Strategic Developer - News, Features, and Slideshows


  • Understanding email's special power

    Let's try a thought experiment. Suppose that some malign force knocked all the internet mail servers permanently offline, but left everything else intact. How would we cope?

  • More pleasant surprises, please

    Travelling on vacation this week, I was pleasantly surprised a few times by technology. On its first jaunt far from home, my new cellphone made my watch obsolete by sensing time zones and automatically adapting.

  • Acrobat challenges InfoPath

    I’m not a printer-oriented kind of guy. I own printers, of course, but can go weeks without using them. For more than 20 years I’ve been creating information flows that rarely, and increasingly never, get rendered onto 8.5 x 11in pages.

  • The services fabric

    In 1998 Graham Glass was CTO of ObjectSpace, a Dallas-based vendor of a popular ORB (object request broker) known as Voyager.

  • Core and periphery

    Software systems are among the most complex of the artifacts that our species creates. In the design, use, and evolution of such systems, a dynamic tension exists between what I have come to call the core and the periphery.

  • Listening to my server

    The first server I connected to the internet sat on the floor of my office, close enough so I could hear -- and feel -- its response to heavy load. It seems weird to admit that I relied on those sensory cues, but I've talked to enough system administrators to know I'm not alone. The sounds of a working machine enable the pattern recognition engine in your brain to create a baseline -- and to detect deviations from it -- in ways that are effortless, automatic and incredibly efficient.

  • Steering open source

    The technology executive at a leading software vendor recently told me that he spends a lot of time wondering how open source projects can possibly work. “You take out the internal combustion engine, yet somehow the car still runs,” he said.

  • Winning the browser peace

    The notion of a "browser war" sounds so last-century. It's over, Microsoft won, we've moved on to bigger and better things -- like service-oriented architectures.

  • Patterns of persistence

    Programmers spend time and effort translating between objects represented in high-level programming languages, such as Java, and structures stored in relational databases.

  • APIs, protocols, and rogue plumbers

    My local bank is switching from one online bill-payment system to another. I'm looking forward to the new system, which will be an improvement on the current one, but I wasn't expecting this:

  • Enterprise buses and dirt roads

    The emerging focus on service-oriented architecture (SOA) is creating a fleet of buses. I'm hearing names such as enterprise service bus, universal web services information bus, enterprise information bus and message bus.

  • Open and global

    I've begun exploring a set of interrelated themes that Andy Singleton has identified under the rubric of "IT deflation": a global pool of talent, a surplus of software components (often freely available), and the research and communication skills necessary to translate these resources into IT successes.

  • Developers are better when multilingual

    Scripting languages such as Perl and Python are more productive than conventional languages such as Java and C# — except when they aren't. Likewise, Java and C# are more robust than their scripting cousins — except when they aren't.

  • Keep an eye on Mono

    In July 2001 I attended a historic session on .Net at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in San Diego. David Stutz, who recently and spectacularly left Microsoft, spoke first.