why the big pause?

I feel as if I’ve been away from here for quite some time! I’m back now, although I won’t be posting quite as often as I used to. I’ll be covering the same general software development topics as previously, but I hope with more emphasis on my working practice – particularly “what works for me” and “things I’d like your help with”. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your comments.


Yet again I’ve given this blog a facelift – I hope you like it!

The main substantive change is that I’ve moved away from Movable Type’s category system. Instead, I’ve tagged each post, and I’m using del.icio.us to organise those tags. So clicking on a tag link will take you to a del.icio.us page that lists all of the other posts in this blog that I’ve tagged with the same keyword. It saves me a lot of rebuild time, and it makes it easy for you to find related pages elsewhere in the web. Etc. Call it delegation.

looking back a year

Today being the first of the month, I decided to take a look back at what I was blogging about last February:

A couple of the posts (notably keep the task board visible at all times) seem to have acquired a life of their own in the intervening months. But the post that stands out from this future vantage point is what is “quality”?. Since I wrote that piece I’ve discovered Tom Gilb’s work and studied it in depth. He’s built an entire agile method around the concept of testable qualities – one that I would love to try, even on a toy project. I am beguiled by the notion that requirements and user stories are solutions to quality problems. Nice to see that my thinking is consistent across a period as long as a year!

And how I managed to post on the last day of that particular month is beyond me…

the blog as a backup brain

In the podcast Blogs as Personal Knowledge Management Bill Ives gives a very brief (6 minutes) overview of one very specific use of a blog: as a “backup brain”. The idea resonates for me, because that’s why I began this blog. I had found that when I’m in conversation, I often don’t know what I think until I hear myself say it. And more often my ideas come out in reverse order, which must make it hard for everyone else to keep up! So I began blogging as a way to try getting my thoughts in order, and hopefully to increase my general coherence in public. Not sure I succeeded…

(Link via Jack Vinson.)

2005 silk and spinach top ten

According to my stats, the ten most-viewed posts in this blog from last year are quite surprising (to me at least):

  1. the product owner must pull (revisited)
  2. who owns me?
  3. introducing: gavin hope
  4. primitive feature envy
  5. tickling email in outlook
  6. databases as life-support for domain objects
  7. exceptions considered harmful
  8. pseudo-OO
  9. managing expectations
  10. time-boxes focus the mind

Whereas the top three of all time are still those three from July 2004:

  1. avoid boolean parameters
  2. hexagonal soup
  3. refactoring is hard

this blog is moving

Next week my ISP is forcing me off this server, because they say they now have a better one. That means three things. First, I’m yet again pissed off by the service I’m getting from these guys. Second, this blog may be away for a couple of days while I make the necessary transfer and changes. And third:

If you have a web page that links here via the cgi.bramwell.plus.com/krblog URL, please switch it to use https://silkandspinach.net/ instead. Similarly, switch your feed aggregator to point to http://feeds.feedburner.com/SilkAndSpinach, because the old feed addresses will be switched off on Wednesday. (Email me via silk.spinach at gmail dot com if you find anything that doesn’t work.)

Sorry for any inconvenience.