Working with Text at the Command Line – Tools for Searching & Editing

I spend more time working with text than anything else. The multi-monitor, high-resolution graphics revolution hasn’t brought me graphics, just dozens of windows full of text. If you’re a software developer, chances are you are swimming in text too. Source code, documentation, configuration files, templates, logs–they are all searchable text. For special purpose tasks, like […]

Minimum Viable Product: Pick Any Two

As the minimum viable product idea becomes mainstream, I’m starting to hear “MVP” used to justify any minimal effort. It’s great that people want to benefit from being lean and agile, but it’s also absolutely vital that an MVP answers your important questions. There are many kinds of MVPs and most of them are anything […]

More Typing, Less Testing: TDD with Static Types, Part 1

I learned test-driven development from Kent Beck’s book Test-Driven Development By Example. It’s an excellent introduction that whets the appetite for one of my other favorites, Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests by Steve Freeman and Nat Pryce. Both of these books have a blind spot, though: they are completely silent about how modern static […]

Visualizing Garbage Collection Algorithms

Most developers take automatic garbage collection for granted. It’s just another amazing feature provided by our language run-times to make our jobs easier. But if you try to peek inside a modern garbage collector, it’s very difficult to see how they actually work. There are thousands of implementation details that will confuse you unless you […]

Using New Projects to Guide Skill Development

You’ve just joined an interesting new project. Congratulations! Except that everything looks different and nothing works the way you expect. Stay calm and remember that technology doesn’t change as fast as conventional wisdom dictates. Coming up to speed on a new project or technology is a critical skill for any creative professional, but especially for […]