Welcome to the Shitty Code Support Group

"Hi. My name's Ted, and I write shitty code." With this opening, a group of us earlier this year opened a panel (back in March, as I recall) at the No Fluff Just Stuff conference in Minneapolis. Neal Ford started the idea, whispering it to me as we sat down for the panel, and I immediately followed his opening statement in the same vein. Poor Charles Nutter, who was new to the tour, didn't get the whispered-down-the-line instruction, and tried valiantly to recover the panel's apparent collective discard of dignity--"Hi, I'm Charles, and I write Ruby code"--to no avail.

A Conversation on Architecture

It seems that starting up a conversation about architecture is the topic of the month. Another email, this time from anattendee at a recent Denver Java Users Group meeting I spoke at a few weeks ago: I just finished another interview to act as a consultant on a enterprise Java project at a large (Fortune 500) Denver company.  It went pretty well from a technical perspective, but I couldn't convince the interviewer of a few points.

A Book Every Developer Must Read

This is not a title I convey lightly, but Michael Nygard's Release It! deserves the honor. It's the first book I've ever seen that addresses the issues of building software that's Production-friendly and sysadmin-approachable. He describes a series of antipatterns describing a variety of software failures, and offers up a series of solutions (patterns, if you will) to building software systems designed to combat said failures. From the back cover: Every website project is really an enterprise integration project: the stakes are high and the projects complex.

Reports of Snowballs In Hell...

I'm certain I'm not the first one to blog this, but I wanted to help fan the information out to the world: this email crossed my virtual desk today, and it indicates a subtle shift that many probably didn't see coming: This morning we announced that later this year, with the final release of Visual Studio 2008, we will make available the source to much of the .NET Framework Libraries under the Microsoft Reference License.  This means that “anyone” who accepts the license will be able to browse and view source code.  The set of libraries initially includes  the Base Class Libraries (System namespace, IO, Text, Collections, CodeDom, Regular Expressions, etc), ASP.NET, WinForms, and WPF .  Microsoft will add to this list as time goes on.


I just got back from the No Fluff Just Stuff show in St Louis, where I gave my "Why the Next Five Years Will Be About Programming Languages" keynote, and a fellow speaker emailed me to point out the Code To Joy blog, which says some things that were... um... well, rather than try and select an adjective, I'll let you look for yourself: Ted Neward talked about how the next 5 years will be about languages.

Hard Questions About Architects

I get e-mail from blog readers, and this one--literally--stopped me in my tracks as I was reading. Rather than interpret, I'll just quote (with permission) the e-mail and respond afterwards Hi Ted, I had a job interview last Friday which I wanted to share with you. It was for a “Solutions Architect” role with a large Airline here in New Zealand. I had a preliminary interview with the head Architect which went extremely well, and I was called in a few days later for an interview with the other three guys on the Architecture team.

Taking a new approach

Well, those of you who've seen me at the various No Fluff Just Stuff shows probably already knew this was coming, but today I finally made the switch, bought a Mac, and started the (rather scary) experiment of converting my IT life over to a brand new operating system, something I haven't done in close to two decades. (Not since I bought my first 286 PC, in fact, back in high school.) I am now the new owner of a 17" MacBookPro (4GB, 1900x1200 matte, for those who want such details), and I'm slowly starting the transition.

I'm on LinkedIn now...

I know many of you, over the past couple of years, have sent me LinkedIn invitations that I've turned down (mostly because I've been nervous about what LinkedIn would do with the personal information), but a recent email discussion between myself and Van Meyer (of Meyer Strategic, Inc) has finally convinced me to jump in. The profile is public, in case anybody wanted to have a look. So... to all those who sent me LinkedIn invitations that I turned down, I'm now online, and will accept invitations offered me.

The First Strategy: Declare War on Your Enemies (The Polarity Strategy)

Software is endless battle and conflict, and you cannot develop effectively unless you can identify the enemies of your project. Obstacles are subtle and evasive, sometimes appearing to be strengths and not distractions. You need clarity. Learn to smoke out your obstacles, to spot them by the signs and patterns that reveal hostility and opposition to your success. Then, once you have them in your sights, have your team declare war.