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Working Effectively with Legacy Code

I gave a talk to my team at ARM today on Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers. Here are some notes I made in preparation, which are somewhat related to the talk I gave. This may be the most important book a software developer can read. Why? Because if you don’t, then you’re […]

New book: APPosite Concerns

Back when I published APPropriate Behaviour, I expected it to be the first in a trilogy. Today, the second part, APPosite Concerns, is available. APPosite Concerns is a compendium of posts from this blog, going back over the current decade. The main topics covered are being a programmer, designing software, thinking about software and computer […]

Staying power

You would imagine that by now I would have come to realise how long my attention span is and worked to find projects that fit within it, but no. This is one of the changes I need to make soon. So often I start a project really excited by it, but am really excited by […]

The Design of the Bazaar

In The Design of Design, Fred Brooks makes an interesting point about ESR’s description of the Bazaar model of Linux (and, by extension, “Open Source”) development. Linux was actually designed in a cathedral. The design was supplied by Unix, where Linux was to be a work-alike replacement for a particular component. There was even a […]

APPosite Concerns

I’ve started another book project: APPosite Concerns is in the same series as, and is somehow a sequel to, APPropriate Behaviour. So now I just have one question to ask. What is going to be in the book? This question is easy to answer in broad terms. My mental conception of who I am and […]

Intra-curricular activities

I’m apparently fascinated by the idea of defining curricula for learning programming. I’ve written about how we need to be careful what we try to pay forward from the way we learned in the past, and I’ve talked about how we do need to pay it forward so that the second hundred years see faster […]

Preparing for Computing’s Big One-Oh-Oh

However you slice the pie, we’re between two and three decades away from the centenary celebration for applied computing (which is of course significantly after theoretical or hypothetical advances made by the likes of Lovelace, Turing and others). You might count the anniversary of Colossus in 2043, the ENIAC in 2046, or maybe something earlier […]

The code you wrote six months ago

We have this trope in programming that you should hate the code you wrote six months ago. This is a figurative way of saying that you should be constantly learning and assimilating new ideas, so that you can look at what you were doing earlier this year and have new ways of doing it. It […]


Barely 4,000 years ago, documents were written on heavy, clay tablets. The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest known works of fiction, was written on 11 such tablets with a 12th added later. There was only one thing you could do with these tablets: read. Fast forward to the 21-st century and things are […]

APPropriate Behaviour is complete!

APPropriate Behaviour, the book on things programmers do that aren’t programming, is now complete! The final chapter – a philosophy of software making – has been added, concluding the book. Just because it’s complete, doesn’t mean it’s finished: as my understanding of what we do develops I’ll probably want to correct things, or add new […]