's programmer population really evolve naturally, because "boys just like computers more"? What shaped our perception of programmers? Birgitta Böckeler digs into some possible explanations.



Continuous Integration and Delivery

For a long time I’ve been a champion of Continuous Integration which reduces integration risk by integrating early and often, an application of the principle of Frequency Reduces Difficulty. We’ve found CI to be a core technique at ThoughtWorks and use it almost all the time. At the heart of this is a style of development that minimizes long feature branches with techniques like Branch By Abstraction and Feature Toggles.

While this is useful, there was still risk present from software that works in the development environment to getting it to work in production. As a result we developed Deployment Pipelines to reduce this risk, moving closer to our aim of Continuous Delivery: building software in such a way that we confidently deploy the latest builds into production whenever there is a business need. We find this improves feedback, reduces risk, and increases the visibility of project progress.

For more information: take a look at my guide page on Continuous Delivery.


NoSQL Databases

I’ve been involved in enterprise software for two decades and while we’ve seen huge technological change during that time, the relational database has been a constant figure. Previous attempts to dethrone relational databases have failed, but some people think the new rise of NoSQL databases will finally consign relational databases to history. While I think relational databases are going to be an important part of the landscape for a long time, I do think that there is a big change coming in the database field.

I’ve been collaborating with my colleague Pramod Sadalage, on exploring and explaining this shift. For more information take a look at the nosql guide.


TW logo

I discovered ThoughtWorks in 2000: then a small American company whose philosphy of software development was remarkably similar to my own. Now we’ve grown to around 4000 people world-wide, but kept the values that make us special. My colleagues have built critical systems for many clients in that time, and I’ve learned many lessons from them. While doing this, we found we often didn’t have the tools we needed, so we started to build them. This led to open-source tools such as CruiseControl, Selenium, Frank, and Moco as well as commercial products.

I have many opportunities, but I’ve stayed at ThoughtWorks because of the quality of my colleagues, who include both well-known speakers and those who may not be famous names but do an excellent job of software delivery (and feed me the information to write about). We are inspired by working with each other and our unusual three-pillar philosophy that raises professional excellence and social justice to the same level as financial performance.

And we are always looking for more great people to join our curious company. Maybe I’ll see you in one of our offices some day.



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