My name is Martin Fowler: I’m an author, speaker, and loud-mouth on the design of enterprise software. This site is dedicated to improving the profession of software development, with a focus on skills and techniques that will last a developer for most of their career. I’m the editor of the site and the most prolific writer. It was originally just my personal site, but over the last few years many colleagues have written excellent material that I’ve been happy to host here. I work for ThoughtWorks, a really rather good software delivery and consulting company. To find your way around this site, go to the intro guide.
News and Updates
My atom feed (RSS) announces any updates to this site, as well as various news about my activities and other things I think you may be interested in. I also make regular announcements via my twitter feed, which I copy to my facebook page.
Tue 24 Apr 2018 14:53
As monolithic systems become too large to deal with, many enterprises are drawn to breaking them down into the microservices architectural style. It is a worthwhile journey, but not an easy one. My colleague Zhamak Dehghani has trod this road several times and has distilled her experiences, together with those of our other colleagues, into a brief guide to help fellow travelers on the path.
Fri 06 Apr 2018 19:18
Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim have just published their book Accelerate. I think this will be the most important software book this year (yes more than this). Not just does it give solid advice on the practices you need to create a top class software delivery capability, it backs that advice with a depth of scientific analysis unusual in our field. Here is my foreword to their book, which I'm rather proud of being asked to write.
Sun 01 Apr 2018 11:16 EDT
Tue 27 Mar 2018 14:09
Nearly twenty years ago, I wrote "Refactoring", which is probably my
most successful book. It's still a useful book, as the technique is one
that doesn't change much with new languages and technology. But given
that, a book that uses
java.util.Vector is showing its age a
bit. So, for the last couple of years I've been working on a new edition.
Tue 06 Mar 2018 14:21
Several years ago, Diana Larsen and James Shore came up with their Agile Fluency model. This categorizes agile usage into four zones, where later zones produce more benefit, but also require greater investment. I've found this model a useful way to understand how different groups of people use agile ideas in varying ways. James and Diana have revised their article, renaming the zones, and adding more material on the benefits from each zone, the proficiencies they expect to see, and the investments required to get there.
Mon 05 Mar 2018 22:31
Evan Bottcher has been involved with several of our clients with microservices and platform building over the last few years. A couple of years ago, at one of our radar writing meetings, he gave a great presentation on what makes an effective way to think about platforms. We urged him to turn it into an article, but for a long time he was too busy to write it down. He talks about common un-platform problems, the danger of backlog coupling, and the balance between autonomy and efficient use of infrastructure.
Refactoring has become a core skill for software developers, it is the foundation behind evolutionary architecture and modern agile software development. I wrote the original book on refactoring in 2000, and it continues to be an interest of mine.
I’ve recently posted several essays on refactoring here:
- While most of our logic is written directly in an imperative language, it is sometimes very useful to represent such logic in a data structure. Refactoring to an Adaptive Model describes this refactoring, which produces an adaptive model interpreted by generic code.
- When I write code that deals with external services, I find it valuable to separate that access code into separate objects. Refactoring code that accesses external services shows how I would refactor some congealed code into a common pattern for this.
- Modern languages give us the opportunity go beyond the loop as a way of handling repetitive behavior. Refactoring with Loops and Collection Pipelines provides a series of small examples of refactoring loops into my preferred approach.
- Refactoring Code to Load a Document looks at how manipulating large JSON documents can often be made easier by encapsulating a combination of loading strategies.
I discovered ThoughtWorks in 2000: then a small American company whose philosophy of software development was remarkably similar to my own. Now we’ve grown to around 4000 people world-wide, but kept the values that make us special. My colleagues have built critical systems for many clients in that time, and I’ve learned many lessons from them. While doing this, we found we often didn’t have the tools we needed, so we started to build them. This led to open-source tools such as CruiseControl, Selenium, Frank, and Moco as well as commercial products.
I have many opportunities, but I’ve stayed at ThoughtWorks because of the quality of my colleagues, who include both well-known speakers and those who may not be famous names but do an excellent job of software delivery (and feed me the information to write about). We are inspired by working with each other and our unusual three-pillar philosophy that raises professional excellence and social justice to the same level as financial performance.
And we are always looking for more great people to join our curious company. Maybe I’ll see you in one of our offices some day.
Continuous Integration and Delivery
For a long time I’ve been a champion of Continuous Integration which reduces integration risk by integrating early and often, an application of the principle of Frequency Reduces Difficulty. We’ve found CI to be a core technique at ThoughtWorks and use it almost all the time. At the heart of this is a style of development that minimizes long feature branches with techniques like Branch By Abstraction and Feature Toggles.
While this is useful, there was still risk present from software that works in the development environment to getting it to work in production. As a result we developed Deployment Pipelines to reduce this risk, moving closer to our aim of Continuous Delivery: building software in such a way that we confidently deploy the latest builds into production whenever there is a business need. We find this improves feedback, reduces risk, and increases the visibility of project progress.
For more information: take a look at my guide page on Continuous Delivery.