Looking for Agile Software Developer in Central NJ

Are you a software craftsman? Do you value growing your skills as you simultaneously learn from and teach the other members of your team? Want to help us build the world’s best cross-platform mobile solutions for field service workers?

The folks that fix your A/C when it’s 100 degrees and keep your toilet from backing up into your living room deserve the best software technology can provide, and we need your help. We are looking for a key addition to our Agile/Scrum/XP team that is building a highly scalable, event-driven, mobile-enabled platform. This person will be test-driven and team-focused. He or she will be a mentor to team members new to TDD and some of the other XP practices.

Must haves:

  • At least two years of test-driven development experience with the .NET platform (C#) on a collaborative team (Scrum, CI, TDD/BDD, Paired-Programming, Collective Code Ownership, Refactoring, Iterative & Incremental Development)
  • Strong foundation in Object-Oriented Design and Programming (Design Patterns, SOLID principles, etc.)
  • Strong desire to learn and teach others

Highly valued:

  • Domain-Driven Design experience
    SOA and/or SaaS experience (especially with NServiceBus or any ESB)
  • Entity Framework Code-first or other ORM experience (especially with RavenDB, MongoDB, or other document databases)
  • Significant JavaScript experience (especially with Sencha Touch, CoffeeScript, or any JavaScript TDD/BDD framework)
  • Mobility experience (iOS, Android, or Web)

Voted as one of the Top 30 Places to Work in NJ, Marathon develops supports and sells SaaS software and marketing solutions to the SMBs in pest control, landscaping, HVAC and other service verticals. Comprehensive benefits package including vacation, insurance, and company sponsored profit sharing plan. Contact me at efarr@marathondata.com or @efarr.

Lunch with Uncle Bob


Ever since I stumbled across the original C++ Report articles that have become known as the SOLID principles, I have been a disciple of Robert Martin (aka Uncle Bob). He is a leader within the agile and software craftsmanship movements. He has as good a sense of what makes good software as anyone currently writing and teaching. If he thinks it’s worth writing, then it’s worth reading.

I’m not usually a fan of video for learning. I like the random access referenceability of books and I like the on-the-go accessibility of audio recordings. I find video to be the worst of both worlds: I cannot flip to the a particular page or go at my own pace, nor can I consume it while driving or mowing the lawn. Further, there are so many good conference videos available for free that I find it difficult to justify paying for video content.

clean_codeHowever, when Uncle Bob began releasing the Clean Code video series, I thought I’d at least check them out. I found them to be so good, that I’m now having my development team watch them together over lunch hours. Uncle Bob does a great job teaching (and preaching) the techniques that lead to clean, maintainable software. As we watch the sessions together, we are creating a common baseline of understanding that we can all refer to as we work together.

I highly recommend them for any software development team that is looking to get better (and if your team is not working to get better, it is on it’s way to obsolescence).  If you have trouble justifying the cost ($12 per viewer per video) to management, have them take a look at this excellent explanation of the value of software craftsmanship and professionalism.

SOLID: What is Old is New Again


Sometime around 2001, I came across a series of articles by Robert C. Martin. At that time they were already a little old—from The C++ Report in 1996. I didn’t really care. This guy (who I now know as everyone else does as “Uncle Bob”) had captured and expressed core principles that I knew from experience were the key to creating maintainable software. I mostly knew it mostly from having violated them and paying the price.

The principles put forth in those articles express fundamentals truths that are in play in any Object-Oriented software project.

In the fifth article in the series, Martin sums up the first four…

1. The Open Closed Principle. (OPC) January, 1996. This article discussed the notion that a software module that is designed to be reusable, maintainable and robust must be extensible without requiring change. Such modules can be created in C++ by using abstract classes. The algorithms embedded in those classes make use of pure virtual functions and can therefore be extended by deriving concrete classes that implement those pure virtual function in different ways. The net result is a set of functions written in abstract classes that can be reused in different detailed contexts and are not affected by changes to those contexts.

2. The Liskov Substitution Principle. (LSP) March, 1996. Sometimes known as “Design by Contract”. This principle describes a system of constraints for the use of public inheritance in C++. The principle says that any function which uses a base class must not be confused when a derived class is substituted for the base class. This article showed how difficult this principle is to conform to, and described some of the subtle traps that the software designer can get into that affect reusability and maintainability.

3. The Dependency Inversion Principle. (DIP) May, 1996. This principle describes the overall structure of a well designed object-oriented application. The principle states that the modules that implement high level policy should not depend upon the modules that implement low level details. Rather both high level policy and low level details should depend upon abstractions. When this principle is adhered to, both the high level policy modules, and the low level detail modules will be reusable and maintainable.

4. The Interface Segregation Principle. (ISP) Aug, 1996. This principle deals with the disadvantages of “fat” interfaces. Classes that have “fat” interfaces are classes whose interfaces are not cohesive. In other words, the interfaces of the class can be broken up into groups of member functions. Each group serves a different set of clients. Thus some clients use one group of member functions, and other clients use the other groups.

The ISP acknowledges that there are objects that require non-cohesive interfaces; however it suggests that clients should not know about them as a single class. Instead, clients should know about abstract base classes that have cohesive interfaces; and which are multiply inherited into the concrete class that describes the non-cohesive object.

Martin later published The Single Responsibility Principle, which says that there should never be more than one reason for a class to change.

There were several aspects of these short articles that helped me so much…

  • The articles were short but clear.
  • The articles were available on-line for anyone to download and read.
  • Martin gave these principles names.

All of these aspects made these principles easy to promote—and I did! I preached all of these principles, whether in C++ or later C#. So, I am particularly pleased to see the recent resurgence in these principles as the ALT.NET crowd has arranged them into a nice acronym (SOLID) and made back-to-basics cool again. We see the SOLID principles all over blogs and articles in the agile community. It reaffirms my belief that the fundamentals may go in and out of style, but they are always what matters most in good software development.