Software and web developer, husband, father, cat wrangler, writer, runner, coffee drinker, retro video games player. Pizza solves most things.

Late night thoughts about the stories our shared words weave

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It’s a strange thing, this mighty “internet of words”

I can sit in a darkened room in the early hours, tapping away on a small slab of silicon and plastic, emptying my thoughts into it’s keyboard. In the blink of an eye my words, thoughts, views and ideas will be transmitted throughout the world.

Machines will read the words and store them for tomorrow, for next year, and for countless decades to come.

Long after I am gone, future generations might look back on the traces I leave and piece together the parts of my jigsaw; who I was, the…

Exploring the origins, evolution, and fragmentation of the meaning of agile software development.

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Let’s call everything Agile

Over the last twenty years I have worked on numerous software development projects that managers have labelled “agile” in some way. I think perhaps Scott Adams most accurately described the situation when his “Pointy Haired Boss” proclaimed:

“We’re going to try something called ‘Agile Programming’. That means no more planning and no more documentation. Just start writing code and complaining.”

Here’s the thing — project managers like to plan, and they like documentation. They might not read the documentation, but plans give them an opportunity to play with Gantt charts, and documentation is often billable. Hell — I can’t imagine…

An introduction to the people that invented the world we take so much for granted, and where to find out more about them.

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Throughout the years I have worked with computers, I have been fascinated by the human story behind the technological breakthroughs — the people that changed the world. I have brought a few of the more prominent names together below, introducing their influence on the world we now take so much for granted.

J. C. R. Licklider

In October 1962, J.C.R. Licklider was appointed head of the “Information Processing Techniques Office” (IPTO) at ARPA — the “United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency”.

In 1963, he sent a memo to his colleagues outlining the early challenges presented in establishing a time-sharing network of…

The one where I stop drinking coffee, and brace for a self inflicted mental and physical rebellion.

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An unhealthy relationship

I think it’s fair to say my relationship with caffeine has become somewhat unhealthy. After working as a software and web developer for decades, coffee became as much a part of the day as getting dressed on a morning. I get up, have a shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, and then put the kettle on for the first coffee of the day.

I began to suspect I might have a problem some time ago — when mentioning to friends that I often drink coffee late at night. Apparently, this should prevent me from sleeping. I can quite confidently recount…

How and why open source software development continues to change the world for the better

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What is open source software?

Before launching into the various benefits of open source software, it’s perhaps worth defining what open source software actually is.

A visit to reveals the following:

“Open source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance”

Perhaps the most well known open source software development project is GNU Linux — closely followed by the various projects that make the Internet and World Wide Web possible.

Linux grew out of the commercialisation of Unix, built by a community of developers that valued transparency, cooperation, and sharing over commercial rights, licensing, and secrecy. Essays such as…

Sharing thoughts about the company I work for, my typical working day, the challenges I face, and what I get up to away from work.

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Hi, I’m Jonathan.

For the last twenty years I have worked as a technical consultant, solution architect and software developer for a systems integrator in the UK called Deltascheme.

A little while ago I was asked if I might write a few words for the company website, titled “15 minutes with” — responding to a number of open questions, and introducing myself to those that might not know me — allowing a little more insight into the person they might be working with on future projects.


What is the first thing you do when you start work?

Mornings in our house are quite manic. I have three daughters — two…

Everything and everyone has a past, a present, and a future. This collection of books explores the nature of that journey.

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I have always been more interested in stories than ideas. I would much rather read about how or why something came to be, than be told how it is. Everything and everyone has a past, a present, and a future. This collection of books explores the nature of that journey.

Contemplating a rejection of manufactured blog posts, and a return to story telling.

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I’m going to start a movement on the internet. It’s not going to be anything big, grand, or visionary. It’s going to be about not doing things — not trying too hard, not trying to fit in, not conforming, not doing what people say.

It’s going to be called “Unblogging”.

I’m fed up of all the SEO experts, the “professional” bloggers, and the niche nutcases. I want to get back to people writing about their daily life, and just emptying their head. Honesty, bravery, brevity, and candid thoughts. …

Reflections on starting projects with super-computers, and slowly turning them into heavy, slow, lethargic elephants

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While working on a software development project some time ago, I was consumed by a stack of different products and technologies — among them a collection of Windows server installations, the .NET framework, SharePoint, SQL Server, IIS, C#, WebParts, JavaScript, and a lot of either compiled or interpreted source code. While drawing nearer to a “working solution”, I began to notice the performance of the colossus we had been working on — or rather the lack of performance.

When LAMP ruled the world

It brought to mind my experiences working on open source web projects perhaps twenty years ago with PHP and MySQL — the…

Lessons learned and shared wisdom from a career software developer

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I have been a software developer for over 25 years. During that time I have worked on all manner of projects, on all sorts of platforms, with clients big and small. I have worked alone, within teams, and even been parachuted in to mentor third party teams.

I thought it might be useful to share some of the lessons I have learned along the way — to help give new developers a little direction, and to avoid some of the most common pitfalls.

Understand requirements

Most software is written in response to a real-world requirement. It’s easy to read proposed requirements and…

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