For the April meetup of the Jersey City JUG, Cat Swetel and Heidi Mitre presented Continuous Verification: Beyond Chaos Engineering.

About the presentation:

As technologists, our work is increasingly situated in highly complex socio-technical ecosystems. As much as we are encouraged to retrospectively seek a distinct and absolute root cause for an incident or outage, these complex systems are much more likely to drift into failure rather than suddenly taking one catastrophic wrong turn. What if you and your colleagues could be sensitized to the drifting safety boundaries of your systems? How would that inform the work you do? Join this session to explore these ideas through an introduction — with Java-oriented examples — to the important new discipline of continuous verification.


Legacy Open Source Fridays

I’ve just kicked off a new offering at PubMob. Every week, we’re mending some famous old code that inspired a generation of programmers — and still provides the foundation of many production systems.

”If you work with legacy code, don’t miss this! Or if you work with code of any sort, you’re likely to learn something useful.”
Esther Derby

Upon the conclusion of our first Legacy Open Source Friday, three participants immediately registered for every available session in the booking system. (I’ll have to enter more sessions.) One of them told me:

”You have a good vision and confidence in the project. That energy is contagious. Everyone felt the excitement.”
— a participant

Contribute to Open Source with an experienced, kind, inclusive, and slightly silly guide. Take pride in your efforts and how they multiply over time. Gain new insights into your own legacy code. Have lots of fun doing it.

”A great opportunity to learn technical excellence with one of the best out there. At the lower rate, it’s a no-brainer.”
Ryan Ripley

See for yourself what the excitement is all about. One of these Fridays, join us.

Posted Wed Apr 7 04:54:22 2021 Tags:

On Friday, March 19, at the invitation of, I gave a public talk about joy and humanity in software development. The talk was primarily concerned with the effects of software craft on our emotional states and working relationships. Along the way, I touched on Theory of Constraints, stable and unstable equilibria in work environments, a significant and deliberate omission from Scrum, my take on “legacy code”, applied empathy (never mentioned explicitly, merely woven in), and what agility looks and feels like when you’ve got it.

The talk’s title is admittedly a bit opaque. Inside-Out TDD is the style of Test-Driven Development I usually prefer: we incrementally design objects and their interactions starting with the small and moving toward the large. By extension, I’m calling the style of incrementally redesigning ourselves and our work interactions by starting in the small and expanding outward “Inside-Out TDD-Driven Development” — where “development” this time refers not only to code, but also to people and systems. I usually prefer this style of development, too. The talk (35 minutes, followed by Q&A) attempts to set out my reasoning.

For AO, this kicked off a new series in which they’re hosting well-known tech speakers, free and open to the public. I hope I’ve gotten them off on the right foot.

New on PubMob: Legacy Open Source Fridays

Got limited time, energy, and budget for skill development? PubMob knows how it is. And my latest offering is at a new, even lower price point.

”If you work with legacy code, don’t miss this! Or if you work with code of any sort, you’re likely to learn something useful.”
Esther Derby

Every Friday in April, I’ll be facilitating improvements to a historically significant Open Source legacy-code project. Two sessions each Friday, designed to accommodate a variety of timezones.

”A great opportunity to learn technical excellence with one of the best out there. At the lower rate, it’s a no-brainer.”
Ryan Ripley

Contribute to Open Source with an experienced guide. Enjoy the cumulative effect of your efforts. Gain new insights into your own legacy code. More details here.

Posted Fri Mar 19 04:14:16 2021 Tags:

For the March meetup of the Jersey City JUG, Angie Jones presented Modern Java: Beyond Version 8.

As a software development coach, I work with clients no matter what their code is written in. When they’re using Java, it’s rarely a recent JDK. And with the advent of OpenJDK, the JDK situation itself has gotten a bit harder to follow.

Angie’s talk filled us in on some of the major new goodies since Java 8. You might come away motivated to keep up with the latest and take full advantage in your code.


Posted Wed Mar 10 05:36:51 2021 Tags:

For the February meetup of the Jersey City JUG, Dave Nicolette presented Java on the Mainframe.

Most of us have written Java code. Some of us have written code that integrates with mainframes. Few of us have programmed mainframes. Dave, an experienced programmer and agile coach, has. He gave us a basic understanding of the platform, what’s similar and what’s different from environments we’re familiar with, and some examples of what mainframe code looks like — plus a view into Cobol Check, an open-source testing framework he’s developing for Cobol applications. Watch the session.

Posted Wed Feb 17 06:30:32 2021 Tags:

On February 8, I facilitated Strangle Your Legacy Code at OOP Konferenz. The abstract:

Given an ancient codebase that makes refactoring risky and expensive, how do you clear a path to continued delivery? The old wisdom says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time to preserve your software investment is today: plant a Strangler Fig, a pattern for reaping continuous value from your existing system while growing new functionality alongside it.

We’ll test-drive new features into a real legacy system. You’ll leave with a powerful strategy for extending the useful life of working, valuable software.

The conference Zoom session didn’t let me give keyboard control, so I was the permanent Driver (and, as is common with this exercise, also frequently the Navigator). Even so, the participants quickly saw the costs and risks of our particular Strangler Fig implementation, leading to a lively discussion about how this pattern might fit into other codebases and what to watch out for when implementing it.

A wise three-year-old recently told me, “Sometimes it bes like that; sometimes it’s similar.” When we were making plans to move to Germany, OOP was one of the conferences I’d been most excited about being able to attend. Attending online was probably similar. OOP remains high on my list for when we can once again confer in person.

Posted Mon Feb 8 12:30:00 2021 Tags: