These thoughts were originally posted at http://ardentdev.com in 2011. I’ve moved them here in order to repurpose that domain for a software development podcast.

Scott McNealy and Scott Hanselman have both said that open source software is free like a puppy, but a lot of open source software is free like a mature housebroken dog you get from a friendly neighbour. Building software, on the other hand, is like buying a puppy. A really young puppy that’s not housebroken. With its tail held on with tape and wire. …


These thoughts were originally posted at http://ardentdev.com in 2014. I’ve moved them here in order to repurpose that domain for a software development podcast.

I have come to truly appreciate a pause after someone has finished speaking. It (often) means that people are genuinely listening and then taking time to mentally compose a response. The pause is indicative of thoughtful listening. A meeting characterized by people talking over each other or a series of monologues has a lot of content but dubious value if others are busy preparing their own remarks instead of listening.

Of course the pause can also…


These thoughts were originally posted at http://ardentdev.com in 2010. I’ve moved them here in order to repurpose that domain for a software development podcast.

Remember the game Telephone? You whisper something in your neighbour’s ear, he whispers to his neighbour, she whispers to her neighbour, and so on all the way down the line. The last person announces the message she heard and everyone laughs when they discover how mangled the final message is from the original.

An eerily similar phenomenon occurs in software development as requirements flow from domain experts to business analysts to system designers (architects) to developers…


These thoughts were originally posted at http://ardentdev.com in 2010. I’ve moved them here in order to repurpose that domain for a software development podcast.

Think back to some nontrivial piece of code you wrote. Now mentally crumple it up into a ball, douse it with gasoline, and light that sucker on fire. That is what some future coder is going to want to do to your code.

(Take a moment to let it sink in that Future Coder might very well be Future You.)

OK, take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Future Coder can’t hurt you unless your code…


These thoughts were originally posted at http://ardentdev.com in 2010. I’ve moved them here in order to repurpose that domain for a software development podcast.

The term “computer science” is a laughable misnomer. Outside of universities and operating system development, there isn’t a lot of computer science involved in the daily grind of computer programming. There’s some, of course, but not enough that I would call myself a computer scientist. Not by a long shot.

I’ve long thought that Donald Knuth had it right when he titled his books The Art of Computer Programming.

Creating software bears some resemblance to art…


These thoughts were originally posted at http://ardentdev.com in 2010. I’ve moved them here in order to repurpose that domain for a software development podcast.

Last week I got to spend an evening reinstalling my wife’s laptop because she picked up some malware. She received an email from a friend with a link to a YouTube video that prompted her to install a new codec.

Except the codec wasn’t really a codec.

The link wasn’t really to YouTube.

The email wasn’t really from her friend.

Here we are in 2010, 65 years after the advent of “program instructions as data” (von…


These thoughts were originally posted at http://ardentdev.com in 2011. I’ve moved them here in order to repurpose that domain for a software development podcast.

Are you done yet? Such a simple question…

Earlier in my career I worked on a project that went into production with what I would consider a less than optimal set of internal admin tools. We deployed it and handed it over to the client’s internal team where it stayed live but untouched. After a year in prod, I got an email from the client asking how to cancel a subscription. …


These thoughts were originally posted at http://ardentdev.com in 2011. I’ve moved them here in order to repurpose that domain for a software development podcast.

For much of the last decade I have received varying amounts of grief from colleagues for being so invested in Microsoft development technologies. For a professional demographic that prides itself on a mastery of logic, developer attitudes toward Microsoft can be downright bizarre. They are regularly inconsistent and frequently irrational. Developers can be almost religiously pitted against Microsoft technologies with little grounding for their vitriol.

I have always tried to be pragmatic with technology. I have…


Short questions destroy progress.

They are the payday loans of the knowledge transfer economy: small, seemingly expedient transactions that frequently extract disproportionate costs.

If you are a source of domain knowledge or the in-house expert on some technology or the original developer on a code base, you are an easy target for lots of small questions. If you get them all lined up and answered in a single burst, no problem. But if you meet a day full of interruptions for short questions, you are constantly being yanked out of “the zone” to ruinous results.

This is why I think…

Derek Hatchard

Husband; father; independent writer, podcaster (http://ardentdev.com), and software creator. Formerly at Salesforce.

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