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2017 Tech Predictions

It’s that time of the year again, when I make predictions for the upcoming year. As has become my tradition now for nigh-on a decade, I will first go back over last years’ predictions, to see how well I called it (and keep me honest), then wax prophetic on what I think the new year has to offer us.


Revisiting Rotor

tl;dr As part of preparing for a workshop next week in Poland, I’ve been diving back into the CLR source code—which takes me back to my old friend, Rotor.


The Fallacies of Enterprise Computing

More than a decade ago, I published Effective Enterprise Java, and in the opening chapter I talked about the Ten Fallacies of Enterprise Computing, essentially an extension/add-on to Peter Deutsch’s Fallacies of Distributed Computing. But in the ten-plus years since, I’ve had time to think about it, and now I’m convinced that Enterprise Fallacies are a different list. Now, with the rise of cloud computing stepping in to complement, supplment or replace entirely the on-premise enterprise data center, it seemed reasonable to get back to it.


Developer Supply Chain Management

At first, it was called “DLL Hell”. Then “JAR Hell”. “Assembly Hell”. Now, it’s fallen under the label of “NPM-Gate”, but it always comes back to the same basic thing: software developers need to think about their software build and runtime dependencies as a form of Supply Chain Management. Failure to do so—on both the part of the supplier and the consumer—leads to the breakdown of civilization and everything we hold dear.


When Interviews Fail

tl;dr Peter Verhas asks a seemingly innocent question during a technical interview, and gets an answer that is not wrong, but doesn’t really fit. He then claims that “Sometimes I also meet candidates who not only simply do not know the answer but give the wrong answer. To know something wrong is worse than not knowing. Out of these very few even insists and tries to explain how I should have interpreted their answer. That is already a personality problem and definitely a no-go in an interview.” I claim that Peter is not only wrong, but that in addition to doing his company a complete disservice with this kind of interview, I personally would never want to work for a company that takes this attitude.


Xamarin: Next Steps

tl;dr By now, everybody in the tech industry has heard that Microsoft and Xamarin have come to terms and Microsoft will acquire the cross-compiling mobile development tools vendor. This is a good thing for both parties, and aside from watching Miguel de Icaza pop the cork on some very expensive champagne and celebreate with his people, there’s a number of things to think about. Here’s my thoughts around the next steps for Microsoft (and the Xamarin division within Microsoft, however that looks), as well as for people using Xamarin.


How do you learn?

tl;dr I’ve been asked a number of times over the years how, exactly, I approach learning new stuff, whether that be a new programming language, a new platform, whatever. This is obviously a highly personal (meaning specific to the individual offering the answer) subject, so my approach may or may not work for you; regardless, I’d suggest to anyone that they give it a shot and if it works, coolness.



Technical Debt: A Definition

tl;dr A recent post on medium.com addresses the topic of technical debt; I had an intuitive disagreement with the thrust of the post, and wrote this as a way of clarifying my own thoughts on the matter. It raises some interesting questions about what technical debt actually is—and if we can’t define it, how can we possibly understand how to avoid it or remove it, as opposed to our current practice of using it as a “get-out-of-this-codebase-by-blowing-it-all-up” card?


DevOps-ing the blog

tl;dr With a static-site-generated blog, it was getting painful to do all the steps necessary to push a new post out the (virtual) door. So I did what any good DevOps-minded engineer would do—I put TeamCity on the job.


Speaking: 2016 (so far...)

The confirmations are starting to flow in, and I’m getting quite the nice lineup of shows to speak at for the new calendar year; the complete list is a bit long to list here (and it’ll change as the year progresses, to be sure), but so far I’ve got a nice mix of different kinds of shows: Voxxed Days: These are smaller, newer events in cities that are new to the Devoxx conference circuit.

Death to Technical Monoculture

It’s really starting to appear like the “technical monoculture” that so pervaded the 90’s and 00’s is finally starting to die the long-deserved ugly death it was supposed to. And I couldn’t be happier.


Farewell, IE

For those of you who missed the announcement, Microsoft has officially end-of-lifed Internet Explorer. Microsoft explained why the move was necessary, but let’s be honest, we all knew this was coming, and why: Because IE had long since fallen behind its competitors in terms of its implementation. First Chrome came out, then Firefox got better, and when even Safari (which is not the world’s most standards-friendly browser, let’s be hoenst) surpassed IE in terms of speed, it was pretty clear that Microsoft was going to have to take some serious action to bring their browser back up to speed.

2016 Tech Predictions

As has become my tradition now for nigh-on a decade, I will first go back over last years’ predictions, to see how well I called it (and keep me honest), then wax prophetic on what I think the new year has to offer us.


On Endings

A while back, I mentioned that I had co-founded a startup (LiveTheLook); I'm saddened to report that just after Halloween, my co-founder and I split up, and I'm no longer affiliated with the company except as an adviser and equity shareholder. There were a lot of reasons for the split, most notably that we had some different ideas on how to execute and how to spend the limited seed money we'd managed to acquire, but overall, we just weren't communicating well.

Seattle (and other) GiveCamps

Too often, geeks are called upon to leverage their technical expertise (which, to most non-technical peoples' perspective, is an all-encompassing uni-field, meaning if you are a DBA, you can fix a printer, and if you are an IT admin, you know how to create a cool HTML game) on behalf of their friends and family, often without much in the way of gratitude. But sometimes, you just gotta get your inner charitable self on, and what's a geek to do then?

Programming Interviews

Apparently I have become something of a resource on programming interviews: I've had three people tell me they read the last two blog posts, one because his company is hiring and he wants his people to be doing interviews right, and two more expressing shock that I still get interviewed--which I don't really think is all that fair, more on that in a moment--and relief that it's not just them getting grilled on areas that they don't believe to be relevant to the job--and more on that in a moment, too.

On "Exclusive content"

Although it seems to have dipped somewhat in recent years, periodically I get requests from conferences or webinars or other presentation-oriented organizations/events that demand that the material I present be "exclusive", usually meaning that I've never delivered said content at any other organized event (conference or what-have-you). And, almost without exception, I refuse to speak at those events, or else refuse to abide by the "exclusive" tag (and let them decide whether they still want me to speak for them).

On OSS and Adoption

Are you one of those developers who can’t get his/her boss to let you download/prototype/use a Really Cool™ software package that happens to be open-source? Here’s a possible reason why. For no reason in particular, after installing Cygwin on an old laptop onto which I just dropped Win7, I decided to also drop MinGW32, Cygwin’s main competitor in the “UNIX-on-Windows” space. Wander off to the home page, grab an installer, read the “Getting Started” instructions, and….

Say that part about HTML standards, again?

In incarnations past, I have had debates, public and otherwise, with friends and colleagues who have asserted that HTML5 (by which we really mean HTML5/JavaScript/CSS3) will essentially become the platform of choice for all applications going forward—that essentially, this time, standards will win out, and companies that try to subvert the open nature of the web by creating their own implementations with their own extensions and proprietary features that aren’t part of the standards, lose.

Programming language "laws"

As is pretty typical for that site, Lambda the Ultimate has a great discussion on some insights that the creators of Mozart and Oz have come to, regarding the design of programming languages; I repeat the post here for convenience: Now that we are close to releasing Mozart 2 (a complete redesign of the Mozart system), I have been thinking about how best to summarize the lessons we learned about programming paradigms in CTM.

Java was not the first

Charlie Kindel blogs that he thinks James Gosling (and the rest of Sun) screwed us all with Java and it's "Write Once, Run Anywhere" mantra. It's catchy, but it's wrong. Like a lot of Charlie's blogs, he nails parts of this one squarely on the head: WORA was, is, and always will be, a fallacy. ... It is the “Write once…“ part that’s the most dangerous. We all wish the world was rainbows and unicorns, and “Write once…” implies that there is a world where you can actually write an app once and it will run on all devices.

Um... Security risk much?

While cruising through the Internet a few minute ago, I wandered across Meteor, which looks like a really cool tool/system/platform/whatever for building modern web applications. JavaScript on the front, JavaScript on the back, Mongo backing, it's definitely something worth looking into, IMHO. Thus emboldened, I decide to look at how to start playing with it, and lo and behold I discover that the instructions for installation are: curl https://install.meteor.com | sh Um....

Last Thoughts on "Craftsmanship"

TL;DR Live craftsmanship, don't preach it. The creation of a label serves no purpose other than to disambiguate and distinguish. If we want to hold people accountable to some sort of "professionalism", then we have to define what that means. I found Uncle Bob's treatment of my blog heavy-handed and arrogant. I don't particularly want to debate this anymore; this is my last take on the subject. I will freely admit, I didn't want to do this.

More on "Craftsmanship"

TL;DR: To all those who dissented, you're right, but you're wrong. Craftsmanship is a noble meme, when it's something that somebody holds as a personal goal, but it's often coming across as a way to beat up and denigrate on others who don't choose to invest significant time and energy into programming. The Zen Masters didn't walk around the countryside, proclaiming "I am a Zen Master!" Wow. Apparently I touched a nerve.

On the Dark Side of "Craftsmanship"

I don't know Heather Arthur from Eve. Never met her, never read an article by her, seen a video she's in or shot, or seen her code. Matter of fact, I don't even know that she is a "she"--I'm just guessing from the name. But apparently she got quite an ugly reaction from a few folks when she open-sourced some code: So I went to see what people were saying about this project.

Thoughts on a CodeMash Gone By

A year ago today (roughly), I gave the opening keynote at CodeMash 2.0.1.2. For those of you who were there, I don't think I need to tell you what happened. For those of you who weren't there, you probably still heard about, thanks to the Twitterstream of comments and counter-comments that followed. I've more or less tried to keep quiet about it since that time, trying to just let the furor die down (and it did, pretty quickly, I thought) out of respect to the conference organizers.

Review (in advance): F# Deep Dives

F# Deep Dives, by Tomas Petricek and Phillip Trelford, Manning Publications As many readers of my writing will already know, I've been kind of "involved" with F# (and its cousin on the JVM, Scala) for a few years now, to the degree that I and a couple of really smart guys wrote a book on the subject. Now, assuming you're one of the .NET developers who've heard of F# and functional programming, and took a gander at the syntax, and maybe even bought a book on it (my publisher and I both thank you if you bought ours), but weren't quite sure what to do with it, a book has come along to help get you past that.

Review: Metaprogramming in .NET

Metaprogramming in .NET, by Kevin Hazzard and Jason Bock, Manning Publications TL;DR: This is a great book (not perfect), but not an easy read for everyone, not because the writing is bad, but because the subject is a whole new level of abstraction above what most developers deal with. Full disclosure: Manning Publications is a publisher I've published with before, and Kevin and Jason are both friends of mine in the .NET community.

Tech Predictions, 2013

Once again, it's time for my annual prognostication and review of last year's efforts. For those of you who've been long-time readers, you know what this means, but for those two or three of you who haven't seen this before, let's set the rules: if I got a prediction right from last year, you take a drink, and if I didn't, you take a drink. (Best. Drinking game. EVAR!) Let's begin....

Thoughts on my new Surface

As a post-Christmas gift to myself, I took a bit of the money that my folks gave us and bought myself a 64GB Surface. Couple of thoughts came to mind as I've sat down to play with this thing: Microsoft doesn't sell a 64GB model with a Type keyboard? I know the touch-thing is, like, the new hotness with everyone, but frankly, having played with a friend's Surface and his (preferred) Touch keyboard cover, I think both he and Microsoft are smoking some serious crack if they think anyone can seriously touch-type on the touch keyboard.

Envoy (in Scala, JavaScript, and more)

A little over a decade ago, Eugene Wallingford wrote a paper for the PloP '99 conference, describing the Envoy pattern language, "a pattern language for managing state in a functional program". It's a good read, but the implementation language for the paper is Scheme--given that it's a Lisp dialect, often isn't particularly obvious or easy to understand at first, I thought it might be interesting (both for me and any readers that wanted to follow along) to translate the implementation examples into a variety of different languages.

Cloud legal

There's an interesting legal interpretation coming out of the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) around the Megaupload case, and the EFF has said this: "The government maintains that Mr. Goodwin lost his property rights in his data by storing it on a cloud computing service. Specifically, the government argues that both the contract between Megaupload and Mr. Goodwin (a standard cloud computing contract) and the contract between Megaupload and the server host, Carpathia (also a standard agreement), "likely limit any property interest he may have" in his data.

On NFJS

As the calendar year comes to a close, it's time (it's well past time, in fact) that I comment publicly on my obvious absence from the No Fluff, Just Stuff tour. In January, when I emailed Jay Zimmerman, the organizer of the conference, to talk about topics for the coming year, I got no response. This is pretty typical Jay--he is notoriously difficult to reach over email, unless he has something he wants from you.

Microsoft is to Monopolist as Apple is to...

Remember the SAT test and their ridiculous analogy questions? “Apple : Banana as Steak : ???”, where you have to figure out the relationship between the first pair in order to guess what the relationship in the second pair should be? (Of course, the SAT guys give you a multiple-choice answer, whereas I’m leaving it open to your interpretation.) What triggers today’s blog post is this article that showed up in GeekWire, about how Firefox is accusing Microsoft of anti-competitive behaviors by claiming IE will have an unfair advantage on their new ARM-based machines.

Just Say No to SSNs

Two things conspire to bring you this blog post. Of Contracts and Contracts First, a few months ago, I was asked to participate in an architectural review for a project being done for one of the states here in the US. It was a project dealing with some sensitive information (Child Welfare Services), and I was required to sign a document basically promising not to do anything bad with the data.

Want Security? Get Quality

This CNET report tells us what we’ve probably known for a few years now: in the hacker/securist cyberwar, the hackers are winning. Or at the very least, making it pretty apparent that the cybersecurity companies aren’t making much headway. Notable quotes from the article: Art Coviello, executive chairman of RSA, at least had the presence of mind to be humble, acknowledging in his keynote that current "security models" are inadequate. Yet he couldn't help but lapse into rah-rah boosterism by the end of his speech.

Is Programming Less Exciting Today?

As discriminatory as this is going to sound, this one is for the old-timers. If you started programming after the turn of the milennium, I don’t know if you’re going to be able to follow the trend of this post—not out of any serious deficiency on your part, hardly that. But I think this is something only the old-timers are going to identify with. (And thus, do I alienate probably 80% of my readership, but so be it.) Is it me, or is programming just less interesting today than it was two decades ago?

Tech Predictions, 2012 Edition

Well, friends, another year has come and gone, and it's time for me to put my crystal ball into place and see what the upcoming year has for us. But, of course, in the long-standing tradition of these predictions, I also need to put my spectacles on (I did turn 40 last year, after all) and have a look at how well I did in this same activity twelve months ago.

“Vietnam” in Belorussian

Recently I got an email from Bohdan Zograf, who offered: Hi! I'm willing to translate publication located at http://blogs.tedneward.com/2006/06/26/The+Vietnam+Of+Computer+Science.aspx to the Belorussian language (my mother tongue). What I'm asking for is your written permission, so you don't mind after I'll post the translation to my blog. I agreed, and next thing I know, I get the next email that it’s done. If your mother tongue is Belorussian, then I invite you to read the article in its translated form at http://www.moneyaisle.com/worldwide/the-vietnam-of-computer-science-be.

Managing Talks: An F#/Office Love Story (Part 1)

Those of you who’ve seen me present at conferences probably won’t be surprised by this, but I do a lot of conference talks. In fact, I’m doing an average of 10 or so talks at the NFJS shows alone. When you combine that with all the talks I’ve done over the past decade, it’s reached a point where maintaining them all has begun to approach the unmanageable. For example, when the publication of Professional F# 2.0 went final, I found myself going through slide decks trying to update all the “Credentials” slides to reflect the new publication date (and title, since it changed to Professional F# 2.0 fairly late in the game), and frankly, it’s becoming something of a pain in the ass.

Multiparadigmatic C#

Back in June of last year, at TechEd 2010, the guys at DeepFriedBytes were kind enough to offer me a podcasting stage from which to explain exactly what “multiparadigmatic” meant, why I’d felt the need to turn it into a full-day tutorial at TechEd, and more importantly, why .NET developers needed to know not only what it meant but how it influences software design. They published that show, and it’s now out there for all the world to have a listen.

Tech Predictions, 2011 Edition

Long-time readers of this blog know what’s coming next: it’s time for Ted to prognosticate on what the coming year of tech will bring us. But I believe strongly in accountability, even in my offered-up-for-free predictions, so one of the traditions of this space is to go back and revisit my predictions from this time last year. So, without further ado, let’s look back at Ted’s 2010 predictions, and see how things played out; 2010 predictions are prefixed with “THEN”, and my thoughts on my predictions are prefixed with “NOW”: For 2010, I predicted....

Windows Service in F#

Recently I received an email forwarded to me from a fan of the F# language, asking about the steps required to build a Windows service (the Windows equivalent to a background daemon from Unix) in F#. It’s not hard, but getting the F# bits in the right place can be tricky—the key being, the Installer (that will be invoked when installutil.exe is asked to install your service) has to have the right custom attribute in place, and the service has to have all the bits lined up perfectly.

Thoughts on an Apple/Java divorce

A small degree of panic set in amongst the Java development community over the weekend, as Apple announced that they were “de-emphasizing” Java on the Mac OS. Being the Big Java Geek that I am, I thought I’d weigh in on this. Let the pundits speak But first, let’s see what the actual news reports said: As of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, the Java runtime ported by Apple and that ships with Mac OS X is deprecated.

VMWare help

Hey, anybody who’s got significant VMWare mojo, help out a bro? I’ve got a Win7 VM (one of many) that appears to be exhibiting weird disk behavior—the vmdk, a growable single-file VMDK, is almost precisely twice the used space. It’s a 120GB growable disk, and the Win7 guest reports about 35GB used, but the VMDK takes about 70GB on host disk. CHKDSK inside Windows says everything’s good, and the VMWare “Disk Cleanup” doesn’t change anything, either.

Ever thought of being a writer?

CoDe Magazine (for whom I do a back-cover editorial every other month) has been running a different kind of column recently, one which has not only been generating some good buzz, but also offers a unique opportunity for those who are interested in maybe dipping their toes into the technical writing game. This message was posted by Markus Eggers, the publisher of CoDe, on several different mailing lists, and he asked me to spread the word out: As you may know, each issue of CODE Magazine has a PostMortem column, where the author discusses a .NET related project and points out 5 things that went well, and 5 things that didn’t (we call them “challenges” ;-) ).

A well-done "movie trailer"

The JavaZone conference has just become one of my favorite conferences, EVAH. Check out this trailer they put together, entitled "Java 4-Ever". Yes, Microsofties, you should watch, too. Just leave off the evangelism for a moment and enjoy the humor of it. You've had your own fun over the years, too, or need I remind you of the Matrix video with Gates and Ballmer and the blue pill/red pill? ;-) This video brings several things to mind: Wow, that's well done.

Emotional commitment colors everything

As a part of my program to learn how to use the Mac OS more effectively (mostly to counteract my lack of Mac-command-line kung fu, but partly to get Neal Ford off my back ;-) ), I set the home page in Firefox to point to the OSX Daily website. This morning, this particular page popped up as the "tip of the day", and a particular thing about it struck my fancy.

Comments on the SDTimes article

Miguel de Icaza wrote up a good response to the SDTimes article in which both of us were quoted, and I thought it might serve to flesh out the discussion a bit more to chime in with my part in the piece. First and foremost, Miguel notes: David quotes Ted Neward (a speaker on the .NET and Java circuits, but not an open source guy by any stretch of the imagination).

Swinging through Florida

Apparently April will be a pretty Florida-heavy month for me; on top of the No Fluff Just Stuff conference in Tampa on April 16th/17th/18th, I'm going to hit three Floridian user groups shortly therafter: West Palm user group on Tuesday 4/27/2010 Tampa Architecture Group on Wednesday 4/28/2010 Pensacola SQL Server User Group on Thursday 4/29/2010 ... before I head up to Reston, VA for the NFJS show there. Should be a fun time, seeing how the other corner of the US lives.....

Another Gartner prediction...

Let's see if this one holds: Gartner says that by 2012, Android will have a larger percentage of the worldwide mobile phone market than the iPhone, 14.5 % against 13.7%. Reasons to doubt this particular bit of prescience? Gartner also predicts that "Windows Mobile" will have "12.8 percent" of the market. This despite the fact that at MIX last week, Microsoft basically canned Windows Mobile in favor of a complete reboot called "Windows Phone Series 7" based on ideas from Silverlight and XNA.

Amanda takes umbrage....

... with my earlier speaking about F# post, which I will admit, surprises me, since I would've thought somebody interested in promoting F# would've been more supportive of the idea of putting some ideas out to help other speakers get F# more easily adopted by the community. Perhaps I misunderstood her objections, but I thought a response was required in any event. Amanda opens with: Let's start with the "Do" category.

How to (and not to) give a talk on F#

Michael Easter called me out over Twitter tonight, entirely fairly. This blog post is to attempt to make right. Context: Tonight was a .NET Developer Association meeting in Redmond, during which we had two presentations: one on Entity Framework, and one on F#. The talk on F#, while well-meaning and delivered by somebody I've not yet met personally, suffered from several failures that I believe to be endemic to Microsoft's approach to presenting F#.

10 Things To Improve Your Development Career

Cruising the Web late last night, I ran across "10 things you can do to advance your career as a developer", summarized below: Build a PC Participate in an online forum and help others Man the help desk Perform field service Perform DBA functions Perform all phases of the project lifecycle Recognize and learn the latest technologies Be an independent contractor Lead a project, supervise, or manage Seek additional education I agreed with some of them, I disagreed with others, and in general felt like they were a little too high-level to be of real use.

2010 TechEd PreCon: Multiparadigmatic C#

I'm excited to say that TechEd has accepted my pre-conference proposal, Multiparadigmatic C#, where the abstract reads: C# has grown from “just” an object-oriented language into a language that is capable of expressing several different paradigms of software development: object-oriented, functional, and dynamic. In this session, developers will learn how to approach programming in C# to use each of these approaches, and when. If you're interested in seeing C# used in a variety of different ways, come on out.

Interested in F#?

But too impatient to read a whole book on it? Try the 6-panel RefCard that Chance Coble and I put together for DZone. Free download. Or, for the more patient type, wait for the books that Chance and I (Professional F#) are each writing; they're remarkably complementary, at least from what Chance has told me about his. Which reminds me.... if you've not already noticed, Pro F# is now up in Amazon.

2010 Predictions, 2009 Predictions Revisited

Here we go again—another year, another set of predictions revisited and offered up for the next 12 months. And maybe, if I'm feeling really ambitious, I'll take that shot I thought about last year and try predicting for the decade. Without further ado, I'll go back and revisit, unedited, my predictions for 2009 ("THEN"), and pontificate on those subjects for 2010 before adding any new material/topics. Just for convenience, here's a link back to last years' predictions.

A New Kind of Service

Why study new and different programming languages? To change your programming mindset. Not sure what I mean by that? Check this out. Ever done one of these? 1: public interface IService 2: { 3: DateTime GetDate(); 4: int CalculateSomethingInteresting(int lhs, int rhs); 5: } 6:  7: public class OneServiceImpl : IService 8: { 9: public DateTime GetDate() 10: { return DateTime.Now; } 11: public int CalculateSomethingInteresting(int lhs, int rhs) 12: { return lhs + rhs; } 13: } 14:  15: public class AnotherServiceImpl : IService 16: { 17: public DateTime GetDate() 18: { return new DateTime(); } 19: public int CalculateSomethingInteresting(int lhs, int rhs) 20: { return lhs * rhs; } 21: } 22:  23: public class ServiceFactory 24: { 25: public static IService GetInstance(string which) 26: { 27: if (which == "One") return new OneServiceImpl(); 28: else if (which == "Another") return new AnotherServiceImpl(); 29: else throw new ArgumentException(); 30: } 31: } 32:  33: public class App 34: { 35: public static void Main(string[] args) 36: { 37: foreach (string s in args) 38: { 39: IService serv = ServiceFactory.GetInstance(s); 40: Console.WriteLine("serv calc = {0}", serv.CalculateSomethingInteresting(3, 3)); 41: } 42: } 43: } So has my client this week.

Book Review: Debug It! (Paul Butcher, Pragmatic Bookshelf)

Paul asked me to review this, his first book, and my comment to him was that he had a pretty high bar to match; being of the same "series" as Release It!, Mike Nygard's take on building software ready for production (and, in my repeatedly stated opinion, the most important-to-read book of the decade), Debug It! had some pretty impressive shoes to fill. Paul's comment was pretty predictable: "Thanks for keeping the pressure to a minimum." My copy arrived in the mail while I was at the NFJS show in Denver this past weekend, and with a certain amount of dread and excitement, I opened the envelope and sat down to read for a few minutes.

Haacked, but not content; agile still treats the disease

Phil Haack wrote a thoughtful, insightful and absolutely correct response to my earlier blog post. But he's still missing the point. The short version: Phil's right when he says, "Agile is less about managing the complexity of an application itself and more about managing the complexity of building an application." Agile is by far the best approach to take when building complex software. But that's not where I'm going with this.

"Agile is treating the symptoms, not the disease"

The above quote was tossed off by Billy Hollis at the patterns&practices Summit this week in Redmond. I passed the quote out to the Twitter masses, along with my +1, and predictably, the comments started coming in shortly thereafter. Rather than limit the thoughts to the 120 or so characters that Twitter limits us to, I thought this subject deserved some greater expansion. But before I do, let me try (badly) to paraphrase the lightning talk that Billy gave here, which sets context for the discussion: Keeping track of all the stuff Microsoft is releasing is hard work: LINQ, EF, Silverlight, ASP.NET MVC, Enterprise Library, Azure, Prism, Sparkle, MEF, WCF, WF, WPF, InfoCard, CardSpace, the list goes on and on, and frankly, nobody (and I mean nobody) can track it all.

Jon Skeet, you will always be an MVP

Jon Skeet, noted C# MVP, has been asked by his employer to reject his MVP award this year. I have two reactions: I think it's an awkward situation when an employer hires somebody who is as deeply involved in a technology space as Jon is, then asks them to take actions that will deliberately distance them from that technology space. It strikes me as a waste of Jon's investment into the space, and a poor choice of actions.

More on journalistic integrity: Sys-Con, Ulitzer, theft and libel

Recently, an email crossed my Inbox from a friend who was concerned about some questionable practices involving my content (as well as a few others'); apparently, I have been listed as an "author" for SysCon, I have a "domain" with them, and that I've been writing for them since 10 January, 2003, including two articles, "Effective Enterprise Java" and "Java/.NET Interoperability". Given that both of those "articles" are summaries from presentations I've done at conferences past, I'm a touch skeptical.

Thoughts on the Chrome OS announcement

Google made the announcement on Tuesday: Chrome OS, a "open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks." Huh? I'm sorry, but from a number of perspectives, this move makes no sense to me. Don't get me wrong—on a number of levels, the operating system needs a little shaking up. Windows7 looks good, granted, Mac OS is a strong contender, and both are clearly popular with the consuming public, but innovation in the operating system seems pretty limited right now, to eye candy graphical window-opening/window-closing effects, different window decorations (title bars and minimize/maximize buttons), and areas along the edges of the screen to store icons.

Review: "Iron Python in Action" by Michael Foord and Christian Muirhead

OK, OK, I admit it. Maybe significant whitespace isn't all bad. (But don't let me ever catch you quoting me say that.) The reason for my (maybe) shift in thinking? Manning Publications sent me a copy of Iron Python in Action, and I have to say, I like the book and its approach. Getting me to like Python as a primary language for development will probably take more than just one book can give, but...


The "controversy" continues

Apparently the Rails community isn't the only one pursuing that ephemeral goal of "edginess"—another blatantly sexist presentation came off without a hitch, this time at a Flash conference, and if anything, it was worse than the Rails/CouchDB presentation. I excerpt a few choice tidbits from an eyewitness here, but be warned—if you're not comfortable with language, skip the next block paragraph. Yesterday's afternoon keynote is this guy named Hoss Gifford — I believe his major claim to fame is that viral "spank the monkey" thing that went around a few years back.  Highlights of his talk: He opens his keynote with one of those "Ignite"-esque presentations — where you have 5-minutes and 20 slides to tell a story — and the first and last are a close-up of a woman's lower half, her legs spread (wearing stilettos, of course) and her shaved vagina visible through some see-thru panties that say "drink me," with Hoss's Photoshopped, upward-looking face placed below it.

A eulogy: DevelopMentor, RIP

Update: See below, but I wanted to include the text Mike Abercrombie (DM’s owner) posted as a comment to this post, in the body of the blog post itself. "Ted - All of us at DevelopMentor greatly appreciate your admiration. We’re also grateful for your contributions to DevelopMentor when you were part of our staff. However, all of us that work here, especially our technical staff that write and delivery our courses today, would appreciate it if you would check your sources before writing our eulogy.

SSCLI 2.0 Internals

Joel's weblog appears to be down, so in response to some emails I've posted my draft copy of SSCLI 2.0 Internals here. I think it's the same PDF that Joel had on his weblog, but I haven't made absolutely certain of the fact. :-/ If you've not checked out the first version of SSCLI Internals, it's cool—the second edition is basically everything that the first edition is, plus a new chapter on Generics (and how they changed the internals of the CLR to reflect generics all the way through the system), so you're good.

He was Aaron Erickson... Now he's Aaron Erickson, ThoughtWorker

Yep, you heard that right—Aaron Erickson, author of The Nomadic Developer, is now a ThoughtWorker. For those of who you don't know Aaron, he's been a consultant at another consulting company for a while, and has been exploring a number of different topics in the .NET space for a few years now, not least of which is one of my favorites (F#) and one of THoughtWorks' favorites (agile). He's been speaking at a number of events, including the Connections conferences, and he's going to bring some serious market-development potential to our Chicago office, something that's obviously of concern right now in these current economic conditions.

Of Tomcat 6, native services, Windows 2008R2, and pain...

So I'm putting together a Windows 2008 R2 x64 RC Java image for a client (more on that later), and everything's breezing along fine. Install the OS, check. Install JDK 1.6 (u13) into the machine, check. Install Tomcat 6 into the machine, running as a native Windows service, check. Open localhost on port 8080, and... not check. Times out, no response, not good. Naturally, the first thing to check is the logs, and I get the strangest error I've seen in a while.

TechEd 2009 Thoughts

These are the things I think as I wing my way out of LA fresh from this year's TechEd 2009 conference: I think I owe the attendees at DTL309 ("Busy .NET Developer's Guide to F#") an explanation. It's always embarrassing when your brain freezes during a presentation, and that's precisely what happened during the F# talk—I completely spaced on the syntax for implementing an interface on a class in F#. (To the attendees who commented "consider preparing a bit better so you dont forget the sintax :)" and "Not remembering the language syntax sorta comes across bad doesn't it?", you're absolutely right, which prompts this next sentence.) I apologize profusely to those who were there—I just blew it.

Windows 7 RC install experience

Since a number of people have been connecting to my blog via my last post on installing Windows 7 into a VMWare image, I thought since the Windows7 RC is now available, I'd update my experiences with installing it. I downloaded the Windows7 RC ISO image (a freakishly hideous name containing every character on my US keyboard, plus a few in Klingon, I think.... if you can stand it, the full name of the ISO is 7100.0.090421-1700_x86fre_client_en-us_Retail_Ultimate-GRC1CULFRER_EN_DVD) from the Microsoft CONNECT website, not bothering with any of the other images (x64, ia64, and a "server" image I've not explored yet), using Microsoft's File Transfer Manager.

"From each, according to its abilities...."

Recently, NFJS alum and buddy Dion Almaer questioned the widespread, almost default, usage of a relational database for all things storage related: Ian Hickson: “I expect I’ll be reverse-engineering SQLite and speccing that, if nothing better is picked first. As it is, people are starting to use the database feature in actual Web apps (e.g. mobile GMail, iirc).” When I read that comment to Vlad’s post on HTML 5 Web Storage I gulped.

From the Mailbag: Polyglot Programmer vs. Polyactivist Language

This crossed my Inbox: I read your article entitled: The Polyglot Programmer. How about the thought that rather than becoming a polyglot-software engineer; pick a polyglot-language. For example, C# is borrowing techniques from functional and dynamic languages. Let the compiler designer worry about mixing features and software engineers worry about keep up with the mixture. Is this a good approach? [From Phil, at http://greensoftwareengineer.spaces.live.com/] Phil, it’s an interesting thought you’ve raised—which is the better/easier approach to take, that of incorporating the language features we want into a single language, rather than needing to learn all those different languages (and their own unique syntaxes) in order to take advantage of those features we want?

SDWest, SDBestPractices, SDArch&Design: RIP, 1975 - 2009

This email crossed my Inbox last week while I was on the road: Due to the current economic situation, TechWeb has made the difficult decision to discontinue the Software Development events, including SD West, SD Best Practices and Architecture & Design World. We are grateful for your support during SD's twenty-four year history and are disappointed to see the events end. This really bums me out, because the SD shows were some of the best shows I’ve been to, particularly SD West, which always had a great cross-cutting collection of experts from all across the industry’s big technical areas: C++, Java, .NET, security, agile, and more.

As for Peer Review, Code Review?

Interesting little tidbit crossed my Inbox today... Only 8% members of the Scientific Research Society agreed that "peer review works well as it is". (Chubin and Hackett, 1990; p.192). "A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision and an analysis of the peer review system substantiate complaints about this fundamental aspect of scientific research." (Horrobin, 2001) Horrobin concludes that peer review "is a non-validated charade whose processes generate results little better than does chance."

Woo-hoo! Speaking at DSL DevCon 2009!

Just got this email from Chris Sells: For twelve 45-minute slots at this year’s DSL DevCon (April 16-17 in Redmond, WA), we had 49 proposals. You have been selected as speakers for the following talks. Please confirm that you’ll be there for both days so that I can put together the schedule and post it on the conference site. This DevCon should rock. Thanks! Martin Fowler - Keynote Paul Vick + Gio - Mgrammar Deep Dive Tom Rodgers - Domain Specific Languages for automated testing of equity order management systems and trading machines Paul Cowan - DSLs in the Horn Package Manager Guillaume Laforge - How to implement DSLs with Groovy Markus Voelter - Eclipse tooling for Model-Driven stuff Dionysios G.


Nice little montage from JDD08

Last year I had the opportunity to return to the land of my roots, Poland, and speak at Java Developer Days (JDD). Just today, the organizers from JDD sent me a link with a nice little photo montage from the conference. (I did notice a few photos from the after-party were selectively left out of the montage, however, which is probably a good thing because that was the first time I'd ever met a Polish Mad Dog, and boy did they all go down easy...) If you're anywhere in the area around Krakow in March, you definitely should swing by for their follow-up conference, 4Developers--it sounds like it's going to be another fun event, and this time it's going to reach out to more than just the Java folks, but also the .NET crowd (and a few others), as well.

Building WCF services with F#, Interlude

Because I’m about to start my third part in the WCF/F# series, I realized that I’ve now hit the “rule of three” mark: in this particular case, this will mark the third project I’m creating that unifies WCF and F#, and frankly, it’s a pain in the *ss to do it all by hand each time: create an F# Library, add the System.ServiceModel and System.Runtime.Serialization assemblies, go create an App.config file and add it to the project as an Existing Item….

Building WCF services with F#, Part 2

If you’ve not read the first part in the series, take a look there first. While it’s always easier to build WCF services with nothing but primitive types understood by all the platforms to which you’re communicating (be it Java through XML services or other .NET systems via WCF’s more efficient binding types), this gets old and limiting very quickly. The WCF service author will want to develop whole composite types that can be exchanged across the wire, and this is most often done via the DataContract attribute applied to the types that will be exchanged.

Seattle/Redmond/Bellevue Nerd Dinner

From Scott Hanselman's blog: Are you in King County/Seattle/Redmond/Bellevue Washington and surrounding areas? Are you a huge nerd? Perhaps a geek? No? Maybe a dork, dweeb or wonk. Maybe you're in town for an SDR (Software Design Review) visiting BillG. Quite possibly you're just a normal person. Regardless, why not join us for some Mall Food at the Crossroads Bellevue Mall Food Court on Monday, January 19th around 6:30pm? ... NOTE: RSVP by leaving a comment here and show up on January 19th at 6:30pm!

Building WCF services with F#, Part 1

For a while now, I’ve held the opinion that the “sweet spot” for functional languages on the JVM and CLR will be in the services space, since services and functions seem pretty similar to one another in spirit—a given input produces a given output, with (ideally) no shared state, high concurrency expectations, idempotent processing, and so on. This isn’t to say that a functional language is going to make a non-trivial service trivial, but I think it will make it simpler and more likely to scale better over time, particularly as the service gets more complicated.

DSLs: Ready for Prime-Time?

Chris Sells, an acquaintance (and perhaps friend, when he's not picking on me for my Java leanings) of mine from my DevelopMentor days, has a habit of putting on a "DevCon" whenever a technology seems to have reached a certain maturity level. He did it with XML a few years ago, and ATL before that, both of which were pretty amazing events, filled with the sharpest guys in the subject, gathered into a single room to share ideas and shoot each others' pet theories full of holes.

Windows7 VM, pre-built

I'm getting *hammered* by the Google "Windows7 VMware" hits, which I can only assume is from people looking for hints and advice on installing Windows7 into a VMWare image, and I feel compelled to point out that there's already a pre-built VMWare VM available from the "Virtual Appliance" pages at VMware.com; currently, it resides here. Note that you will need to BitTorrent it down, I haven't found a straight HTTP download link from that (off-vmware.com) site.

"Windows 7 Download Frustration", Defended

A friend of mine and fellow NFJS speaker, Ken Sipe, blogged about his experiences with Windows 7, and unfortunately, they're not positive. In fact, they're downright painful to read. And he hasn't even begun the installation process yet: First I went to the public beta site... and selected the 64-bit version in english and got this [screen shot]. WTF?? Repeated attempts resulted in the same. An oops page with a pre-canned search.

First Thoughts on VS2008-on-Windows7

This is more a continuation of my earlier Windows7 post, but I've installed the new Windows7 beta into a VMWare Fusion VM with zero difficulties, and I just finished putting VS2008 (and the SP1 patch) on it, then the latest F# CTP on top of that, and so far it all looks pretty smooth. Put in the DDK and the SDK, and I've got a nice Windows7 development image to play with.

"Pragmatic Architecture", in book form

For a couple of years now, I've been going around the world and giving a talk entitled "Pragmatic Architecture", talking both about what architecture is (and what architects really do), and ending the talk with my own "catalog" of architectural elements and ideas, in an attempt to take some of the mystery and "cloud" nature of architecture out of the discussion. If you've read Effective Enterprise Java, then you've read the first version of that discussion, where Pragmatic Architecture was a second-generation thought process.

Re-MVP'ed, Re-INETA'ed

Thanks again to the folks at Microsoft who've been gracious enough to award me MVP Architect status again this year, and to the INETA Speakers Bureau, who've decided that I'm to remain an INETA speaker for another twelve months. What's more impressive is the list of new speakers that INETA has added, including Rachel Appel, Alan Stevens, and Steve Andrews, among others. Congratulations to all three of you, you deserve it.

2009 Predictions, 2008 Predictions Revisited

It's once again that time of year, and in keeping with my tradition, I'll revisit the 2008 predictions to see how close I came before I start waxing prophetic on the coming year. (I'm thinking that maybe the next year--2010's edition--I should actually take a shot at predicting the next decade, but I'm not sure if I'd remember to go back and revisit it in 2020 to see how I did.

The Myth of Discovery

It amazes me how insular and inward-facing the software industry is. And how the "agile" movement is reaping the benefits of a very simple characteristic. For example, consider Jeff Palermo's essay on "The Myth of Self-Organizing Teams". Now, nothing against Jeff, or his post, per se, but it amazes me how our industry believes that they are somehow inventing new concepts, such as, in this case the "self-organizing team". Team dynamics have been a subject of study for decades, and anyone with a background in psychology, business, or sales has probably already been through much of the material on it.

Dustin Campbell on the Future of VB in VS2010

Dustin Campbell, a self-professed "IDE guy", is speaking at the .NET Developer's Association of Redmond this evening, on the future of Visual Basic in Visual Studio 2010, and I feel compelled, based on my earlier "dissing" of VB in my thoughts of PDC post, to give VB a little love here. First of all, he notes publicly that the VB and C# teams have been brought together under one roof, organizationally, so that the two languages can evolve in parallel to one another.

Explorations into "M"

Having freshly converted both the Visual Studio 2010 and Oslo SDK VPC images that we received at PDC 2008 last month to VMWare images, I figure it's time to dive into M. At PDC, the Addison-Wesley folks were giving away copies of "The 'Oslo' Modeling Language" book, which is apparently official canon of the "M" language for Oslo, so I flip to page 1 and start reading: The "Oslo" Modeling Language (M) is a modern, declarative language for working with data.

REST != HTTP

Roy Fielding has weighed in on the recent "buzzwordiness" (hey, if Colbert can make up "truthiness", then I can make up "buzzwordiness") of calling everything a "REST API", a tactic that has become more en vogue of late as vendors discover that the general programming population is finding the WSDL-based XML services stack too complex to navigate successfully for all but the simplest of projects. Contrary to what many RESTafarians may be hoping, Roy doesn't gather all these wayward children to his breast and praise their anti-vendor/anti-corporate/anti-proprietary efforts, but instead, blasts them pretty seriously for mangling his term: I am getting frustrated by the number of people calling any HTTP-based interface a REST API.

Winter Travels: Øredev, DevTeach, DeVoxx

Recently, a blog reader asked me if I wasn't doing any speaking any more since I'd joined ThoughtWorks, and that's when I realized I'd been bad about updating my speaking calendar on the website. Sorry, all; no, ThoughtWorks didn't pull my conference visa or anything, I've just been bad about keeping it up to date. I'll fix that ASAP, but in the meantime, three events that I'll be at in the coming wintry months include: Øredev 2008: 19 - 21 November, Malmoe, Sweden Øredev will be a first for me, and I've ben invited to give a keynote there, along with a few technical sessions.

More PDC 2008 bits exploration: VisualStudio_2010

Having created a Window7 VMWare image (which I then later cloned and installed the Windows7 SDK into, successfully, wahoo!), I turned to the Visual Studio 2010 bits they provided on the hard drive. Not surprisingly, though a bit frustratingly, they didn't give us an install image that I could put into a VMWare image of my own creation, but instead gave us a VPC with everything pre-installed in it. I know that Microsoft prefers to promote its own products, and that it's probably a bit much to ask them to provide both a VMWare image and a VirtualPC image for these kind of pre-alpha things, but it's a bit of a pain considering that Virtual PC doesn't run anymore on the Mac, that I'm aware of.

Thoughts of a PDC (2008) Gone By...

PDC 2008 in LA is over now, and like most PDCs, it definitely didn't disappoint on the technical front--Microsoft tossed out a whole slew of new technologies, ideas, releases, and prototypes, all with the eye towards getting bits (in this case, a Western Digital 160 GB USB hard drive) out to the developer community and getting back feedback, either through the usual channels or, more recently, the blogosphere. These are the things I think I think about this past PDC: Windows 7 will be an interesting thing to watch--they handed out DVDs in both 32- and 64-bit versions, and it's somewhat reminiscent of the Longhorn DVDs of the last PDC.

"I'm sorry, sir, those cookies are not for you..."

One of the more interesting logistical problems faced by the people who run the Microsoft Conference Center is that several events are often running in parallel, and each has their own catering provisions--one might get snacks, another may have lunch boxes, and others have full buffet, and so on. Of course, each group will want to make sure their food isn't swiped by people at other events with less-appealing food, so staff members at the Conference Center (literally) stand guard over the snack tables, looking for badges and directing them to the appropriate table as necessary.

Apparently I'm #25 on the Top 100 Blogs for Development Managers

The full list is here. It's a pretty prestigious group--and I'm totally floored that I'm there next to some pretty big names. In homage to Ms. Sally Fields, of so many years ago... "You like me, you really like me". Having somebody come up to me at a conference and tell me how much they like my blog is second on my list of "fun things to happen to me at a conference", right behind having somebody come up to me at a conference and tell me how much they like my blog, except for that one entry, where I said something totally ridiculous (and here's why) ....

Rotor v2 book draft available

As Joel points out, we've made a draft of the SSCLI 2.0 Internals book available for download (via his blog). Rather than tell you all about the book, which Joel summarizes quite well, instead I thought I'd tell you about the process by which the book came to be. Editor's note: if you have no interest in the process by which a book can get done, skip the rest of this blog entry.

An Announcement

For those of you who were at the Cinncinnati NFJS show, please continue on to the next blog entry in your reader--you've already heard this. For those of you who weren't, then allow me to make the announcement: Hi. My name's Ted Neward, and I am now a ThoughtWorker. After four months of discussions, interviews, more discussions and more interviews, I can finally say that ThoughtWorks and I have come to a meeting of the minds, and starting 3 September I will be a Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks.

The Never-Ending Debate of Specialist v. Generalist

Another DZone newsletter crosses my Inbox, and again I feel compelled to comment. Not so much in the uber-aggressive style of my previous attempt, since I find myself more on the fence on this one, but because I think it's a worthwhile debate and worth calling out. The article in question is "5 Reasons Why You Don't Want A Jack-of-all-Trades Developer", by Rebecca Murphey. In it, she talks about the all-too-common want-ad description that appears on job sites and mailing lists: I've spent the last couple of weeks trolling Craigslist and have been shocked at the number of ads I've found that seem to be looking for an entire engineering team rolled up into a single person.


From the "Gosh, You Wanted Me to Quote You?" Department...

This comment deserves response: First of all, if you're quoting my post, blocking out my name, and attacking me behind my back by calling me "our intrepid troll", you could have shown the decency of linking back to my original post. Here it is, for those interested in the real discussion: http://www.agilesoftwaredevelopment.com/blog/jurgenappelo/professionalism-knowledge-first Well, frankly, I didn't get your post from your blog, I got it from an email 'zine (as indicated by the comment "This crossed my Inbox..."), and I didn't really think that anybody would have any difficulty tracking down where it came from, at least in terms of the email blast that put it into my Inbox.

From the "You Must Be Trolling for Hits" Department...

Recently this little gem crossed my Inbox.... Professionalism = Knowledge First, Experience Last By J----- A----- Do you trust a doctor with diagnosing your mental problems if the doctor tells you he's got 20 years of experience? Do you still trust that doctor when he picks up his tools, and asks you to prepare for a lobotomy? Would you still be impressed if the doctor had 20 years of experience in carrying out lobotomies?

Blog change? Ads? What gives?

If you've peeked at my blog site in the last twenty minutes or so, you've probably noticed some churn in the template in the upper-left corner; by now, it's been finalized, and it reads "JOB REFERRALS". WTHeck? Has Ted finally sold out? Sort of, not really. At least, I don't think so. Here's the deal: the company behind those ads, Entice Labs, contacted me to see if I was interested in hosting some job ads on my blog, given that I seem to generate a moderate amount of traffic.

Polyglot Plurality

The Pragmatic Programmer says, "Learn a new language every year". This is great advice, not just because it puts new tools into your mental toolbox that you can pull out on various occasions to get a job done, but also because it opens your mind to new ideas and new concepts that will filter their way into your code even without explicit language support. For example, suppose you've looked at (J/Iron)Ruby or Groovy, and come to like the "internal iterator" approach as a way of simplifying moving across a collection of objects in a uniform way; for political and cultural reasons, though, you can't write code in anything but Java.

The power of Office as a front-end

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Bruce Wilson, a principal with iLink, and we had a pleasant conversation about enterprise applications and trends and such. Last week, in the middle of my trip to Prague and Zurich, he sent me a link to a blog entry he'd written on using Office as a front-end, and it sort of underscored some ideas I've had around Office in general. The interesting thing is, most of the ideas he talks about here could just as easily be implemented on top of a Java back-end, or a Ruby back-end, as a .NET back-end.

Let the Great Language Wars commence....

As Amanda notes, I’m riding with 46 other folks (and lots of beer) on a bus from Michigan to devLink in Tennessee, as part of sponsoring the show. (I think she got my language preferences just a teensy bit mixed up, though.) Which brings up a related point, actually: Amanda (of “the great F# T-shirt” fame from TechEd this year) and I are teaming up to do F# In A Nutshell for O’Reilly.

Guide you, the Force should

Steve Yegge posted the transcript from a talk on dynamic languages that he gave at Stanford. Cedric Beust posted a response to Steve's talk, espousing statically-typed languages. Numerous comments and flamewars erupted, not to mention a Star Wars analogy (which always makes things more fun). This is my feeble attempt to play galactic peacemaker. Or at least galactic color commentary and play-by-play. I have no doubts about its efficacy, and that it will only fan the flames, for that's how these things work.

Clearly Thinking... whether in Language, or otherwise

Steve Vinoski thinks to deflate my arguments with suppositions and presumptions, which I cannot simply let stand. (Sorry, Steve-O, but I think you're out in left field on this one. I'm happy to argue it further with you over beer, but if you want the last word, have at it, and we'll compare scores when we run into each other at the next conference.) Steve first takes aim at my comparison of the Erlang process model to the *nix process model: First, Ted says: Erlang’s reliability model–that is, the spawn-a-thousand-processes model–is not unique to Erlang.

Blogs I'm currently reading

Recently, a former student asked me, I was in a .NET web services training class that you gave probably 4 or so years ago on-site at a [company name] office in [city], north of Atlanta.  At that time I asked you for a list of the technical blogs that you read, and I am curious which blogs you are reading now.  I am now with a small company where I have to be a jack of all trades, in the last year I have worked in C++ and Perl backend type projects and web frontend projects with Java, C#, and RoR, so I find your perspective interesting since you also work with various technologies and aren't a zealot for a specific one.

I'm Pro-Choice... Pro Programmer Choice, that is

Not too long ago, Don wrote: The three most “personal” choices a developer makes are language, tool, and OS. No. That may be true for somebody who works for a large commercial or open source vendor, whose team is building something that fits into one of those three categories and wants to see that language/tool/OS succeed. That is not where most of us live. If you do, certainly, you are welcome to your opinion, but please accept with good grace that your agenda is not the same as my own.

Thinking in Language

A couple of folks have taken me to task over some of the things I said... or didn't say... in my last blog piece. So, in no particular order, let's discuss. A few commented on how I left out commentary on language X, Y or Z. That wasn't an accidental slip or surge of forgetfulness, but I didn't want to rattle off a laundry list of every language I've run across or am exploring, since that list would be much, much longer and arguably of little to no additional benefit.

Yet Another Muddled Message

This just recently crossed my Inbox, this time from Redmond Developer News, and once again I'm simply amazed at the audacity of the message and rather far-fetched conclusion: FEEDBACK: THE MOVE FROM J2EE On Tuesday, I wrote about BMC's new Application Problem Resolution System 7.0 tooling, which provides "black box" monitoring and analysis of application behavior to help improve troubleshooting. http://reddevnews.com/blogs/weblog.aspx?blog=2146 In talking to BMC Director Ran Gishri, I ran across some interesting perspectives that he was able to offer on the enterprise development space.

Groovy or JRuby?

Recently, it has become the fad to weigh in on the Groovy vs JRuby debate, usually along the lines of "Which is X?", where X is one of "better", "faster", "more powerful", "more acceptable", "easier", and so on. (Everybody seems to have their own adjective/adverb to slide in there, so I won't even begin to try to list them all.) Rick Hightower, in a blog post from January, weighs in on this and comes down harshly on both Scala and JRuby.

IE 8 Beta

This email crossed my desk yesterday, courtesy of the MVP program: Microsoft has recently released a public beta of IE8. Standards and security are of top importance in this release. To that end, the IE team is planning on releasing IE8 in full standards mode. Releasing in Full Standards Mode offers many benefits in the long term, but short term, could cause some end-user and developer issues. We would love to understand your thoughts around the impact of this specific issue and invite your suggestions on how we can best communicate it.

Is Microsoft serious?

Recently I received a press announcement from Waggener-Edstrom, Microsoft's PR company, about their latest move in the interoperability space; I reproduce it here in its entirety for your perusal: Hi Ted, Microsoft is announcing another action to promote greater interoperability, opportunity and choice across the IT industry of developers, partners, customers and competitors.  Today Microsoft is posting additional documentation of the XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language) formats for advanced user experiences, enabling third parties to access and implement the XAML formats in their own client, server and tool products.  This documentation is publicly available, for no charge, at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=113699 .  It will assist developers building non-Microsoft clients and servers to read and write XAML to process advanced user experiences – with lots of animation, rich 2D and 3D graphic and video.

MSDN "F# Primer" Article Feedback

Since the publication of the F# article in the MSDN Launch magazine, I've gotten some feedback from readers (for which I heartily thank you all, by the way), but in particular I've gotten two emails from "tms" that I thought deserved more widespread notice and commentary. I'm happy to give full credit to "tms" for his comments, but thus far I haven't heard back from him saying it was OK to do so; that said, his points are valid, and I think important for the rest of the world to hear, so I'm posting this under a pseudonym until he gives permission to offer up his real name.

Rules for Review

Apparently, I'm drawing enough of an audience through this blog that various folks have started to send me press releases and notifications and requests for... well, I dunno exactly, but I'm assuming some blogging love of some kind. I'm always a little leery about that particular subject, because it always has this dangerous potential to turn the blog into a less-credible marketing device, but people at conferences have suggested that they really are interested in what I think about various products and tools, so perhaps it's time to amend my stance on this.

Lang.NET 2008 videos back online

For those who were skimming my blog looking for the notification that the Lang.NET 2008 Symposium videos were back online, look no further.

Reminder

A couple of people have asked me over the last few weeks, so it's probably worth saying out loud: No, I don't work for a large company, so yes, I'm available for consulting and research projects. If you've got one of those burning questions like, "How would our company/project/department/whatever make use of JRuby-and-Rails, and what would the impact to the rest of the system be", or "Could using F# help us write applications faster", or "How would we best integrate Groovy into our application", or "How does the new Adobe Flex/AIR move help us build richer client apps", or "How do we improve the performance of our Java/.NET app", or other questions along those lines, drop me a line and let's talk.

Eclipse gets some help... building Windows apps... from Microsoft?

This delicious little tidbit just crossed my desk, and for those of you too scared to click the link, check this out: Microsoft will begin collaborating with the Eclipse Foundation to improve native Windows application development on Java. Sam Ramji, the director of Microsoft's open-source software lab, announced at the EclipseCon conference in Santa Clara, Calif., on Wednesday that the lab will work with Eclipse . The goal of the joint work, which will include contributions from Microsoft engineers, is to make it easier to use Java to write applications that take full advantage of the look and feel of Windows Vista.

Building LLVM on Windows using MinGW32

As I've mentioned in passing, one of the things I'm playing with in my spare time (or will play with, now that I've got everything working, I think) is the LLVM toolchain. In essence, it looks to be a parallel to Microsoft's Phoenix, except that it's out, it's been in use in production environments (Apple is a major contributor to the project and uses it pretty extensively, it seems), and it supports not only C/C++ and Objective-C, but also Ada and Fortran.

I love it when good accountanting girls go geek

Erik Mork, C++ and .NET programmer extraordinaire and bright guy in his own right, has subverted my sister-in-law to programming, and the pair of them are now opening the doors of their new company, Silver Bay Labs, with a series of podcasts on Silverlight and "sparkling clients" in general. Have a listen, if you're interested in the whole "rich client" thing....

My Secret (?) Shame (Or, Building Parrot 0.5.2)

OK, after a week of getting the Internet equivalent of Bad Mojo being sent my way by every Perl developer on the planet, I have to admit something that may strike readers as inconsistent and incongruous. I want Parrot to work. I don't really care about Perl 6, per se. As I've said before, the language has a lot of linguistic inconsistencies and too many violations of the the Principle of Least Surprise to carry a lot of favor with me.

Diving into the Grails-vs-Rails wars (Or, Here we go again....)

Normally, I like to stay out of these kinds of wars, but this post by Stu (whom I deeply respect and consider a friend, though he may not reciprocate by the time I'm done here) just really irked me somewhere sensitive. I'm not entirely sure why, but something about it just... rubbed me the wrong way, I guess is the best way to say it. Let's dissect, shall we? Stu begins with the following two candidates: 1.

Highlights of the Lang.NET Symposium Day Two

No snow last night, which means we avoid a repeat of the Redmond-wide shutdown of all facilities due to a half-inch of snow, and thus we avoid once again the scorn of cities all across the US for our wimpiness in the face of fluffy cold white stuff. Erik Meijer: It's obvious why Erik is doing his talk at 9AM, because the man has far more energy than any human being has a right to have at this hour of the morning.

By the way, if anybody wants to argue about languages next week...

... or if you're a-hankering to kick my *ss over my sacreligious statements about Perl, I'll be at Building 20 on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, at the Language.NET Symposium with a few other guys who know something about language and VM implementation: Jim Hugunin, Gilad Bracha, Wayne Kelly, Charlie Nutter, John Rose, John Lam, Erik Meijer, Anders Hejlsberg.... I wish there were more "other VMs" representation showing up (some of the Parrot or Strongtalk or Squeak folks would offer up some great discussion points), but in the event they don't, it'll still be an interesting discussion.

My Open Wireless Network

People visiting my house have commented from time to time on the fact that at my house, there's no WEP key or WPA password to get on the network; in fact, if you were to park your car in my driveway and open up your notebook, you can jump onto the network and start browsing away. For years, I've always shrugged and said, "If I can't spot you sitting in my driveway, you deserve the opportunity to attack my network."

Commentary Responses: 1/15/2008 Edition

A couple of people have left comments that definitely deserve response, so here we go: Glenn Vanderberg comments in response to the Larraysaywhut? post, and writes: Interesting post, Ted ... and for the most part I agree with your comments.  But I have to ask about this one: Actually, there are languages that do it even worse than COBOL. I remember one Pascal variant that required your keywords to be capitalized so that they would stand out.

I Refused to be Terrorized

Bruce Schneier has a great blog post on this. I'm joining the movement, with this declaration: I am not afraid of terrorism, and I want you to stop being afraid on my behalf. Please start scaling back the official government war on terror. Please replace it with a smaller, more focused anti-terrorist police effort in keeping with the rule of law. Please stop overreacting. I understand that it will not be possible to stop all terrorist acts.

Quotes on writing

This is, without a doubt, the most accurate quote ever about the "fun" of writing a book: Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.

Anybody know of a good WebDAV client library ...

... for Ruby, or PowerShell/.NET? I'm looking for something to make it easier to use WebDAV from a shell scripting language on Windows; Ruby and PowerShell are the two that come to mind as the easiest to use on Windows. For some reason, Google doesn't yield much by way of results, and I've got to believe there's better WebDAV support out there than what I'm finding. (Yes, I could write one, but why bother, if one is out there that already exists?

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.

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.

Would you still love AJAX if you knew it was insecure?

From Bruce Schneier's latest Crypto-Gram: JavaScript Hijacking JavaScript hijacking is a new type of eavesdropping attack against Ajax-style Web applications.  I'm pretty sure it's the first type of attack that specifically targets Ajax code.  The attack is possible because Web browsers don't protect JavaScript the same way they protect HTML; if a Web application transfers confidential data using messages written in JavaScript, in some cases the messages can be read by an attacker.

RedHat, Inc: The Next Microsoft?

Think that RedHat is still the open source capital of the Internet, all happy-happy-joy-joy with its supporters and liberal-minded in its goals? Take a look at this and tell me if your mind isn’t changed a little: Enclosed is a copy of the form letter they sent out to many companies that offer Hibernate consulting and training.  Dear Sir or Madam:  Red Hat, Inc. has become aware that your company is offering Hibernate training courses.


Important/Not-so-important

Frank Kelly posted some good ideas on his entry, “Java: Are we worrying about the wrong things?”, but more interestingly, he suggested (implicitly) a new format for weighing in on trends and such, his “Important/Not-so-important” style. For example, NOT SO IMPORTANT: Web 2.0IMPORTANT: Giving users a good, solid user experience. Web 2.0 doesn’t make sites better by itself - it provides powerful technologies but it’s no silver bullet. There are so many terrible web sites out there with issues such as- Too much content / too cluttered http://jdj.sys-con.com/- Too heavy for the many folks still on dial-up- Inconsistent labeling- etc.

More on Ethics

While traveling not too long ago, I saw a great piece on ethics, and wished I’d kept the silly magazine (I couldn’t remember which one) because it was just a really good summation of how to live the ethical life. While wandering around the Web with Google tonight, I found it (scroll down a bit, to after the bits on Prohibition and Laughable Laws); in summary, the author advocates a life around five basic points: Do no harm Make things better Respect others Be fair Be loving Seems pretty simple, no?

Programming Promises (or, the Professional Programmer's Hippocratic Oath)

Michael.NET, apparently inspired by my “Check Your Politics At The Door” post, and equally peeved at another post on blogs.msdn.com, hit a note of pure inspiration when he created his list of “Programming Promises”, which I repeat below: I promise to get the job done. I promise to use whatever tools I need to, regardless of politics. I promise to listen to the Closed Source and Open Source zealots equally, and then dismiss them.

Interop Briefs: In-proc interop with IKVM

(This originally appeared on 8 November 2006 as an entry on TheServerSide’s blog. The title there was erroneously called “A look at out-of-proc or RPC interop”, which is completely nonsensical, since this entry had nothing at all to do with out-of-proc or RPC. I’ve since corrected the title, and fixed the horrendous formatting problems that appeared there, as well.) For years, the concept of “Java-.NET interoperability” has been wrapped up in discussions of Web services and the like, but in truth there are a bunch of different ways to make Java and .NET code work together.

The Root of All Evil

At a No Fluff Just Stuff conference not that long ago, Brian Goetz and I were hosting a BOF on "Java Internals" (I think it was), and he tossed off a one-liner that just floored me; I forget the exact phrasology, but it went something like: Remember that part about premature optimization being the root of all evil? He was referring to programmer career lifecycle, not software development lifecycle. ... and the more I thought about it, the more I think Brian was absolutely right.

Interop Briefs: Check your politics at the door

(Originally appeared on TheServerSide, November 2006; I’ve made some edits to it since then.) As we prepare to enter the holiday season here in the US, I think it’s time that we called for Peace on Earth. Or, at least, Peace in Computer Science.   In 2000, when Microsoft first announced the .NET Framework (then called by various alternative names, such as the “Universal RunTime (URT)” or “COM3” or the “Component Object Runtime (COR)”), it was immediately hailed as the formal declaration of war on Sun and Java, if not an actual pre-emptive attack.

A Time for a Change

I've had The Blog Ride up for almost two years now, and it seems the latest fad to change your blog title to match whatever your particular focus is at the moment. Given my tech predictions for 2007, and how I believe that interoperability is going to become a Big Deal (well, I guess in one sense it was already, but now I think it's going to become a Bigger Deal), and that hey, this is my schtick anyway, I've decided to rename the blog from "The Blog Ride" (which was kinda a lame name to begin with) to ...

Warning: XSS attack in PDF URLs

Just heard this through the OWASP mailing list, and it’s a dandy: I wanted to give everyone all a heads-up on a very serious new application security vulnerability that probably affects you. Basically, any application that serves PDF files is likely to be vulnerable to XSS attacks. Attackers simply have to add an anchor containing a script, e.g. add #blah=javascript:alert(document.cookie); to ANY URL that ends in .pdf (or streams a PDF).

2006 Tech Predictions: A Year in Hindsight

OK, time to face the music and look back at my predictions from last year: The hype surrounding Ajax will slowly fade, as people come to realize that there’s really nothing new here, just that DHTML is cool again. As Dion points out, Ajax will become a toolbox that you use in web development without thinking that “I am doing Ajax”. Just as we don’t think about “doing HTML” vs “doing DOM”.

Tech Predictions: 2007 Edition

So, in what's become an ongoing tradition, this is the time of year when I peer into the patented Ted Neward Crystal Ball (TM) (operators are standing by!), see what it tells me about technology trends and ideas for the coming year, and report them to you. The usual disclaimers apply, meaning I'm not getting any sort of endorsement deals to mention anybody's technology here, I'm not speaking for anybody but myself in this, and so on.

Where've you been, Ted?

Some of the blog readers have emailed me asking about the long silence; a few have even asked if I was injured by one of the flying rotten tomatoes that came with the Vietnam post. No, I've just been traveling a lot, doing a bunch of conferences, with more coming up, like JAOO and DevReach (a new show that's opening in Sofia, Bulgaria, and one that I'm really looking forward to).

"Pragmatic Architecture" TechEd Webcast now up

Cathi Gero’s and my session from TechEd, “Pragmatic Architecture”, is now available as a webcast for your viewing and listening pleasure. We had a few issues with the audio, which got us started late, but overall the general feedback was positive. Enjoy…

Seattle Code Camp:

I’m a bit late to this, but they’ve just started putting together the logistics for Seattle Code Camp (Oct 22-23), a community-driven event bringing programming speakers and interested attendees together for a couple of days, gratis. Who is “they”, you ask? It’s that Evil Empire, Microsoft, out to steal your souls. Be warned, Java faithful, lest ye lose your chance at the Afterlife and Good Code! Not. Code Camps are a recent invention of Microsoft’s, and they’re intended to be technology-agnostic.

Props to my wife

For those of you who don’t know this, the blog at the root of the neward.net domain is one that my wife maintains–all I can claim is inspiration, providing her with plenty of material to write about, like the stories about her kids and her uber-geek husband. A regular Muse, that’s me. :-) The reason I bring it up here, in this channel, is that I’ve had more speaker-friends of mine come to me and tell me that while they like reading my blog, they love reading Charlotte’s blog.

Installing Vista B1

So I’ve finally unpacked my office enough to find my game machine… er, workstation, that is… which has as its main benefit a removable drive tray that contains the drive I boot from. Advantage being, when I want to try out new stuff (such as Windows Vista) on a raw hardware machine, I don’t have to screw with partitions, nor do I have to be worried about trying to make it work inside a VMWare or VPC image.