Udi Dahan   Udi Dahan – The Software Simplist
Enterprise Development Expert & SOA Specialist
 
   
    Blog Consulting Training Articles Speaking About
  

NSBcon London 2014


NSBconSince my last post announcing NSBcon you probably haven’t gone to take a look at what’s happening.

The speaker lineup for NSBcon London 2014 is now complete and we’ve got a really great mix of talks, if I do say so myself.

I’ve already mentioned that Oren and Greg will be there, but I wanted to talk a bit about the rest of the roster:

First up – Wonga

If you’re living in the UK, you almost can’t avoid seeing these ads.

Wonga

What you probably didn’t know is that Wonga has been running on NServiceBus for years now.
(No – we had nothing to do with the ads, and there’s nothing we can do about them.)

Charlie Barker was there from the beginning and has lived to tell the tale:

We faced the problem of scaling our platform to meet rapid growth in customers whilst at the same time increasing the team from 15 to 200 people spread across five countries. We did this by transitioning from N-Tier to SOA even as we were delivering new features and keeping the platform stable. No small feat.

This is an interesting story to hear, not only from the point of view of NServiceBus, and I’d definitely recommend grabbing Charlie over lunch or over a beer. This is probably one of the higher profile startup successes in the UK you’ll find and, as always, the behind the scenes story is just fascinating.

And to the cloud!

No self-respecting technology conference these days can go without spending at least some time talking about the cloud – and we won’t be the ones to buck the trend, even though we have a healthy disrespect for all sorts of things, including the ourselves :-)

You’ll hear from one of the foremost Azure MVPs and all around cloudy Belgian Yves Goeleven (whose last name nobody is really sure how to pronounce). Yves has been the driving force behind getting all the various bits of Azure infrastructure integrated into NServiceBus and, if you get him to just the right level of inebriation, will spill all the dirty little secrets of the Azure platform that Microsoft doesn’t want anyone to know.

Dylan Beattie will then relate his tales of creating loosely-coupled encoding workflows for audio and video on the cloud at Spotlight – one of the world’s leading resources for professional actors, casting directors, and production professionals. It ain’t easy making ordinary people into stars.

And so much more

To see the complete lineup, go to NSBcon.com.

And me – what will I be talking about? That’s a good question.

Not to steal my own thunder (after stealing everybody else’s), but you’ll hear about the deeper integration we’ve got planned for SignalR, making your event-driven architecture extend from the back of your systems all the way to the browser, so much simpler and smoother than you ever thought possible.

I’ll also tell you about how we’re going to enable you to run on queues that don’t support distributed transactions (like Service Bus for Windows Server) without having to worry about making your logic idempotent. For some background, see my blog post on Life without distributed transactions.

In short – it’s going to be a kick-ass conference.

Check it out.

* and for those of you paying out of pocket, contact nsbcon@particular.net for a discount.

Comments [2]
Posted on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014.



#NoEstimates – Really?


estimatesThere has been some discussion online recently about the issue of estimates in software development, specifically under a meme called #NoEstimates.

This came up when I was in London for the DevWeek conference at the speaker dinner with Austin Bingham, Rob Smallshire, and Allen Holub and I wanted to share some of the ideas that came up, as well as some of my personal opinions on the matter.

Context matters

When you’re in an organization that is continuously developing and evolving a product, platform, or suite, your context is quite different than when you’re working on a project either for an external client or an internal one.

In short: product vs. project.

While in both contexts you’ll want frequent releases, the main difference is that a project is meant to achieve a certain state of “done-ness” in a bound period of time. A product is not ever meant to be “done” in that way. A successful product is one that continues to evolve over time, with that success (arguably) resulting in more resources being dedicated to its development.

If we were to zoom out our scope beyond that of the project, we’d probably see certain product-ish qualities at the level of a client’s entire IT environment – no state of “done-ness” and similar consequences of success.

Where estimates are needed

Whether you’re in a product development organization or the CIO of an enterprise, there are a certain number of features/projects (FP) that people in “the business” want done. Let’s assume that each FP has a certain amount of business value that its implementation would result in and that that value is known in advance.

Sidebar: Clearly, the business value of any feature or project can not be known with much certainty in advance of it being implemented. Still, for the purpose of keeping the analysis simple for now, let’s table this issue for a bit.

While you might think it’s reasonable to perform the work on these FPs in order of decreasing value, that is mistaking revenue for profit/return-on-investment (ROI).

In other words, we need to know roughly how much each of them costs to be able to calculate its predicted ROI (value – cost).

Only then can we decide in which order to do the work.

So, we need somebody technical to give an estimate.

High-level estimates

In this context, sometimes it’s enough to provide 3-4 buckets describing the amount of work – I like the approach of using shirt sizes: S, M, L, XL.

This can help the organization decide quickly to charter the development of the FPs with very high value and very low cost. These low hanging fruit are great for getting started, but when you’re done with them, then you have to decide between a bunch of FPs whose predicted ROI are all very close to each other.

Before doing that (!), it’s important that no projects with an XL size are fully chartered as is – no matter what the value.

When a technical person gives an XL estimate, that means “this is so big, I really have no idea how long it’ll take”. The variance can be huge here – in some cases, they might not even be certain if the request is doable without being given some time to do additional research first. And that is exactly why you need to carve out a certain chunk of time and resources for doing that research.

“But you don’t understand, Udi! We need this done ASAP.”

Believe me when I say that that ship has already sailed.

There’s a pretty good chance that before that extra-large FP is half-done, so much time will have gone by that business priorities will have shifted. Unfortunately, by that time so many resources will have been invested in it that nobody will have the guts (or political capital) to pull the plug on it. The best people will start leaving – sometimes to other FPs but, more often, the company as well. Even when these nightmarishly large missions are eventually done – they end up being something of a Pyrrhic victory.

So, what to do?

Well, beyond financing a certain amount of directed and scoped research and development to get a better handle on that beast, let me suggest this:

Enter the “Lean Startup”

If you haven’t heard about it yet, and regardless of whether you’re actually working at a startup (I’d say that it is even more important for large organization), you need to check out the Lean Startup.

While I won’t be able to do justice to it here, let me use this admittedly gross oversimplification:

You are mistaken about the predicted business value.

Really.

So what you need to do is to start applying the scientific method – a series of experiments in which you are looking for proof to validate your hypothesis about the predicted value, where the outcome of one experiment is used to formulate another hypothesis to be tested in the next experiment.

Let me say this differently – until you are as rigorous in evaluating the predicted value of a given initiative as you are in estimating its cost, with that rigor increasing with the size of the initiative, you have no business starting to work on it.

And this is what’s missing from most of the software development world.

Portfolio management

I don’t really care what you call it, but the portfolio of potential investments and the risk analysis around them needs to be handled properly.

Based on the language I’ve chosen, you can see parallels to the world of finance. Now, before your mind starts going to the news of all the shady crap that’s been going on in the world of finance, understand that there are both positive and negative outliers in every domain.

That being said, I won’t point you to books on finance (at least, not for starters).

I suggest reading Manage your project portfolio, by Johanna Rothman (one of my favorite people in the world). She also has a couple of blogs, and that can help you get started.

This has already gotten quite long, so I’ll skip a bit and talk about what you should do if you’re “just” a developer being asked to give an estimate.

How to give a good fine-grained estimate

Here’s the format to use:

This will take a team of N between T1 and T2 and I am P% confident in that range, with the following assumptions (1, 2, 3), and most importantly, that the team does not work on anything else during that period of time.

Let me repeat that important bit again:

Assuming the team does not work on anything else.

Most of the kinds of people who ask for estimates aren’t going to like that kind of answer. You may get some pushback, “don’t be clever – can this be done by the end of the year, or not?”. In other words, they’re asking you for a commitment – not an estimate. This is common with certain types of dysfunctional organizations – the project management people are only measured on adherence to schedule, not on whether the system solves the right problem. You, the developer, want to make sure you’re solving the right problem – you want to be Agile. But that’s not the point.

Let me repeat – Agile is not the point.

If the organization around you is dysfunctional, be smart – don’t try to be right. Solving the right business problem is the right thing to do, but often it’s not smart thing to do. If you don’t like having to deal with this kind of organizational politics, you had better find yourself a different organization – otherwise, you had better be smart.

How to receive good estimates

Assuming you’re a team lead, project manager, product owner, or something similar, here’s how to respond when someone gives you an estimate in the above format.

  1. If P is subjectively high enough and T2 is subjectively low enough, give them the green light.
  2. If P isn’t high enough, or the range of T1 to T2 is too broad:

    1. If you have previously given them time to do research (RT), double the value of RT.
    2. Make sure they are only doing research during this time (no other development).
    3. The purpose of the research is to increase P, or decrease the range of T1-T2
    4. When receiving the new estimate, go back to the beginning.

To be clear, “research” does not mean navel-gazing. It can and often will involve writing a bunch of code as well as on figuring out what the requirements should have been in the first place.

“But Udi, won’t this end up wasting time that could be better used on actually building the system?”

No.

In reality, this will end up paying back all the time that should have been spent up-stream on portfolio management and requirements analysis activities.

Which brings me to…

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Sometimes, writing high-quality working software is the last thing you want to do.
Specifically, the earlier you are in the project, the less likely that you should be focusing on code.

Often, the most cost-effective thing to do is some rapid-prototyping like creating UI mock-ups to verify what the system should really do.

This really deserves a blog post of its own (with thanks to Geert for finding the link), but suffice it to say that this is a skill-set all its own that should exist in every software development organization.

On other word on small startups – I often hear from people who are doing their own startup that want to do DDD, CQRS, SOA, and a bunch of other three-letter-acronyms they picked up on various blogs and books, because this time it’s up to them; this time they’re going to do it right.

No, no, no – stop that. Go read the Lean Startup. Then do it. And if you’re extremely lucky, you will be so successful that in a couple of years you will be in the position to rewrite the system – the only difference is that now you’ll REALLY know what the system is supposed to be.

In closing

OK – so that’s well over 1500 words I’ve spilled on the topic.

While the hashtag #NoEstimates makes a great soundbite, estimates are an important part of the information that needs to flow around the organization to help quantify and mitigate risk. Too often there are various organizational dysfunctions tangled up in the same areas as estimates which, I suppose, could give the impression that the estimates are to blame.

While I wish I could tell you that all you need to do is find an organization that doesn’t have any of these dysfunctions and all will be well for you, unfortunately there aren’t any organizations without them. Just like all families are dysfunctional in one way or another, so too are organizations. This is simply because each of us human beings is somewhat dysfunctional.

Well functioning organizations are made up of highly aware individuals – people who have become able to see and mitigate some of their personal issues, and thus can be patient as the people around them similarly work through their issues. Together, these individuals continuously create and adapt their working processes and systems to compensate for the various dysfunctions in the group.

Under these iteratively growing conditions of mutual trust, various kinds of estimates are performed at different levels and times and are just a normal part of communication and decision-making.

Please, don’t throw out the baby with the bath-water.

Comments [12]
Posted on Saturday, April 19th, 2014.



Announcing the Particular Service Platform


Posted in EDA | ESB | MSMQ | Messaging | NServiceBus | Pub/Sub | SOA

champaignAfter many months of hinting about the coming of the Particular Service Platform, it’s finally here.

For everybody who has been building message-driven systems on .NET – I really do believe that this is the dawn of a new era (and if you know anything at all about me, you know that I don’t tend to exaggerate).

What is it?

Imagine designing your solution by graphically creating endpoints and messages, seeing the routing laid out in front of you visually, being able to specify system wide error and audit queues, having your cross-cutting authentication applied automatically to all endpoints, correlating events together into sagas, pressing F5, and as everything springs to life, on your second monitor you can see the messages flowing through your specific debug session synchronized in real time as you step through your code.

Well, you don’t have to imagine – that’s now a reality.

Top that off with some nice production monitoring that includes heartbeats for all of your endpoints, notification of message processing failures (with the ability to send them back for reprocessing), and some cool extensibility to plug in your own custom checks.

It’s a whole new world of service-oriented development.

This short video will give you a sense of what it’s like:


Here’s some other things you might find interesting.

Testing you can trust

I’ll bet you didn’t know the level of testing that we’re now putting into each release.

Every time we put out a new release, we test it on cloud servers configured across all permutations of transports, containers, persistence technologies, server operating systems, as well as for compatibility with previously released versions 2 years back (!). This way, when you want to have a new system subscribe to events published by a system already in production, you’ll know that it will all “just work” – no matter what.

Running all of these tests in the cloud is something that we could never afford back when we were a regular free/open-source project, but is definitely worth it. We know you count on us for your mission-critical systems and will continue doing our very best to be worthy of that trust.

The roadmap

Now that the platform is out, the next big thing you can expect is the removal of all distributed transactions.

Over the past months (and even years) we’ve been making preparations for this, making all sorts of small backwards compatible changes and enhancements so that we can fully control the inbound and outbound behavior of messages. The investments we’ve been making in automated tests is also in support of this. We want to be absolutely positive that you will get the exact same logical behavior as before without losing any of the transactional guarantees you’ve come to expect from NServiceBus.

We’ll give you updates on this and the other things we’re working on soon, as part of our larger roadmap so that you’ll know roughly what kind of big features you can expect and when. Of course, we always leave some “slack” in our iterations for working on critical patches, enhancements, and refactoring.

In any case, the main idea here is for you to be able to give us feedback and input on what’s important to you and for us to communicate back what we will be able to commit to and when.

Expressing our thanks

It’s been quite a journey this past year – the company has doubled in size and we’ve really got a great group of people here. While we’re constantly looking ahead and seeing all the wonderful things that we want to do, I wanted to take a moment and look back.

It’s been almost two years of work on ServiceMatrix (previously named NSB Studio) – the absolute biggest investment we’ve made. This past year was really the biggest push, and when taken together with all of the other tools – the production monitoring in ServicePulse that so many people have been clamoring for; the under-the-hood visibility of ServiceInsight; and the unseen glue of ServiceControl tying them all together; well, it was a very ambitious year.

I wanted to thank everyone who took part in our betas – your feedback was absolutely invaluable;

To our Community Champs who keep asking us the difficult questions and pushing us to do better;

To all of you in our community who have believed in us;

To the growing ranks of paying customers who voted with their wallets as well as their hearts;

You have my personal thanks as well as those of the entire team.
It continues to be an honor and a privilege.

Go and get it

That’s it – go to www.particular.net and click the big “download now” button and take the new platform for a spin!

I can’t wait to hear what you all think.

Comments [1]
Posted on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014.



Loosely-coupled orchestration recording now online


When I was in London a couple of weeks ago teaching my SOA class, I gave an evening presentation called Loosely-Coupled Orchestration which talked about some of the challenges people face when introducing more event-driven and asynchronous patterns into their systems – for example, dealing with out-of-order message delivery.

I’m happy to say that the recording of that session is now online, courtesy of the good folks at Skills Matter, and you can now view that here.

In this presentation, you’ll also see a lot of the new capabilities that will be coming out soon with the release of our new Particular Service Platform – the suite of tools that makes NServiceBus that much more awesome. From monitoring of production issues, to debugging cross-endpoint message flows, to modeling of message-driven & service-oriented systems, it really takes distributed systems development to the next level.

Check it out!

Oh, I almost forgot, there are still some seats left for my course in New York City. Details here.

Comments [1]
Posted on Monday, April 7th, 2014.



Code for my Programming in 4D talk


Click here for the animationSo, I’ve been a bad presenter.

I’ve given my Programming in 4D talk already several times and I haven’t yet uploaded the code for it.

And seeing as I’m going to be giving it again today (at the DevWeek conference in London), I figured that I should finally get my act together and put it online.

Interestingly enough, the other conferences I’ve spoken at either didn’t record it or didn’t put the recording online. Hopefully DevWeek will do better <FingersCrossed/>.

The overall solution

The scenario I talk about in this presentation is (again) a standard one in the world of retail: customers who want to return products that they’ve purchased and get a refund.

I’ve used our new ServiceMatrix tooling to model the solution like this (click for a larger image):

RefundPolicySolution

If you’d like to download the complete solution, click here.

Now, we’re going to focus on the RefundPolicy object that you can see towards the bottom left.

The Refund Policy

So, in this scenario, what we’re going to implement is a process whereby if you return your products within 30 days of the purchase, you’ll receive a 100% refund; if you return your products within 60 days you’ll receive a 50% refund, and anything longer than that and no refund for you.

Here’s the code:

public class RefundPolicy : Saga<RefundPolicySagaData>, 
                            IAmStartedByMessages<OrderAccepted>, 
                            IHandleMessages<ProductsReturned>, 
                            IHandleTimeouts<Percent>, 
                            IHandleSagaNotFound
{
    public void Handle(OrderAccepted message)
    {
        Data.OrderId = message.OrderId;
        Console.WriteLine("OrderAccepted");
 
        Data.Percent = 100;
 
        RequestTimeout(TimeSpan.FromDays(30), 50.Percent());
        RequestTimeout(TimeSpan.FromDays(60), 0.Percent());
    }
 
    public void Handle(ProductsReturned message)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("ProductsReturned");
 
        Bus.Send<IssueRefund>(m => m.Percent = Data.Percent);
        MarkAsComplete();
    }
 
    public override void ConfigureHowToFindSaga()
    {
        ConfigureMapping<ProductsReturned>(m => m.OrderId).ToSaga(s => s.OrderId);
    }
        
    public void Timeout(Percent state)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Timeout");
        Data.Percent = state;
 
        if (state == 0)
            MarkAsComplete();
    }
 
    public void Handle(object message)
    {
        if (message is ProductsReturned)
            Console.WriteLine("No refund for you");
    }
}
 
public class RefundPolicySagaData : ContainSagaData
{
    [Unique]
    public int OrderId { get; set; }
 
    public Percent Percent { get; set; }
}


And what’s so good about that?

Well, not to steal my own thunder and give you a reason not to watch the video when it comes out, the trick is in the two RequestTimeout calls that are invoked when an OrderAccepted message arrives. You see, what that does is that it takes the data that defines the behavior of the refund policy and persists that via a queue, which will play back the data to our object according to the defined schedule.

This way, if/when the business decides to change the rules (say, reducing the timeframes to 20 days and 40 days), that will only affect users who are placing new purchases. The customers who made a purchase 50 days earlier (when the rules were still 30/60) will get the correct behavior applied to them.

Next steps

Of course, nobody would want a developer to have to open this code and change it in order to make a simple change like 30/60 -> 20/40, so we could externalize the data by creating a dictionary property on the saga where the key is the TimeSpan and the value is the Percent. Then, we could pull those values from either a config file or database and inject them into the property on the saga.

Here’s how the code of the saga would change:

public class RefundPolicy : Saga<RefundPolicySagaData>, 
                            IAmStartedByMessages<OrderAccepted>, 
                            IHandleMessages<ProductsReturned>, 
                            IHandleTimeouts<Percent>, 
                            IHandleSagaNotFound
{
    public Dictionary<TimeSpan, Percent> DataDefinitions { get; set; }
 
    partial void HandleImplementation(OrderAccepted message)
    {
        Data.OrderId = message.OrderId;
        Console.WriteLine("OrderAccepted");
 
        Data.Percent = 100;
 
        foreach(var kv in DataDefinitions)
            RequestTimeout(kv.Key, kv.Value);
    }

And the code to do the property injection would look like this:

public class RefundPolicyDataConfigurator : INeedInitialization
{
    public void Init()
    {
        Dictionary<TimeSpan, Percent> data = null /* get from config instead */;
        Configure.Instance.Configurer
            .ConfigureProperty<RefundPolicy>(p => p.DataDefinitions, data);
    }
}

Classes the implement INeedInitialization are invoked at process startup, and that call to ConfigureProperty instructs the container to set the DataDefinitions property of our RefundPolicy every time it is resolved (which is on every message).

In closing

We now have a solution which allows non-developers to make changes to the refund policy definitions without requiring us to deploy any new code to production. Also, any changes that are made will preserve the promises we made to our users in the past.

Of course, if you want changes to rules to impact all users immediately, this approach wouldn’t be so good.

Again, if you’d like to download the complete solution, the code is here, and if it wasn’t already obvious, this code makes use of NServiceBus quite heavily.

When the recording comes online, I’ll update this post with a link as well as do another blog post.

Hope you like it.

Comments [6]
Posted on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014.



On that Microservices thing


antsSeems that I’m a bit late to the Microservices party – original article here.

But since I’ve been getting repeated requests to weigh in on the topic, I guess I’ll have to risk fanning the flames up again.

Also, since quite a few reactions have already been written on the topic (and I don’t want to repeat them here), I’ll just point to this post by Arnon which sums them all up pretty well.

Now, I don’t entirely agree with all the commentary Arnon pointed to, or all of his thoughts on the topic, but I’ll try to take those up some other time.

And before jumping into it, let me say that there is a lot of good stuff in the article and that, regardless of naming, spreading the word more broadly on these approaches has value.

So, where do I stand on the topic

First of all, for those of you who have been following my blog for a while I’d say this:

Microservices almost equals Autonomous Components.

Why “almost”?

Because an Autonomous Component (AC) isn’t necessarily a physical unit of deployment – very often we’ll see multiple ACs deployed in the same physical process. One of the most common occurrences is in a web front end built as a composite UI. In the same web server process we’ll see components from multiple Services.

This is something that was hardly mentioned in the original article.

On Services and Systems

In my world, Services are a larger organizing principle that are meant to align solution domain boundaries with problem domain boundaries.

Now, that might sound very similar to this passage from the original article:

“The microservice approach to division is different, splitting up into services organized around business capability. Such services take a broad-stack implementation of software for that business area, including user-interface, persistant storage, and any external collaborations. Consequently the teams are cross-functional, including the full range of skills required for the development: user-experience, database, and project management.”

Now, this isn’t entirely surprising because I did have several conversations with both James and Martin on the topic over the past couple of years.

Still, there is something important missing here that I believe is very important to achieve loose-coupling, and that is that Services necessarily have to span system boundaries.

Let me repeat that: a Service will need to have components that are deployed to more than one system.

Here’s why:

Let’s say you have a piece of data like the price of a product. Not only will that data be visible in one system, often it will need to be shown (as well as updated) in other systems too. In order to have appropriate encapsulation of that concept, the owning service will need to be the one that owns the components that operate on that concept in the other systems.

This means that if we need to show the product price on an invoice in a back-end system, then that invoice would have to be a composite UI as well, and the service which owns the price will have a component deployed there which would be responsible for showing the price on the invoice.

In this manner, no code outside the service boundary would know about the concept of the product price and thus could not end up coupled to it.

Although the original article does get into this to some degree (when talking about Decentralized Data Management), I don’t really see how a microservice/AC could end up having this level of ownership of data.

Still, the point made about different persistence technologies is valid at the level of services (though not ACs).

How big is a service

Now, if the price is not shared outside the boundary of the service, then how would order totals be calculated?

The answer is that the totals must (MUST) be calculated in the same service.

This shouldn’t be surprising as it’s just good old OO – encapsulating data with the logic that operates on it. Or, if you’d like, call it the Single Responsibility Principle: there should only be a single service impacted by a change to the definition of this data.

As a result, you’ll tend to see services that aren’t all that small, and probably not so many of them. In my experience, I’ve seen between 7 and 15 services the majority of the time.

Cross-service collaboration

Although I am glad to see the recommendation for event-based interactions between microservices, the focus on cross-process communication ignores some extremely important collaboration scenarios – the most important of which is in the client tier.

In a web application, it is quite common to have components written in javascript from multiple services interacting among themselves in the browser – one publishing events, others subscribing to those JS events. It is also quite common to see those JS components request some data from back-end components in the same service in response to those JS events.

This type of synchronous RPC communication within a service boundary is perfectly acceptable, although it stands in contrast to the recommendations of the microservices approach.

Caveat on sharing data

I’ve been going on and on about the importance of not sharing data, but there is one exception to that rule.

There is a special service that I call IT/Ops which (among other things) is responsible for integration with 3rd party systems. As a part of this integration, it encapsulates data transformation logic and, as a result, needs to be able to receive data from the other more business-centric services.

As you can imagine, this puts IT/Ops in the risky position of coupling itself to a lot of things and thus needs to be done carefully. As a result, I recommend that many of the most skilled technical people work within the IT/Ops team, also serving in a consultative capacity to the other service teams.

In closing

I am extremely thankful to Martin and James for writing the Microservices article.

I think that the conversations it has sparked are timely, and hopefully more people will ponder these questions of how to structure their code-bases in order to avoid them becoming monolithic.

And while I think that it’s great to consider aligning team boundaries with service boundaries, people need to understand that it will need to be an evolutionary process – it will take time to transition an existing code base and an existing team structure to this new model, especially since these teams will have to continue to deliver features and bug fixes through the transition period. Jumping to the new model directly may cause more harm than good.

This is actually one of the most salient topics of my course (next one in NYC in May) – how do you get there from here. In my experience there are 4 phases that companies go through, often taking at least a couple of years, with larger environments taking potentially longer.

In any case, let’s keep the conversation going.

What are your thoughts? Have you been applying the Microservices approach, or possibly the one I talk about (I really should give it a name). What’s been working well for you? What hasn’t?

Leave me a comment or write your own blog post.

Comments [10]
Posted on Monday, March 31st, 2014.



and now the ADSD Unconference!


Posted in Community | Courses | NSBcon | SOA

ADSD unconferenceIn addition to NSBcon, we’re also going to be running the first ADSD conference in London too – the day before, in fact.

Well, it would be more accurate to say the first ADSD UNconference.

For the thousand+ people I’ve trained over the past 7 years who have been applying the principles of the course and want to discuss what’s been working for them, what hasn’t been working, and how new tools and technologies can be applied to achieve loosely-coupled bliss, this is the place for you.

Important: This is unconference is limited to people who have taken the red pill ADSD course.

Join us in London on June 25 – register here.
Or in New York City on October 1 – register here.

We will be meeting the evening before to set the agenda and then go out for drinks and dinner.

What’s ADSD?

That’s the acronym for the Advanced Distributed Systems Design with SOA and DDD course I’ve been teaching for the past 7+ years.

If you want to know about Service-Oriented Architecture (or Microservices as it’s now being called – separate blog post coming on that topic), Domain-Driven Design, Command-Query Responsibility Separation, and how to gradually transition your way there – this is the course for you.

The next one is in London March 24-28 – register here.
The one after that is in NYC May 12-16 – register here.

What’s an “unconference”?

Taken from Wikipedia:

An unconference is a participant-driven meeting. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as high fees, sponsored presentations, and top-down organization.

Typically at an unconference, the agenda is created by the attendees at the beginning of the meeting. Anyone who wants to initiate a discussion on a topic can claim a time and a space. Unconferences typically feature open discussions rather than having a single speaker at the front of the room giving a talk, although any format is permitted.

In closing

I know some people have gotten so much value from the course that they’ve actually attended the course a second time.

Most probably wouldn’t be able to convince their boss.

So it is my hope that this format can serve as a kind of continuation to the course for people in the ADSD community to maintain contact and learn from each other, on top of the online discussion group.

Hope to see you there!

Comments [2]
Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2014.



Announcing NSBcon


NSBconI am most thrilled to announce the first NSBcon!

<Applause/>

It’s been a long time since my first blog post on NServiceBus (about 7 years ago) and the community has come a long way since then.

In any case, this won’t be a “looking back” post but rather one looking forwards.

In addition to myself and the rest of the crew, we’ve got some great speakers coming out including the inimitable Greg Young and the formidable Ayende Rahien (aka Oren Eini).

Register here.

For those of you who can’t make it to London for June 26-27, we’ll be running another NSBcon in The Big Apple (New York City) on September 29-30. Register here

If you’d really like to come but have to pay out of pocket (either because you’re a contractor or your employer just won’t pay), send an email to nsbcon@particular.net and we’ll get you a nice discount, but please hurry as we don’t have many of these tickets left.

Hope to see you there!

Comments [5]
Posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2014.



NYC 2014 – Registration open


Posted in Courses

nycRegistration is now open for my 5-day Advanced Distributed Systems Design course in New York City on May 12-16. Register here.



I’m afraid that the venue we’ve got only has 24 seats and about half of those have already been sold, so if you’d like to register, please don’t wait.



A while back, an attendee named Tom Cabanski blogged his experiences going through the course – it’s a really interesting view into the roller-coaster of the course. He’s broken it down into several parts, starting here, but I’d say that part 4 is probably the most interesting.

Here are some choice quotes:

Don’t name your services. You probably will get the name wrong at first and that will lead you to group the wrong things into the service because the name will insist you do.

By day 4, every time Udi mentioned “best practice” there would be a ripple of giggles in the room.

Hope to see you there.

Comments
Posted on Monday, February 3rd, 2014.



NServiceBus course – Feb 2014 in London


I almost forget to mention that Jimmy Bogard will be coming back to London to teach the 4-day Enterprise Development with NServiceBus course on February 10th.

Register here

 

Comments [2]
Posted on Monday, January 20th, 2014.



   


Don't miss my best content
 
Locations of visitors to this page

Recommendations

Bryan Wheeler, Director Platform Development at msnbc.com
Udi Dahan is the real deal.

We brought him on site to give our development staff the 5-day “Advanced Distributed System Design” training. The course profoundly changed our understanding and approach to SOA and distributed systems.

Consider some of the evidence: 1. Months later, developers still make allusions to concepts learned in the course nearly every day 2. One of our developers went home and made her husband (a developer at another company) sign up for the course at a subsequent date/venue 3. Based on what we learned, we’ve made constant improvements to our architecture that have helped us to adapt to our ever changing business domain at scale and speed If you have the opportunity to receive the training, you will make a substantial paradigm shift.

If I were to do the whole thing over again, I’d start the week by playing the clip from the Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo the choice between the red and blue pills. Once you make the intellectual leap, you’ll never look at distributed systems the same way.

Beyond the training, we were able to spend some time with Udi discussing issues unique to our business domain. Because Udi is a rare combination of a big picture thinker and a low level doer, he can quickly hone in on various issues and quickly make good (if not startling) recommendations to help solve tough technical issues.” November 11, 2010

Sam Gentile Sam Gentile, Independent WCF & SOA Expert
“Udi, one of the great minds in this area.
A man I respect immensely.”





Ian Robinson Ian Robinson, Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks
"Your blog and articles have been enormously useful in shaping, testing and refining my own approach to delivering on SOA initiatives over the last few years. Over and against a certain 3-layer-application-architecture-blown-out-to- distributed-proportions school of SOA, your writing, steers a far more valuable course."

Shy Cohen Shy Cohen, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft
“Udi is a world renowned software architect and speaker. I met Udi at a conference that we were both speaking at, and immediately recognized his keen insight and razor-sharp intellect. Our shared passion for SOA and the advancement of its practice launched a discussion that lasted into the small hours of the night.
It was evident through that discussion that Udi is one of the most knowledgeable people in the SOA space. It was also clear why – Udi does not settle for mediocrity, and seeks to fully understand (or define) the logic and principles behind things.
Humble yet uncompromising, Udi is a pleasure to interact with.”

Glenn Block Glenn Block, Senior Program Manager - WCF at Microsoft
“I have known Udi for many years having attended his workshops and having several personal interactions including working with him when we were building our Composite Application Guidance in patterns & practices. What impresses me about Udi is his deep insight into how to address business problems through sound architecture. Backed by many years of building mission critical real world distributed systems it is no wonder that Udi is the best at what he does. When customers have deep issues with their system design, I point them Udi's way.”

Karl Wannenmacher Karl Wannenmacher, Senior Lead Expert at Frequentis AG
“I have been following Udi’s blog and podcasts since 2007. I’m convinced that he is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced people in the field of SOA, EDA and large scale systems.
Udi helped Frequentis to design a major subsystem of a large mission critical system with a nationwide deployment based on NServiceBus. It was impressive to see how he took the initial architecture and turned it upside down leading to a very flexible and scalable yet simple system without knowing the details of the business domain. I highly recommend consulting with Udi when it comes to large scale mission critical systems in any domain.”

Simon Segal Simon Segal, Independent Consultant
“Udi is one of the outstanding software development minds in the world today, his vast insights into Service Oriented Architectures and Smart Clients in particular are indeed a rare commodity. Udi is also an exceptional teacher and can help lead teams to fall into the pit of success. I would recommend Udi to anyone considering some Architecural guidance and support in their next project.”

Ohad Israeli Ohad Israeli, Chief Architect at Hewlett-Packard, Indigo Division
“When you need a man to do the job Udi is your man! No matter if you are facing near deadline deadlock or at the early stages of your development, if you have a problem Udi is the one who will probably be able to solve it, with his large experience at the industry and his widely horizons of thinking , he is always full of just in place great architectural ideas.
I am honored to have Udi as a colleague and a friend (plus having his cell phone on my speed dial).”

Ward Bell Ward Bell, VP Product Development at IdeaBlade
“Everyone will tell you how smart and knowledgable Udi is ... and they are oh-so-right. Let me add that Udi is a smart LISTENER. He's always calibrating what he has to offer with your needs and your experience ... looking for the fit. He has strongly held views ... and the ability to temper them with the nuances of the situation.
I trust Udi to tell me what I need to hear, even if I don't want to hear it, ... in a way that I can hear it. That's a rare skill to go along with his command and intelligence.”

Eli Brin, Program Manager at RISCO Group
“We hired Udi as a SOA specialist for a large scale project. The development is outsourced to India. SOA is a buzzword used almost for anything today. We wanted to understand what SOA really is, and what is the meaning and practice to develop a SOA based system.
We identified Udi as the one that can put some sense and order in our minds. We started with a private customized SOA training for the entire team in Israel. After that I had several focused sessions regarding our architecture and design.
I will summarize it simply (as he is the software simplist): We are very happy to have Udi in our project. It has a great benefit. We feel good and assured with the knowledge and practice he brings. He doesn’t talk over our heads. We assimilated nServicebus as the ESB of the project. I highly recommend you to bring Udi into your project.”

Catherine Hole Catherine Hole, Senior Project Manager at the Norwegian Health Network
“My colleagues and I have spent five interesting days with Udi - diving into the many aspects of SOA. Udi has shown impressive abilities of understanding organizational challenges, and has brought the business perspective into our way of looking at services. He has an excellent understanding of the many layers from business at the top to the technical infrstructure at the bottom. He is a great listener, and manages to simplify challenges in a way that is understandable both for developers and CEOs, and all the specialists in between.”

Yoel Arnon Yoel Arnon, MSMQ Expert
“Udi has a unique, in depth understanding of service oriented architecture and how it should be used in the real world, combined with excellent presentation skills. I think Udi should be a premier choice for a consultant or architect of distributed systems.”

Vadim Mesonzhnik, Development Project Lead at Polycom
“When we were faced with a task of creating a high performance server for a video-tele conferencing domain we decided to opt for a stateless cluster with SQL server approach. In order to confirm our decision we invited Udi.

After carefully listening for 2 hours he said: "With your kind of high availability and performance requirements you don’t want to go with stateless architecture."

One simple sentence saved us from implementing a wrong product and finding that out after years of development. No matter whether our former decisions were confirmed or altered, it gave us great confidence to move forward relying on the experience, industry best-practices and time-proven techniques that Udi shared with us.
It was a distinct pleasure and a unique opportunity to learn from someone who is among the best at what he does.”

Jack Van Hoof Jack Van Hoof, Enterprise Integration Architect at Dutch Railways
“Udi is a respected visionary on SOA and EDA, whose opinion I most of the time (if not always) highly agree with. The nice thing about Udi is that he is able to explain architectural concepts in terms of practical code-level examples.”

Neil Robbins Neil Robbins, Applications Architect at Brit Insurance
“Having followed Udi's blog and other writings for a number of years I attended Udi's two day course on 'Loosely Coupled Messaging with NServiceBus' at SkillsMatter, London.

I would strongly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in how to develop IT systems which provide immediate and future fitness for purpose. An influential and innovative thought leader and practitioner in his field, Udi demonstrates and shares a phenomenally in depth knowledge that proves his position as one of the premier experts in his field globally.

The course has enhanced my knowledge and skills in ways that I am able to immediately apply to provide benefits to my employer. Additionally though I will be able to build upon what I learned in my 2 days with Udi and have no doubt that it will only enhance my future career.

I cannot recommend Udi, and his courses, highly enough.”

Nick Malik Nick Malik, Enterprise Architect at Microsoft Corporation
You are an excellent speaker and trainer, Udi, and I've had the fortunate experience of having attended one of your presentations. I believe that you are a knowledgable and intelligent man.”

Sean Farmar Sean Farmar, Chief Technical Architect at Candidate Manager Ltd
“Udi has provided us with guidance in system architecture and supports our implementation of NServiceBus in our core business application.

He accompanied us in all stages of our development cycle and helped us put vision into real life distributed scalable software. He brought fresh thinking, great in depth of understanding software, and ongoing support that proved as valuable and cost effective.

Udi has the unique ability to analyze the business problem and come up with a simple and elegant solution for the code and the business alike.
With Udi's attention to details, and knowledge we avoided pit falls that would cost us dearly.”

Børge Hansen Børge Hansen, Architect Advisor at Microsoft
“Udi delivered a 5 hour long workshop on SOA for aspiring architects in Norway. While keeping everyone awake and excited Udi gave us some great insights and really delivered on making complex software challenges simple. Truly the software simplist.”

Motty Cohen, SW Manager at KorenTec Technologies
“I know Udi very well from our mutual work at KorenTec. During the analysis and design of a complex, distributed C4I system - where the basic concepts of NServiceBus start to emerge - I gained a lot of "Udi's hours" so I can surely say that he is a professional, skilled architect with fresh ideas and unique perspective for solving complex architecture challenges. His ideas, concepts and parts of the artifacts are the basis of several state-of-the-art C4I systems that I was involved in their architecture design.”

Aaron Jensen Aaron Jensen, VP of Engineering at Eleutian Technology
Awesome. Just awesome.

We’d been meaning to delve into messaging at Eleutian after multiple discussions with and blog posts from Greg Young and Udi Dahan in the past. We weren’t entirely sure where to start, how to start, what tools to use, how to use them, etc. Being able to sit in a room with Udi for an entire week while he described exactly how, why and what he does to tackle a massive enterprise system was invaluable to say the least.

We now have a much better direction and, more importantly, have the confidence we need to start introducing these powerful concepts into production at Eleutian.”

Gad Rosenthal Gad Rosenthal, Department Manager at Retalix
“A thinking person. Brought fresh and valuable ideas that helped us in architecting our product. When recommending a solution he supports it with evidence and detail so you can successfully act based on it. Udi's support "comes on all levels" - As the solution architect through to the detailed class design. Trustworthy!”

Chris Bilson Chris Bilson, Developer at Russell Investment Group
“I had the pleasure of attending a workshop Udi led at the Seattle ALT.NET conference in February 2009. I have been reading Udi's articles and listening to his podcasts for a long time and have always looked to him as a source of advice on software architecture.
When I actually met him and talked to him I was even more impressed. Not only is Udi an extremely likable person, he's got that rare gift of being able to explain complex concepts and ideas in a way that is easy to understand.
All the attendees of the workshop greatly appreciate the time he spent with us and the amazing insights into service oriented architecture he shared with us.”

Alexey Shestialtynov Alexey Shestialtynov, Senior .Net Developer at Candidate Manager
“I met Udi at Candidate Manager where he was brought in part-time as a consultant to help the company make its flagship product more scalable. For me, even after 30 years in software development, working with Udi was a great learning experience. I simply love his fresh ideas and architecture insights.
As we all know it is not enough to be armed with best tools and technologies to be successful in software - there is still human factor involved. When, as it happens, the project got in trouble, management asked Udi to step into a leadership role and bring it back on track. This he did in the span of a month. I can only wish that things had been done this way from the very beginning.
I look forward to working with Udi again in the future.”

Christopher Bennage Christopher Bennage, President at Blue Spire Consulting, Inc.
“My company was hired to be the primary development team for a large scale and highly distributed application. Since these are not necessarily everyday requirements, we wanted to bring in some additional expertise. We chose Udi because of his blogging, podcasting, and speaking. We asked him to to review our architectural strategy as well as the overall viability of project.
I was very impressed, as Udi demonstrated a broad understanding of the sorts of problems we would face. His advice was honest and unbiased and very pragmatic. Whenever I questioned him on particular points, he was able to backup his opinion with real life examples. I was also impressed with his clarity and precision. He was very careful to untangle the meaning of words that might be overloaded or otherwise confusing. While Udi's hourly rate may not be the cheapest, the ROI is undoubtedly a deal. I would highly recommend consulting with Udi.”

Robert Lewkovich, Product / Development Manager at Eggs Overnight
“Udi's advice and consulting were a huge time saver for the project I'm responsible for. The $ spent were well worth it and provided me with a more complete understanding of nServiceBus and most importantly in helping make the correct architectural decisions earlier thereby reducing later, and more expensive, rework.”

Ray Houston Ray Houston, Director of Development at TOPAZ Technologies
“Udi's SOA class made me smart - it was awesome.

The class was very well put together. The materials were clear and concise and Udi did a fantastic job presenting it. It was a good mixture of lecture, coding, and question and answer. I fully expected that I would be taking notes like crazy, but it was so well laid out that the only thing I wrote down the entire course was what I wanted for lunch. Udi provided us with all the lecture materials and everyone has access to all of the samples which are in the nServiceBus trunk.

Now I know why Udi is the "Software Simplist." I was amazed to find that all the code and solutions were indeed very simple. The patterns that Udi presented keep things simple by isolating complexity so that it doesn't creep into your day to day code. The domain code looks the same if it's running in a single process or if it's running in 100 processes.”

Ian Cooper Ian Cooper, Team Lead at Beazley
“Udi is one of the leaders in the .Net development community, one of the truly smart guys who do not just get best architectural practice well enough to educate others but drives innovation. Udi consistently challenges my thinking in ways that make me better at what I do.”

Liron Levy, Team Leader at Rafael
“I've met Udi when I worked as a team leader in Rafael. One of the most senior managers there knew Udi because he was doing superb architecture job in another Rafael project and he recommended bringing him on board to help the project I was leading.
Udi brought with him fresh solutions and invaluable deep architecture insights. He is an authority on SOA (service oriented architecture) and this was a tremendous help in our project.
On the personal level - Udi is a great communicator and can persuade even the most difficult audiences (I was part of such an audience myself..) by bringing sound explanations that draw on his extensive knowledge in the software business. Working with Udi was a great learning experience for me, and I'll be happy to work with him again in the future.”

Adam Dymitruk Adam Dymitruk, Director of IT at Apara Systems
“I met Udi for the first time at DevTeach in Montreal back in early 2007. While Udi is usually involved in SOA subjects, his knowledge spans all of a software development company's concerns. I would not hesitate to recommend Udi for any company that needs excellent leadership, mentoring, problem solving, application of patterns, implementation of methodologies and straight out solution development.
There are very few people in the world that are as dedicated to their craft as Udi is to his. At ALT.NET Seattle, Udi explained many core ideas about SOA. The team that I brought with me found his workshop and other talks the highlight of the event and provided the most value to us and our organization. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to recommend him.”

Eytan Michaeli Eytan Michaeli, CTO Korentec
“Udi was responsible for a major project in the company, and as a chief architect designed a complex multi server C4I system with many innovations and excellent performance.”


Carl Kenne Carl Kenne, .Net Consultant at Dotway AB
“Udi's session "DDD in Enterprise apps" was truly an eye opener. Udi has a great ability to explain complex enterprise designs in a very comprehensive and inspiring way. I've seen several sessions on both DDD and SOA in the past, but Udi puts it in a completly new perspective and makes us understand what it's all really about. If you ever have a chance to see any of Udi's sessions in the future, take it!”

Avi Nehama, R&D Project Manager at Retalix
“Not only that Udi is a briliant software architecture consultant, he also has remarkable abilities to present complex ideas in a simple and concise manner, and...
always with a smile. Udi is indeed a top-league professional!”

Ben Scheirman Ben Scheirman, Lead Developer at CenterPoint Energy
“Udi is one of those rare people who not only deeply understands SOA and domain driven design, but also eloquently conveys that in an easy to grasp way. He is patient, polite, and easy to talk to. I'm extremely glad I came to his workshop on SOA.”

Scott C. Reynolds Scott C. Reynolds, Director of Software Engineering at CBLPath
“Udi is consistently advancing the state of thought in software architecture, service orientation, and domain modeling.
His mastery of the technologies and techniques is second to none, but he pairs that with a singular ability to listen and communicate effectively with all parties, technical and non, to help people arrive at context-appropriate solutions. Every time I have worked with Udi, or attended a talk of his, or just had a conversation with him I have come away from it enriched with new understanding about the ideas discussed.”

Evgeny-Hen Osipow, Head of R&D at PCLine
“Udi has helped PCLine on projects by implementing architectural blueprints demonstrating the value of simple design and code.”

Rhys Campbell Rhys Campbell, Owner at Artemis West
“For many years I have been following the works of Udi. His explanation of often complex design and architectural concepts are so cleanly broken down that even the most junior of architects can begin to understand these concepts. These concepts however tend to typify the "real world" problems we face daily so even the most experienced software expert will find himself in an "Aha!" moment when following Udi teachings.
It was a pleasure to finally meet Udi in Seattle Alt.Net OpenSpaces 2008, where I was pleasantly surprised at how down-to-earth and approachable he was. His depth and breadth of software knowledge also became apparent when discussion with his peers quickly dove deep in to the problems we current face. If given the opportunity to work with or recommend Udi I would quickly take that chance. When I think .Net Architecture, I think Udi.”

Sverre Hundeide Sverre Hundeide, Senior Consultant at Objectware
“Udi had been hired to present the third LEAP master class in Oslo. He is an well known international expert on enterprise software architecture and design, and is the author of the open source messaging framework nServiceBus. The entire class was based on discussion and interaction with the audience, and the only Power Point slide used was the one showing the agenda.
He started out with sketching a naive traditional n-tier application (big ball of mud), and based on suggestions from the audience we explored different solutions which might improve the solution. Whatever suggestions we threw at him, he always had a thoroughly considered answer describing pros and cons with the suggested solution. He obviously has a lot of experience with real world enterprise SOA applications.”

Raphaël Wouters Raphaël Wouters, Owner/Managing Partner at Medinternals
“I attended Udi's excellent course 'Advanced Distributed System Design with SOA and DDD' at Skillsmatter. Few people can truly claim such a high skill and expertise level, present it using a pragmatic, concrete no-nonsense approach and still stay reachable.”

Nimrod Peleg Nimrod Peleg, Lab Engineer at Technion IIT
“One of the best programmers and software engineer I've ever met, creative, knows how to design and implemet, very collaborative and finally - the applications he designed implemeted work for many years without any problems!

Jose Manuel Beas
“When I attended Udi's SOA Workshop, then it suddenly changed my view of what Service Oriented Architectures were all about. Udi explained complex concepts very clearly and created a very productive discussion environment where all the attendees could learn a lot. I strongly recommend hiring Udi.”

Daniel Jin Daniel Jin, Senior Lead Developer at PJM Interconnection
“Udi is one of the top SOA guru in the .NET space. He is always eager to help others by sharing his knowledge and experiences. His blog articles often offer deep insights and is a invaluable resource. I highly recommend him.”

Pasi Taive Pasi Taive, Chief Architect at Tieto
“I attended both of Udi's "UI Composition Key to SOA Success" and "DDD in Enterprise Apps" sessions and they were exceptionally good. I will definitely participate in his sessions again. Udi is a great presenter and has the ability to explain complex issues in a manner that everyone understands.”

Eran Sagi, Software Architect at HP
“So far, I heard about Service Oriented architecture all over. Everyone mentions it – the big buzz word. But, when I actually asked someone for what does it really mean, no one managed to give me a complete satisfied answer. Finally in his excellent course “Advanced Distributed Systems”, I got the answers I was looking for. Udi went over the different motivations (principles) of Services Oriented, explained them well one by one, and showed how each one could be technically addressed using NService bus. In his course, Udi also explain the way of thinking when coming to design a Service Oriented system. What are the questions you need to ask yourself in order to shape your system, place the logic in the right places for best Service Oriented system.

I would recommend this course for any architect or developer who deals with distributed system, but not only. In my work we do not have a real distributed system, but one PC which host both the UI application and the different services inside, all communicating via WCF. I found that many of the architecture principles and motivations of SOA apply for our system as well. Enough that you have SW partitioned into components and most of the principles becomes relevant to you as well. Bottom line – an excellent course recommended to any SW Architect, or any developer dealing with distributed system.”

Consult with Udi

Guest Authored Books
Chapter: Introduction to SOA    Article: The Enterprise Service Bus and Your SOA

97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know



Creative Commons License  © Copyright 2005-2011, Udi Dahan. email@UdiDahan.com    Freely hosted by Weblogs.us