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Doing it right can mean doing it wrong

4 minute read

I’ve found that one of the best ways to describe how it feels to be doing software development properly is that it’s like a continuous unclenching of the buttocks. There’s a wondrous sense of sphincter-release when you realise that doing it well means mostly doing all the things that got you to fall in love with it in the first place. In essence, you are free to kick back and get on with the job of making good, working, extensible, lovely-looking code - as long as you constantly carry a syri...


3 minute read

Anyone who has been in the software industry for a decent period of time is bound to have come across at least one Lisp fanatic, or Lispian. They are rare beasts, for sure, but what they lack in numbers they more than make up for in dedication to the object of their fanaticism. Unlike Java or C# hackers Lispians have a real air of self-satisfaction about them; they aren’t just passionate about the prospect of using a neat tool for cutting code, they’ve been to the top of the mountain and they...

The Idiom and the Idiot

4 minute read

The concept of, and quest for, an Agile Architecture is a hot topic these days, and as far as I can tell, it’s a debate that will continue for some years yet. Most likely the term agile will go the way of so many other buzzwords, and fall into disrepute, but I hope the premise that it’s good to work flexibly and reactively with your customers outlasts the current hype. I’m fairly optimistic that it will because once you’ve tried it, more traditional prescriptive approaches can feel awfully l...

Outsourcing we will go

6 minute read

Here’s how the story goes. There’s a meeting of all the big cheeses at our favourite company, Gristle and Flint. It’s quite usual for the other directors to vent their frustrations at the CIO - the desktop hardware refresh is running late, IT personnel costs are on the rise, the web site was down all weekend, new budget requests are coming in to support stuff with weird names like ‘middleware’, you know the kind of thing. But today the CEO is incandescent. The competition is having a field ...

Methodologies Suck

5 minute read

Creating software in the corporate environment is a complex business and complexity is a wonderful breeding ground for risk. There are two types of risk that need to be dealt with: acquired risk and inherent risk. Acquired risk will be the subject of a later post. It’s the quid pro quo of software development - choose the bleeding edge, expand your scope, try something experimental, and you’ll increase your risk. It’s the risk you choose or have foisted on you. Inherent risk is the risk tha...