Start With the Most Difficult Part
There’s not a lot you can change in the process of constructing a building. You must lay the foundation before you erect the upper floors, and you can’t paint without having the walls in place. In software, we’re blessed with more freedom.
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The Information Train
The Information Train is a scientific
experiment that I presented at the
Wizards of Science 2009 contest over the past weekend.
The entry demonstrates how computers communicate with each other by
setting up a network in which a model train transfers a picture's pixels
from one computer to the other.
You can find
a video of the experiment
on YouTube, and, if you're interested, you can also download
the corresponding software and schematics from
this web page.
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Visualizing Revision Logs with a UML Sequence Diagram
How can you visualize the developers' contributions in a collaborative
One way involves drawing timelines adorned with marks indicating
each developer's contribution.
This is a simple UML sequence diagram,
a diagram that allows you to see the interactions of objects,
but in this case the objects are the actual developers and the
interactions are their contributions.
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What are the ingredients of robust, elegant, flexible, and maintainable software architecture?
Over the past couple of years, my colleague
and I worked
on answering this question through a collection of intriguing essays
from more than a dozen of today's leading software designers and architects.
Continue reading "Beautiful Architecture"
The World's Smallest Domain-Specific Language
Domain-specific languages, also known as little languages, allow us
to express knowledge in a form close to the problem at hand.
In contrast to general-purpose languages, like Java or C++,
they are specialized for a narrow domain.
Earlier today I wanted to initialize a rectangular array of Boolean
values to represent the stick figure of a human.
For that I devised a tiny domain-specific language (DSL) consisting of
two symbols (representing an on and an off pixel) and wrote its
commensurably simple interpreter.
Continue reading "The World's Smallest Domain-Specific Language"