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All Content

From 2001-2005 I edited a column on design for IEEE Software. As well as writing several columns myself, I was able to rope in a very distinguished group of contributors.

Enterprise Architects Join the Team

by Rebecca Parsons

Enterprise Architecture groups often get separated from day to day development. This can lead to their knowledge of development work getting out of date and development teams not taking a broad company-wide perspective. Having seen this happen frequently my colleague (ThoughtWorks CTO) Rebecca argues that enterprise architects can be much more effective by joining development teams.

Sep 2005

Your Coffee Shop Does Not Use Two-Phase Commit

by Gregor Hohpe

Baristas don't do synchronous processing - their reasons may be reasons for you to go asynchronous too.

Mar 2005

Fail Fast

by Jim Shore

If software's going to go south, Jim explains in this column why it should collapse as fast as possible.

Sep 2004

MDA: Revenge of the Modelers or UML Utopia?

by Dave Thomas

At OOPSLA 2003 Dave Thomas (the founder of OTI) gave a thoughtful and powerful critique of Model Driven Architecture. In this column he explains why he thinks a universal model-driven approach is likely to fail, and points out that the UML and Domain Specific Languages still have value.

May 2004

Data Access Routines

by Martin Fowler

A common part of encapsulation, particularly with object-oriented systems, is hiding data structures. Yet it's also common to expose much of this data behind data access routines. In this column I cover some guidelines for writing data access routines. However don't forget that if you can leave the data hidden, that's usually better.

Nov 2003

The Difference between Marketecture and Tarchitecture

by Luke Hohmann

When we think about software architecture, we usually think about its technical architecture. But there's also another important architecture - the one we use to communicate with the customers of the software: the marketing architecture. Neglecting this "marketecture", and its relationship with the "tarchitecture", can get development projects into a lot of trouble.

Jul 2003


by Martin Fowler

My IEEE column on the valuable contributions that patterns can make to understanding software design.

Mar 2003

Using Metadata

by Martin Fowler

You can use metadata based approaches to remove the pain from tedious data oriented tasks.

Nov 2002

Yet Another Optimization Article

by Martin Fowler

It always surprises me that many well-established principles about performance optimization aren't very well known. This article is yet another attempt to cover these.

May 2002

Avoiding Repetition

by Martin Fowler

It's sometimes quite remarkable how the simple rule of avoiding repetition in software can lead into good design

Jan 2001

Protected Variation: The Importance of Being Closed

by Craig Larman

Craig's spot in the column looks at the importance of the Open-Closed principle and Protected Variation, and why Parnas's information hiding is more than encapsulation. He also gives some tips on ways to implement a protected variation.

May 2001

To Be Explicit

by Martin Fowler

Often designs techniques are used to make a system more flexible, but end up being harder to work with. One of the reasons is that explicitness is a property that often gets forgotten in design.

Nov 2001

Module Assembly

by Martin Fowler

Modular programming is not just about programming to interfaces, it's also about assembling modules together without the various modules knowing which concrete modules they are talking to.

Mar 2004

Design to Accommodate Change

by Dave Thomas

Table driven techniques to allow systems to change without major code changes.

May 2005

Before Clarity

by Michael Feathers

Clear code is good, but should you sacrifice clarity for testability?

Nov 2004

The Most Important Design Guideline?

by Scott Meyers

Everyone has their own list of important design guidelines. Scott concentrates on interfaces and how to design them so they are easy to use correctly and hard to use incorrectly.

Jul 2004

Continuous Design

by Jim Shore

The rising popularity of refactoring, tools such as JUnit, and agile methodologies such as Extreme Programming (XP) has brought a new style of design into view. Continuous design is the process of using refactoring to continuously improve a program's design. In this column Jim discusses his experiences with continuous design, in particular with design issues that seem tricky such as internationalization and transactions.

Jan 2004

Who Needs an Architect?

by Martin Fowler

What is architecture, and who exactly is an architect? These are questions that seem to get everyone very heated. So in this IEEE Software column, I let Ralph Johnson explain about architecture: with a definition that matches all others in a way that nobody agrees with. I also talk about two sub-species of architect: Architectus Reloadus and Architectus Oryzus.

Jul 2003

Components and the World of Chaos

by Rebecca Parsons

Why chaos theory suggests that component assembly may not be as easy as it's cracked up to be.

May 2003

When to Make a Type

by Martin Fowler

Guidelines on when to make a new user defined type (or class) for values.

Jan 2003

How .NET's Custom Attributes Affect Design

by James Newkirk and Alexei Vorontsov

Jim and Alexei took a leading role in developing a new version of NUnit. From this they reflected on how design is affected by the new .NET language feature of attributes.

Sep 2002

Public versus Published Interfaces

by Martin Fowler

Many modern languages make a distinction between public and private features in a module. A distinction that doesn't get made so often is between public and published features: and that may be a more important distinction.

Mar 2002

Separating User Interface Code

by Martin Fowler

One of the first lessons I learned was to always keep user interface code separate from anything else. Not just is this still good advice, it's surprising how often it's forgotten.

Mar 2001

Reducing Coupling

by Martin Fowler

Thinking about how to visualize and reduce coupling.

Jul 2001

The Test Bus Imperative

by Robert Martin

Testability is such an important virtue that you should make architectural decisions to improve the testability of a system.

Jul 2005

Modeling with a Sense of Purpose

by John Daniels

The kinds of model you draw depends on the purpose that you want to put them to. John describes a useful distinction between conceptual, specification, and implementation models.

Jan 2002