The Log: What every software engineer should know about real-time data's unifying abstraction

One of the most useful things I learned in all this was that many of the things we were building had a very simple concept at their heart: the log. Sometimes called write-ahead logs or commit logs or transaction logs, logs have been around almost as long as computers and are at the heart of many distributed data systems and real-time application architectures.

Disributed Systems Event Sourcing Software Engineering

Jun 8 2024

 A Distributed Systems Reading List

This document contains various resources and quick definition of a lot of background information behind distributed systems. It is not complete, even though it is kinda sorta detailed. I had written it some time in 2019 when coworkers at the time had asked for a list of references, and I put together what I thought was a decent overview of the basics of distributed systems literature and concepts.

Disributed Systems

Apr 25 2024

 A Philosophical Look at System Dynamics

Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, Spring of 1977. In this lecture, Donella Meadows takes on a more philosophical concept. How can we bring ourselves to be aware of the assumptions we make as systems thinkers? She asserts that models are a set of assumptions. Donella Meadows defines some of these system dynamics assumptions (such as causal relationships and feedback loops) in this video.

Abstraction Philosophy Video

Apr 25 2024

 Designing Fault-Tolerant Software with Control System Transparency

GN&C Fault Protection Fundamentals by Robert Rasmussen, who works for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is an organization that works closely with NASA on designing spacecraft. GN&C is guidance, navigation, and control. These are the main software systems here. This paper actually distills a ton of experience spent with really thinking through how to build really fault tolerant systems into some core principles.

Architecture Disributed Systems Video

Mar 5 2024

 Design Principles Behind Smalltalk

The purpose of the Smalltalk project is to provide computer support for the creative spirit in everyone. Our work flows from a vision that includes a creative individual and the best computing hardware available. We have chosen to concentrate on two principle areas of research: a language of description (programming language) that serves as an interface between the models in the human mind and those in computing hardware, and a language of interaction (user interface) that matches the human communication system to that of the computer. Our work has followed a two- to four-year cycle that can be seen to parallel the scientific method: Build an application program within the current system (make an observation) Based on that experience, redesign the language (formulate a theory) Build a new system based on the new design (make a prediction that can be tested) The Smalltalk-80 system marks our fifth time through this cycle. In this article, I present some of the general principles we have observed in the course of our work. While the presentation frequently touches on Smalltalk "motherhood", the principles themselves are more general and should prove useful in evaluating other systems and in guiding future work.

Design OOP Philosophy

Jan 2 2024

 12 Software Architecture Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Developing a successful software architecture is simple, but it’s not easy. Understanding QARs and then understanding and making the trade-offs that will maximally satisfy the QARs takes insight and experience, much of which has to be gathered through iterative experimentation on the architecture itself. The process itself is simple, but the trade-offs that need to be considered are often tough, and there are seldom easy answers.

Architecture Best Practices Design

Dec 18 2023

 Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions

A mental model is simply a compression of how something works. Any idea, belief, or concept can be distilled down into a workable model. While far from perfect, they are a useful way to change perspective, simplify complexity, and solve problems. Mental models help us understand the world. For example, velocity is a mental model that helps you understand that both speed and direction matter. Reciprocity is a mental model that helps you understand how going positive and going first gets the world to do most of the work for you. Margin of Safety is a mental model that helps you understand that things don’t always go as planned. Relativity is a mental model that shows us we have blind spots and how a different vantage point can change everything. The list goes on.


Nov 23 2023