As developers, we have lots of tools for finding out how code works in detail, and rooting out problems. Debuggers, profilers, Wireshark, and their ilk are great for finding and fixing bugs, and also for building knowledge about how software works.

But how do we build understanding and troubleshoot the behavior of software from a higher level? Software design is just as important as implementation detail, if not more so. Want proof? Check out the Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses, and note this key observation:

The biggest movement up the list involves four weaknesses that are related to Authentication…

In September of 1995, I was a newly minted developer. I had some formal education in computer science and a master’s degree in engineering, but no CS degree. Fortunately, I was surrounded by some very skilled colleagues. It was a positive and encouraging environment and since I was quickly able to make myself useful, I got a lot of mentoring. Over the next 12 months my experience grew to the point where I felt comfortable and confident programming professionally in C++.

As I gained expertise with the techniques and tools of programming, my focus started to change. The work became…

I’m a 48 year old developer and entrepreneur. I’ve developed professionally in C++, Java, Python, C#, Ruby, Go, and JavaScript. My current startup and my previous one were both built on Rails. Here’s why.

As an entrepreneur, my definition of “speed” is “the amount of time and money it takes to reach an objective”. Code execution speed sometimes matters, because I want happy users. But once the app is fast enough, being faster doesn’t help much. Fast means “fast enough to get the job done”.

At AppLand, I work every day with companies both large and small who want to build and ship code more efficiently. We do that by helping developers onboard to new code faster, debug more efficiently, and avoid shipping with architecture flaws.

Developing efficiently gets harder as code bases grow larger. On small code bases, concepts like modularity, boundaries, internal APIs, and clear areas of responsibility can seem like abstract or academic concerns. Compared to the immediate challenge of fixing the bug or finishing the feature for this week’s sprint, concerns about architectural cleanliness can feel unimportant.

So, it’s been interesting…

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