What if the Architect is Wrong?

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You most probably know what I think about the architect role on a software project—it’s that of a dictator who makes all technical decisions and who bears the entire responsibility for the final result. I wrote about it and even gave a task Who is a Software Architect? at BuildStuff in 2016. However, the obvious question you may ask is: What happens if the architect is wrong? Does it mean the entire project is at risk of failure? And isn’t it better to make the whole team responsible for the result, instead of having one single point of failure?

Hazardous Enthusiasm

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On a daily basis I deal with many programmers who contribute to my open source projects, either as volunteers or for money via Zerocracy (and my software projects are all open source). Over the years I have realized that there is a pattern in their behavior, which I need to be scared aware of. I call it “hazardous enthusiasm.” Here are the symptoms.

Speaker Cheat Sheet

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I speak at software conferences regularly. Over the last three years I spoke in 30 cities and 10 countries. I recorded almost all of them, you can see them here and on my YouTube channel. My principal rule is that I never give the same speech more than once. Every time it’s a new deck of slides and a new flow of thoughts. Of course, they all dance around the ideas I preach about, like Elegant Objects or rebellion against office slavery. I guess it’s time to share some of my secrets, mostly learned the hard way.

Why I Don't Want to Live in Silicon Valley

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Silicon Valley is a great place to be … or maybe not. I’ve spent five years there, from 2011 till 2016. I did enjoy some parts of it, but others were not enjoyable at all. Here is a quick summary of what’s wrong with this territory. I can’t speak about the rest of the United States since, even though I’ve seen some other places, I’ve never lived there for more than a month. Long story short, the territory between San Francisco and San Jose, also known as Silicon Valley, is not the thing you see in the famous TV Series. It is absolutely different…

Unit Testing Anti-Patterns, Full List

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I wrote some time ago about anti-patterns in OOP. Now it’s time to write about unit testing anti-patterns—because they also exist, and there are many. I will try to include every example I know in this list. If you know any others, please add them via a pull request or post a comment below. For each anti-pattern I will try to mention where it was found, if it’s not mine. Keep in mind that if I found it somewhere, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was invented there. If you spot an error, please comment.

You Can Do Better

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OK, it’s time to publish this piece. I’ve been dancing around it for quite a while, telling you how to make more per hour, how to manage those stupid managers that don’t let you grow, how to boost your career and how to deal with office slavery. Now here is a simple, plain list of recommendations for you: what you should do if you want to be a more successful programmer. Not a better algorithm designer, even though that’s important. Not a funnier clown team player, even though that’s also important. But a more successful software engineer, both financially and socially.

Tech Journalism Sucks

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This July, just four months ago, I submitted an article to InfoQ, a popular online tech magazine. In the article I suggested that in order to improve our projects we must not make programmers worry about the quality of code they write, but instead let them focus mostly on the speed of delivery. The quality, I argued in the article, must be the concern of the delivery pipeline. You have most probably already read the blog posts where I mention this idea, especially this one: Don’t Aim for Quality, Aim for Speed.

Beware of Bigotry

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Bobby Fischer, the eleventh World Chess Champion, was one of the best chess players of the last century. Did you know that, along with anti-Semitic statements, he also said that women chess players “aren’t creative and are all fish”? Did you also know that he publicly described the 9/11 events as “wonderful news”?

Do You Test Ruby Code for Thread Safety?

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Are you a Ruby developer? If you are, I’m pretty sure you have a very vague idea of what concurrency and thread safety are. No offense, but this is what I’ve figured out after dealing with Ruby code and speaking with Ruby programmers over the last half a year. I’ve been writing in Ruby pretty actively recently and I do like the language and the ecosystem around it. Zold, the experimental cryptocurrency we are creating, is written almost entirely in Ruby. What does that tell you? I like Ruby. But when it comes to concurrency, there are blank spots. Big time.

Mailanes.com Helps Manage Newsletters and Mailing Lists

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There are other products doing something similar, including MailChimp, AWeber, and many others. They are great. Maybe. I don’t really know. I tried some of them, some time ago. And I was frustrated. They are expensive, clumsy, and heavy. That’s my experience. I wanted something lightweight, where I can upload a list of emails, create a simple HTML/text letter, configure my SMTP outbound server, and call it a day. I spent a few days and created Mailanes. It’s free (for all of you), it’s simple, and it’s open source.

Don't Make Me Guess

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It’s Sunday. I’m at home, drinking tea and writing a new document for one of our future investors. One of my contacts in Telegram all of a sudden shoots me a message. I haven’t talked to this guy for at least two months. He is a software developer. I know him because he works at Zerocracy. His name is Paul.

You Think You Can Control Us?

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I was explaining how Zerocracy works to one of our prospective clients yesterday. He texted me today: “[At Zerocracy] there is no commitment and anybody is free to leave any time, so the risk of entrusting a highly important project to such a platform and failing to deliver it on time is very high. We will develop it on our own with hired developers who will have salaries, and I’ll be architect and project manager, that way it will be under our entire control.” I think this word “control” he used deserves a comment.

Fear of Decoupling

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Objects talk to each other via their methods. In mainstream programming languages, like Java or C#, an object may have a unique set of methods together with some methods it is forced to have because it implements certain types, also known as interfaces. My experience of speaking with many programmers tells me that most of us are pretty scared of objects that implement too many interface methods. We don’t want to deal with them since they are polymorphic and, because of that, unreliable. It’s a fair fear. Let’s try to analyze where it comes from.

Code Must Be Clean. And Clear.

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There is a famous book by Robert Martin called Clean Code. The title is an obvious call to all of us: the code must be clean. Clean, like a kitchen, I suppose—there are no dirty dishes, no garbage on the floor, no smelly towels. Dirt to be cleaned in a code base, according to Martin, includes large methods, non-descriptive variable names, tight coupling, lack of SOLID and SRP compliance, and many other things. Read the book, it’s worth it. However, there is yet another aspect of source code. How clear is it?

Monolithic Repos Are Evil

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We all keep our code in Git version control repositories. The question is whether we should create a new repository for each new module or try to keep as much as possible in a single so called “monolithic” repo. Market leaders, like Facebook and Google, advocate the second approach. I believe they are wrong.

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