Tim Murphy's .NET Software Architecture Blog

February 2008 Entries

Pay Attention To Your Start Page

There are so many things that pass by our gaze, but we just don't pay any attention to them.  I discovered today that the Start Page of Visual Studio is one of those things that I don't notice.  I start my day by picking a project to open, but what is that on the right hand side?

In true 80s speak "Oh my gosh".  Yes those are blog entries.  Ok, so some times I can get so preoccupied that I miss the obvious.  Don't do the same thing.  Check out the blog entries.  Today there were some good ones from Scott Hanselman.

Standing Your Ground - Doing What's Right For The Project

Many times as you go through the phases of a project you may get pressure to do a quick fix just to be able to close a phase.  You may even be told others what the fix to your work should be.  The question is if you are sure it is the right fix. 

Sometimes even though those around you are ready to roll heads some times you have to stop everything, take a step back and research if the solution on the table is right or just fast.  Often the fast solutions end up generating more problems because no one thought about what other parts of the systems could be affected by the decision.  Of course having good unit test can help, but only if the change breaks the code in a way you already have tests for.  Are you sure that you have covered all expected results.

In the end, thinking about the consequences of any changes we make to code or design should be the reason we get paid.  Don't surrender your common sense just because you are being pressured.

The Difference Between Working At The Office Or At Home

Today was yet another snow day in the Chicago Area.  The client sent us home around lunch time.  Since I don't have remote access to the client I had the unusual experience of trying to get work done at home for the client (grab all the files you need and put them on a thumb drive).  I got to thinking about the difference between the office and home and I figured it would be fun to put down a few of these thoughts.


  • Have most things you need at your finger tips
  • Direct access to servers
  • You can walk to peoples desks
  • Can't get any work done because others are stopping at your desk
  • Get to spend quality hours in the car


  • Can work in slippers (frowned on in the work place and if you wear something else I don't want to hear about it)
  • Only the kids bother you
  • Slow connections if you have remote access
  • Tempted to play video games or watch TV (or write blog posts)

This is just a short list.  Now I need to get back to work.  What difference do you find?

Blog Like You Would Write A Book

When you write a book you start with an idea, turn it into an outline, then write a draft which then goes through multiple edit iterations.  This is the same way that I believe you should write blog posts.  There are several reasons for this. 

The first reason is that you want your blog to represent you in a professional manner.  A clean and well organized set of thoughts are the best way to accomplish this.

The second is that as you read and reread your work you will find places that it could use more clarification.  Sometimes you may find that a sentence doesn't say what you meant when you were first typing it.  Filling in holes and making things more understandable helps to get your point across.  Try asking the simple question "why?" as you read (If you are a parent "why dad?").  This will help to find what is missing or could be misunderstood.

The third reason is that as architects we constantly need to refine our communication skills.  Writing blog posts can help you when it comes to writing documents that communicate your ideas better to your audience.  Refining ideas in writing will help in organizing your thoughts for presentations.

Finally, here is a hint to make sure that you write the best post you can.  Use an offline editor such as Windows Live Writer.  If you use an online editor you are more likely to post before doing a thorough edit.  If you can save your work off line you can work on the post over a couple of days if you need to.  I often have several posts in draft state.  Then I just press the publish button when I am satisfied with the content.

Technorati Tags: ,