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New Year, New Challenges, and an MVP

Happy New Year to everybody!  2008 is going to be an exciting year for me and my family.  All we’ve got to worry about is a little cross country move.

The biggest change for me professionally is that I’m leaving consulting to lead a new development team for a small ISV in Austin.  I’m basically getting to build a new team and product from scratch to replace their current product line written in COBOL with .Net 3.5.  The technical solution is almost entirely greenfield, and the team and I have complete say in how we’re going to conduct the work in terms of process and practices.  We’re even gonna have a real life tester and customer proxy in the office.  It’s exactly the opportunity that I’ve wanted for quite sometime. 

I don’t know about the rest of you, but it wears on me to have to make so many compromises due to organizational politics or apathy or just general stupidity.  All I really want is to be put in a situation where I have the power and responsibility to make projects succeed.  The only thing keeping me from succeeding in the new year is the limits of my own ability.  I want to work in a shop and team that has the will to be good.  More on this later.


Other stuff

  • Since wrapping up my last consulting engagement I’ve been able to sink some real time into expanding my skillset and catching up on stuff I’ve watched go by.  I’ve spent a lot of time on planning and estimating to get ready to do iteration management in my new position.  I’m trying to incorporate more BDD flavor in my development efforts.  Development wise, my New Year’s resolution is to write more expressive specifications.  I’m finally giving DDD a longer look — but I still think it has a high jargon to usefulness ratio and leads to some overdesign.  The next thing for me is incorporating some Ruby tooling like Rake and ActiveRecord migrations for our new build environment.
  • I’m working on a StructureMap 2.5 release to make it easier to use for newbies and give it more dynamic abilities for advanced users.  Coming back to StructureMap is like an exercise to find out how much I’ve grown as a developer since the last release.
  • Bellware and I are kicking around some ideas to incorporate executable requirements in plain text into StoryTeller like this.
  • I’m going to try to write articles for actual journals.  My first “real” article since the ASPToday days gets published next month.
  • Assuming I get going and finish up the proposal, I am writing a book around the Build your own CAB series on design patterns for building desktop clients.  I’ll be basically blogging the draft here about the same way Ayende is doing with his DSL work. 
  • I received my MVP award for 2008 this morning.  I’ll use it as motivation to write something useful here soon.  I think I’ll be at the MVP summit in April and I’ll definitely be at the ALT.NET event immediately following. 
  • I’m undecided about trying to speak at many conferences next year, but I’m perfectly happy to go anywhere in Texas or close by for events if anybody wants a speaker.
  • I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to AgileATX and other developer communities in Austin.
  • After 9 months of no gym because of my work and family schedule, my goal is to be able to be able to run with kids a decade younger on the basketball court about the time that the bluebonnets start blooming.


Now, back to watching the Cotton Bowl.  Missouri playing in a New Year’s Day bowl game.  I’ve seen everything now.  There’s just something right about Pat Summerall doing the play by play, too bad Keith Jackson is retired for the Rose Bowl.

About Jeremy Miller

Jeremy is the Chief Software Architect at Dovetail Software, the coolest ISV in Austin. Jeremy began his IT career writing "Shadow IT" applications to automate his engineering documentation, then wandered into software development because it looked like more fun. Jeremy is the author of the open source StructureMap tool for Dependency Injection with .Net, StoryTeller for supercharged acceptance testing in .Net, and one of the principal developers behind FubuMVC. Jeremy's thoughts on all things software can be found at The Shade Tree Developer at http://codebetter.com/jeremymiller.
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  • http://www.ChrisCatto.com Catto

    Hey Now Jeremy,
    Congrat on the MVP & good luck this year.

  • Boog

    Mizzou would have been playing on Jan. 7th in the Championship game if they wouldn’t have lost to Oklahoma.

  • Ian Cooper

    Congrats on the new gig, sounds like it will be better suited to you.

  • http://colinjack.blogspot.com/ Colin Jack

    > DDD a longer look — but I still think it has a high jargon to usefulness ratio and leads to some
    > overdesign

    Wash your mouth out :)

  • http://lazycoder.com Scott

    Ah, my mistake. I though that the migrations in DataMapper were external, similar to ActiveRecords migrations. But now I see that they are baked right into the model. Which is cool, but it ties you to their ORM system. How is John Lam coming on IronRuby? :)

  • http://codebetter.com/blogs/jeremy.miller Jeremy D. Miller


    Probably, but I’m looking to save my investment in StoryTeller, and add some crude wizard like intelligence to put the test writing in the hands of non-technical folks as much as possible. The PhraseFixture idea that was published a while back made me think that there might be more life left in Fit tests.

    It’s also an excuse to play with either F# or Ruby for some of the language parsing.

  • http://www.lostechies.com/blogs/joe_ocampo Joe Ocampo

    >Bellware and I are kicking around some ideas to incorporate executable requirements in plain text into >StoryTeller

    Jimmy and I have been discussing do the same thing with the Story runner for nBehave in Boo. Is this about the same lines that you and Scott are going?

  • http://codebetter.com/blogs/jeremy.miller Jeremy D. Miller


    You’ve misunderstood me. I’m planning to use NHibernate for persistence, but I want to use the Migrations piece of Ruby on Rail’s ActiveRecord for database change scripts.

    I agree with you btw.

  • http://lazycoder.com Scott

    Instead of ActiveRecord you may want to look at DataMapper.

    They have some pretty compelling reasons why they are better than ActiveRecord. I’m hoping to play around with it using Merb and see what the differences are.

  • http://codebetter.com/blogs/jeremy.miller Jeremy D. Miller


    No promise, but If I can work it out I’ll try to get up to your ALT.NET event in Calgary

  • http://weblogs.asp.net/bsimser Bil Simser

    Congrats on the MVP award. See you in April!

  • http://www.walkspoiled.com Jim Bonnie

    Congrats on the MVP and it sounds like a great opportunity on your next assignment.
    We will miss you in Stamford, though I am sure no tears on your part :)

    Best of luck and keep on posting to give us newbies those challenges to think and act to codebetter…

  • jeremy

    I’ve written an internal tool built around rake. The various tools used in development (i.e. NUnit) are packaged with it. The developer only has to install VS, Subversion and the gem to get rake tasks like “rake test” and “rake coverage”. It also has the idea of “freezing” a solution to a particular version of the build stack. It’s used by both the developer and the CI server which runs CruiseControl.rb. Lastly, it has a solution generator with defined solution templates to help maintain standard directory and solution structures.

    We’ve been successfully using it on many projects for more than a year now.

    If you’re interested in more detail feel free to shoot me an email at jeremy dot burks at gmail dot com.