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.
Mon 13 May 2019 13:37 EDT
Many enterprises are investing in a centralized data platform to provide support for business insights and (hopefully) automated decision making. Having worked with several of these organizations, my colleague Zhamak Dehghani feels there are fundamental problems with this common approach. These demand a shift to a more decentralized approach that draws from modern distributed architecture - which she refers to as a data mesh.
Thu 18 Apr 2019 18:47 EDT
Thu 11 Apr 2019 09:44 EDT
For a few years it was easy to give a talk with a visual accompaniment driven by my laptop next to me. But recently it's getting harder to do this, making me wonder if I should continue designing visuals at all.
Tue 02 Apr 2019 09:41 EDT
Any serious software system needs some form of observability, so we can figure out how it is working and keep track of problems. But adding the code for this often results in lots of low-level cruft. Pete Hodgson describes a pattern that allows developers to add observability via a testable domain-oriented API that removes most of this cruft.
Tue 05 Mar 2019 08:27 EST
In my recent client engagement, I foresaw that serverless architecture was a perfect fit. The idea of adopting serverless architecture, though, didn’t fly to our client well due to the fear of vendor lock-in. It was an interesting time for retailers as staying in AWS might mean that Amazon, as another retail business, will be given a competitive advantage. Given the idea of not supporting a competitor, my client was interested to ensure that the solution chosen by us is fully portable to other cloud vendors.
Wed 20 Feb 2019 18:10 EST
I write most pages on this website in an XML format source file, and use emacs to edit those sources. I’m very happy with how nxml-mode works with prose-style XML, making it much more usable than other environments seem to be. But recent changes (with emacs 26.1, IIRC) put a bit of grit into the environment.
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 recently published a second edition.
As well as the book, I’ve written 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.