during: 2016


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2017 · 2016 · 2015 · 2014 · 2013 · 2012 · 2011 · 2010 · 2009 · 2008 · 2007 · 2006 · 2005 · 2004 · 2003 · 2002 · 2001 · 2000 · 1999 · 1998 · 1997 · 1996

All Content

Dominion Second Edition

There is a second edition of Dominion base game and Intrigue

21 December 2016



Sometimes when I work with some data, that data is more precise than I expect. One might think that would be a good thing, after all precision is good, so more is better. But hidden precision can lead to some subtle bugs.

22 November 2016



When programming, I often find it's useful to represent things as a compound. A 2D coordinate consists of an x value and y value. An amount of money consists of a number and a currency. A date range consists of start and end dates, which themselves can be compounds of year, month, and day.

As I do this, I run into the question of whether two compound objects are the same. If I have two point objects that both represent the Cartesian coordinates of (2,3), it makes sense to treat them as equal. Objects that are equal due to the value of their properties, in this case their x and y coordinates, are called value objects.

14 November 2016


Serverless Architectures

by Mike Roberts

Serverless architectures refer to applications that significantly depend on third-party services (knows as Backend as a Service or "BaaS") or on custom code that's run in ephemeral containers (Function as a Service or "FaaS"), the best known vendor host of which currently is AWS Lambda. By using these ideas, and by moving much behavior to the front end, such architectures remove the need for the traditional 'always on' server system sitting behind an application. Depending on the circumstances, such systems can significantly reduce operational cost and complexity at a cost of vendor dependencies and (at the moment) immaturity of supporting services.

4 August 2016


Bimodal IT

Bimodal IT is the flawed notion that software systems should be divided into these two distinct categories for management and control.

21 June 2016



YAaaS: Yet Another as a Service

These days everything seems to need to be "as a service", so we need a meta-term for this linguistic trend. My thanks to my colleague Birgitta Böckeler for coming up with one. So now we can say things like "FaaS is a YAaaS for 'Function'".

16 June 2016



by Sriram Narayan

People who sponsor development of software usually aren’t very interested in development metrics such as velocity or frequency of deployment to production. They care more about business benefits that the software will deliver such as lower manual effort, better sales conversion, greater customer satisfaction, i.e business outcomes. Outcome-oriented teams are those that are mandated and equipped to deliver business outcomes, such teams have people with the capability to carry out all necessary activities to realize the outcome.. By contrast, ActivityOriented teams are neither equipped nor mandated to do so. They can only perform one of several activities required to realize an outcome.

1 June 2016


Refactoring a JavaScript video store

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.

18 May 2016


Born for it

by Birgitta Böckeler

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? This text is about some possible explanations I found when reading about the history of computing.

20 April 2016


It's Not Just Standing Up: Patterns for Daily Standup Meetings

by Jason Yip

Daily stand-up meetings have become a common ritual of many teams, especially in Agile software development. However, there are many subtle details that distinguish effective stand-ups and a waste of time.

21 February 2016



During my career, I've heard many arguments about how long a function should be. This is a proxy for the more important question - when should we enclose code in its own function? Some of these guidelines were based on length, such as functions should be no larger than fit on a screen . Some were based on reuse - any code used more than once should be put in its own function, but code only used once should be left inline. The argument that makes most sense to me, however, is the separation between intention and implementation. If you have to spend effort into looking at a fragment of code to figure out what it's doing, then you should extract it into a function and name the function after that “what”. That way when you read it again, the purpose of the function leaps right out at you, and most of the time you won't need to care about how the function fulfills its purpose - which is the body of the function.

30 November 2016


The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

An engrossing mix of cartoons in a steampunk pocket universe, and informative footnotes about the pioneers of computing and their real Victorian world.

20 November 2016



Aliasing occurs when the same memory location is accessed through more than one reference. Often this is a good thing, but frequently it occurs in an unexpected way, which leads to confusing bugs.

14 November 2016



I hated carrots when I was growing up, hating the smell and texture of the things. But after I left home and started to cook for myself I started to like them. Nothing changed about the carrots, nor did my taste buds get a radical overhaul, the difference was in the cooking. My mother, like so many English people of her generation, wasn't a great cook - particularly of vegetables. Her approach was to boil carrots for twenty minutes or more. I since learned that if you cook them properly, carrots are a totally different experience.

This isn't a site about cooking, but about software development. But I find that often a technique or tool is like the poor carrot - blamed for being awful when the real problem is that the technique is being done incorrectly.

23 June 2016



by Badri Janakiraman

Serverless architectures are internet based systems where the application development does not use the usual server process. Instead they rely solely on a combination of third-party services, client-side logic, and service hosted remote procedure calls (FaaS).

20 June 2016



by Sriram Narayan

A business-capability centric team is one whose work is aligned long-term to a certain area of the business. The team lives as long as the said business-capability is relevant to the business. This is in contrast to project teams that only last as long as it takes to deliver project scope.

8 June 2016



by Sriram Narayan

Any significant software development effort requires several different activities to occur: analysis, user experience design, development, testing, etc. Activity-oriented teams organize around these activities, so that you have dedicated teams for user-experience design, development, testing etc. Activity-orientation promises many benefits, but software development is usually better done with OutcomeOriented teams.

1 June 2016


Evolutionary Database Design

by Pramod Sadalage and Martin Fowler

Over the last decade we've developed and refined a number of techniques that allow a database design to evolve as an application develops. This is a very important capability for agile methodologies. The techniques rely on applying continuous integration and automated refactoring to database development, together with a close collaboration between DBAs and application developers. The techniques work in both pre-production and released systems, in green field projects as well as legacy systems.

May 2016



Infrastructure as code is the approach to defining computing and network infrastructure through source code that can then be treated just like any software system. Such code can be kept in source control to allow auditability and ReproducibleBuilds, subject to testing practices, and the full discipline of ContinuousDelivery. It's an approach that's been used over the last decade to deal with growing CloudComputing platforms and will become the dominant way to handle computing infrastructure in the next.

1 March 2016


Feature Toggles

by Pete Hodgson

Feature toggles are a powerful technique, allowing teams to modify system behavior without changing code. They fall into various usage categories, and it's important to take that categorization into account when implementing and managing toggles. Toggles introduce complexity. We can keep that complexity in check by using smart toggle implementation practices and appropriate tools to manage our toggle configuration, but we should also aim to constrain the number of toggles in our system.

8 February 2016