bliki tagged by: writing
One of the frustrations of the software development field it's hard to choose between different techniques and tools. Often when someone talks about this they are asked for 'hard data' that the technique or tool is better than alternatives. It's an understandable request, but in the end it's a doomed one. For a start we CannotMeasureProductivity.
9 October 2005
I don't not write much production code these days, but I still spend quite a few hours writing code. This code is a particular form of code, meant for explaining ideas in books. Book code isn't quite like real code, there are some different forces to consider when writing it.
4 December 2007
One of the most striking things about the Manifesto for Agile Software Development is the format of its values "we favor x over y". I don't remember who came up with that idea, or how it arose. It probably just bubbled up as we tossed around ideas. But it's distinctive format has led a few people to try using that format again.
5 June 2009
Last week I got the newest book in my signature series: xUnit Test Patterns by Gerard Meszaros. I've been working with Gerard with it on and off for a couple of years, so I'm fairly familiar with its contents, but somehow seeing the physical copy gave me quite a shock. Somehow it hadn't dawned on me how big the book was - 883 pages, easily the biggest book in my series.
13 June 2007
As a writer and speaker on software development, I dish out a huge amount of general advice about our profession. Whether it's as specific as saying how a DecoratedCommand works, or as philosophical as how to think about your SoftwareDevelopmentAttitude, there's no end to the noise I make. Furthermore I'm only one of a large community of general advice givers: authors, analyst companies, journalists, there's more of it than anyone can read.
As I've been using slides again as a visual channel in my talks, I've been making use of animation with diagrams to help communicate my points. The major presentation programs (Keynote and Powerpoint) have long supported animation, but I've been inclinded to look for motion grahics tools that are more powerful and easier to use.
29 November 2010
A couple of years ago I changed an important aspect of my working life. Before then I tried to work on only one computer (or more strictly only one hard drive). All my working files were kept on my laptop hard drive. If I used a desktop machine I used those files through file sharing facilities.
Microsoft have released a new community resource called PatternShare. The idea is to bring together pattern summaries from many pattern authors and provide a platform for discussion and further exploration of the interconnections between them. Much of the work was led by Ward Cunningham, whose pattern lineage is second to none. You'll find patterns there from myself, GOF, POSA, Hohpe/Woolf, Evans, and Microsoft.
5 February 2005
One of the side-effects of my success as a writer is that I've become a minor geek celebrity. It is very minor, usually only taking effect in geek conferences (although I have had people wander up to me in a restaurent a couple of times in San Francisco.) Before it happened I really didn't think much about it, other than a mild hankering after fame. Now it's happened I'm more aware of it - and all in all I hate it.
7 February 2006
From time to time people ask about how you get a book into my signature series. There are lots of book series out there and each series has its own way of deciding what to accept. Here's how I decide
I wasn't cool enough to be in the first wave of invitations, but I have now got onto Google+, the Maybe Next Big Thing in social networks. It seems somewhat appropriate to mark this Momentous Event by writing a little bit about how I've used social networks so far, and some uninformed speculation about the impact of Google+
11 July 2011
It's one thing to idle away your productive hours reading this blog, but some people like to translate it too. So I'd like to welcome a Thai translation which is being done by a team of people led by Wee Witthawaskul. About fifteen years ago I visited Thailand as a typical backpacker western tourist. I have fond memories of the river buses in Bangkok, hiking near Pai, snorkelling at Ko Pi Pi, and some great food. I first met Wee while he was working with Ralph Johnson, he's now joined me at ThoughtWorks.
10 May 2007
At the end of the movie Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood's character needs to break out of town. He announces that if anyone tries to shoot him he'll kill him, then kill his family, and then burn their house down.
I've been watching the blog scene develop for a while, and it's impossible to not want to join in. But there are things I'm not so keen about blogs. For a start the name, as my colleague Mike Two puts it, "blog sounds like something I should pay a physician to remove". Beyond the name, however, there's the very ephemeral nature of blog postings. Short bursts of writing that might be interesting when they are read - but quickly age. I find writing too hard to want to spend it on things that disappear.
26 May 2003
Every so often I get someone who not just disagrees with something I've said, but is also alarmed that I've said it. "When a guru like you says something, lots of people will blindly do exactly what you say".
10 May 2004
I write about design, and it's my view that even when you are discussing somewhat abstract design patterns it's useful to provide source code examples. Of course this can lead to people thinking that the code example is the pattern, but I think that risk is outweighed by the precision that code provides. Several times I'm not quite sure about an idea but a code example helps to clarify it for me. So in my writing on design I always try to provide code examples.
11 March 2004
From time to time during a meeting or workshop, it's good to get votes on a number things in order to rank or choose a subset. A quick and nice way to do this is dot voting.
Over the weekend I heard the sad news that John Vlissides died after a long battle with cancer. John is best known as one of the "Gang of Four" who produced probably the best book written on software design.
28 November 2005
As someone who uses version control all the time, I think it's something that can grow into more areas of computer use. Other than software developers, few computer users use version control. Yet as software developers know, version control is a great mechanism for collaborative work, allowing multiple people to work together on a single software system. What would be the benefits of version control being more widely used?
6 December 2004
All of this site is written in simple XML documents and transformed to HTML. I find this works really well, and means I never have to worry about dealing with HTML formats. (Not that fancy layout is my style, as you can tell.) I've even written a whole book that way.
20 September 2003
1: a new word, usage, or expression.
2: a meaningless word coined by a psychotic.
If you read much of my writing you'll quickly notice that I am a compulsive neologiser. I'm always looking to come up with new words and phrases, indeed this bliki is designed around this habit.
2 November 2006
A common complaint about patterns books is that they have nothing new to tell experienced developers. (I've had a few of these recently in amazon reviews and on The Server Side, so perhaps I'm feeling sensitive at the moment.) Not just is this true, but it's the whole point of patterns.
31 July 2003
I have a couple of feeds for those who like to use them. Although I've used the term RSS Feed here, they are actually Atom feeds.
From time to time I run into people who want to get a smalltalk and give it a spin to see what the fuss is about. My old favorite introductory smalltalk book went out of print, but I just discovered you can now download it from here together with lots of other smalltalk related material. The material is hosted by Stéphane Ducasse, who was a co-author on an excellent book on reengineering patterns.
26 October 2005
If you read many standards documents, apart from the need for excessive amounts of coffee, you'll also need to be wary of the overloaded meaning of some words.
In the summer of 2006 I did a major chunk of work on UI patterns. Since then they've been very much on ice as my primary writing focus has shifted (although not very visibly) to DomainSpecificLanguages. On this page I'll keep a note of links to writings I've liked that are connected with that work.
12 July 2007
XML has been around for a while now, and it's used a lot - indeed a lot more than it should be. Like most tools XML is good for some things and not for others