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Preview: Tobler.SoftwareArchitecture()


John Tobler's somewhat ordered collection of thoughts and resources mostly related to software architecture and software engineering.


Announcing TobWiz Technologies LLC

Fri, 31 Jan 2014 05:03:00 GMT

Our software and idea development company has officially become a Nevada corporation. Our website is still at As Co-founder and CTO, I will be primarily responsible to coordinate our software development services and software product development. As a reader of this weblog, I encourage you to contact me if you feel our skills and experience can benefit any projects with which you are involved, we would be happy to discuss opportunities with you!

New Challenge: Enterprise Architecture at Caesar's Entertainment, Las Vegas, NV

Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:54:00 GMT

I have a brand new challenge and am excited to announce that my wife and I have relocated to Las Vegas, NV, where I have taken on a new role as a Senior Enterprise Architect for Caesars Entertainment.  The sheer scope of the concept of "enterprise" at Caesars Entertainment, which employs over 70,000 people on four continents,  takes me to a whole new level of architecture.  I will be integrating many technologies from very old, simple, and low-level to very new, complex, and highest-level.  My new position also requires that I learn a very interesting new enterprise-level messaging tool chain, the TIBCO products, particularly Enterprise Messaging Services (EMS), Rendezvous, BusinessEvents and BusinessWorks.  So, I will have my hands full getting used to real enterprise architecture and integration and will happily share this experience with you, the faithful readers of this weblog!

Things I like about Scala

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 18:23:00 GMT

I'm excited about Scala (see Scaling the Cliffs to Scala ), one of the new Object-Fuctional languages that have emerged recently.  So, what excites me?  Let's list a few cool features.

  • Everything is an object.
  • Scala functions are really and truly first-class objects.
  • Let's not forget that Scala gives us Closures!
  • Mixins really rock!  They bridge the gap between multiply inheriting from interfaces and multiply inheriting from classes.
  • Traits are like Java interfaces, but with implementations (behavior).  They provide a mixin composition mechanism I haven't had in other languages.
  • Scala pays lots of attention to properly using mutability and immutability.  From having declarations of val vs. var to Value Objects and "side-effect free" functions, Scala provides the underlying support necessary to help us with multi-threading, multicore processing, and multi-processing. 
  • Scala's implementation of concurrency and its Actor Framework make it one of the most interesting new languages around.

I would recommend a study of Scala just for these benefits alone.  They're largely why I decided to use Scala for development of Chronoscope, the product on which I'm working at the moment.


Sigh! Vista still has 260 character Path limitation!

Mon, 30 Aug 2010 01:06:00 GMT

I recently discovered, the hard way, that Microsoft Vista still has a limit of a maximum 260 characters for the Path.   You can enter all the characters you probably want in [Control Panel | System | Advanced System Settings | Environment Variables | Path] but when you subsequently execute "Path" in a Windows Command Processor Console, you will see your result gets truncated at 260. 

 Worse, one day you will try to execute a command and it just won't happen,.and you may have one heck of a time figuring out why it failed.  Even worse, some sotware you run may try to execute an external dependency, under the reasonable assumption that it can be found in your path.  You're likely to have an even more difficult time diagnosing that!

How do you get a path longer than 260 characters?  Some forum trolls maintain that it's a ridiculous question and could only happen to a brain-dead Windows wimp.  Not me.  I'm senior software architect and engineer, and I try things out.  I'm always learning new technologies and experimenting with new tools.  You give me a shiny new machine with all the memory and processor you think is state of the art and I will soon have it filled up with developer goodies.  Now, if you, like me, start installing frameworks, language systems, editors, database systems, utilities, and other development tools, I guarantee you that you will soon blow past the inane 260 character limit!

So, here I am with a completely botched path.  What did I do?  I started replacing long entries with Environment Variables.  "C:\User\ProgLang\Ruby\Bin" became "%RUBY%."  You really need to be careful to put back-slashes ('\') where they need to go; a missing or extra back-slash can cause problems.

 It kind of works, and if you replace enough stuff, you may get your path to display in a console.  Unfortunately, I was not able to reduce mine enough.  Frankly, I don't consider my desired path-searchable items to be unreasonable.  I want my languages, Scala, Fantom, Ruby, Python, Scheme, Common Lisp, Groovy, etc., to be available from the command line.  I want my utilities!  I want my frameworks, my libraries!  I want all my Microsoft Visual Studios SQl Servers, SDKs and such (with their ridiculously long and space-filled pathnames!

Will your path always be useable by software?  Will it sometimes be corrupted and cause problems?  What happens when your Environment Variables get expanded?  Those questions I cannot yet answer, but you can be sure I'll be watching!

Now, let's discuss the cause.  I think it is the same old illness within the Microsoft development group that has afflicted us developers and "power users" so many times before.  Some MS-Techie decides that we'll never need more than 512K of database storage, we'll never need graphics beyond 1024x768, nobody needs more than 8 bits to represent a character.  Yeah, right!  Microsoft needs to root out this limitinitus disease once and for all and push it's devs to stop placing arbitrary and insidious bounds on those of us for which work in the real world will always exceed design parameters.  Make things expandable and extensible, please.  Stop stitching us into a corner!




Announcing: Tobwiz Technologies!

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 03:51:00 GMT

My wife and I have formed a new company, Tobwiz Technologies, providing products and services for software development, media development, idea development, and International communications.  In particular, we would love to help you add a touch of magic to your software projects by offering the following services:

  • Contract software architecture and engineering
  • Hands on code wizardry
  • Independent design and code reviews
  • New development
  • Maintenance
  • Legacy transformations
  • Small projects

Telecommuting relationships preferred.

Please contact!



Scaling the Cliffs to Scala

Tue, 18 Aug 2009 20:26:00 GMT

The legendary Castle of Scalability, wherein is reputedly housed the Holy Grail of Website Performability, awaits you!  Will you accept the challenge?  Will you take up this noble Quest? 

Recently, we have heard that the castle may be reached by scaling the high cliffs of Scala, one of the newest Object-Functional languages. Scala, like Fan, another new "scalability-oriented" language, has mutated significantly from Java, one of its prototypical influences.  From what I've seen through my binoculars, Scala code can sometimes seem pretty obfuscated, so make sure you are equipped for a certain cryptic mysticism as you begin your ascent.

Take A Tour of Scala and then have a look at what Sony Imageworks intends to do with it, reported in Sony Imageworks and Scala.

Scala is indeed a serious language, and this is a serious Quest!  Personally, I have already started along the path, but I must admit I'm taking the Fan with me to cool me down during the long climb!

 Good luck, Noble Coder!  May you reach the Castle of Scalability and claim the Coveted Prize!  I hear there is enough Performability up there for all of us!

Resume Dream Catchers -- Reloaded

Fri, 14 Aug 2009 18:22:00 GMT

Today, I had reason to update an old article of mine, Resume Dream Catchers, and figured I should remind my readers of this resource.  Please feel free to offer your additions,corrections, and thoughts as comments, either to the article directly, or to this post.  I will be happy to update the article with better information!  This started out as just a quick post, back in 2004, but some people seem to like it!

Coding Cool with Fan!

Mon, 10 Aug 2009 18:18:00 GMT

The most exciting new programming language I have seen in quite some time is the new Fan language. I recommend reading Why Fan and taking the Tour to have get a quick grasp of what Fan offers.  Then Download Fan and StartHere! Why am I so enthusiastic about Fan?  It's Object Oriented, but also supports functions as first class objects.  That makes Fan one of the new "Object-Functional" languages (see Scala for another example, although I am finding Scala a bit overly-complex for my taste). Fan is easily approachable from a C/C++/C#, Java, Python, Ruby or Smalltalk background. Fan interoperates on the Java VM, the .NET Framework's CLR, and also supports compiling JavaScript for use in browsers.  Fan's design should make it portable to Parrot and other run-time targets in future.  More than anything else, though, I like Fan's clean, and I must say rather beautiful, design.  Look at this quote about the development team's approach to the Fan API's:  "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - but we are obsessed with making the Fan APIs beautiful."   Brian and Andy Frank, Fan's two main developers, are quick to state that Fan is a practical, rather than academic language.  However, I assure you a *lot* of thought and deep knowledge about the evolution of programming languages has gone into Fan's design.  I consider Fan quite elegant and am very much enjoying cooling my code with Fan!To help spread the Fan meme, I have started FanFans, a LinkedIn Group for those who want to "fan the Fan!"  If you're on LinkedIn, search for "FanFans" or "Fan language" and join the group! So, let's all Fan out and spread some cool code!   [...]

Something is squawking!

Thu, 23 Jul 2009 22:40:00 GMT

 After a rather long ... lull ..., I'm hearing much more noise again from the (almost mythological) realm of Pearl 6.  Seems like some sort of Parrot has been squawking loudly, lately.  In fact, it may have even squawked loudly enough to get me to join in the fun! 

 I'm a sucker for the very idea of a multi-lingual dynamic language VM that can allow different languages to use libraries written in others.  Use Python and Lua libs from Ruby?  Sounds wonderful to me!  Here's a link to Wikipedia's article on Perl 6.

 Pray for Perl 6.  The Perl and Parrot communities need everyone's good wishes!

Yes, I was an Agile Manifesto signatory!

Thu, 09 Jul 2009 18:24:00 GMT

Yes, I was a relatively early signatory to the Agile Manifesto.  I "signed" in the 19 May to 20 June, 2003, time period.  I did my first test-driven development (TDD) using the SUnit testing framework in the Smalltalk programming language.  I was immediately attracted to "agile" and TDD because I had been developing software for many years and well understood the value of the new approaches.  I am still agile and I still recommend TDD, although I am now aware that there are many areas of software engineering where TDD is not yet possible.  As far as agile goes, I do not stand for no process, but for "just enough" process!


SmallScript is dead! Long live SmallScript!

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 18:36:00 GMT

 In a previous post, Before it becomes famous, I posted about S#, or SmallScript, a SmallTalk variant that was being designed that was supposed to have a version that might have worked on .NET.  Now, it seems that project has pretty much died out.  David Simmons, the main figure behind S#, now works for Microsoft.  His role there does not seem to allow much priority for S#. Here is S# - Smalltalk :: The Next Generation, an interview with him that explains his current assignment.  In that article, he projected a date for the next release of S# as "out in the fall," but that was in 2006.

 So, I'm not seeing or hearing much,if anything, going on in the S# or SmallScript worlds.  My conclusion is that it appears the project is dead.  I still have hope that someone will develop a decent SmallTalk implementation for .NET.  If you see one, please let me know!


Hot off the press! Google will develop a new operating system!

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 17:58:00 GMT

Introducing the Google Chrome OS

I can feel the trembling from Redmond from here in Southern California!


New platform grows up! Google Apps is out of Beta!

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 17:40:00 GMT

 On The Official Google Blog, Google has announced that Google Apps is now out of beta.  One important observation for software developers is that Google Apps will now cost you.  No more free ride!  While you can try it for free, it costs $50 per user per year after your trial period ends.

[Tools] New version of UMLet available (9.1)

Fri, 03 Jul 2009 04:57:00 GMT

A newer version of UMLet is available. This free UML editor, UMLet, is my "UML as sketch" tool of choice! You can read *about* a very interesting article on the rationale behind UMLet here (note, however, that the article's authors require payment for the full article). UMLet is very capable ... and free, too!

Your Company's Next Senior Software Architect???

Thu, 02 Jul 2009 23:08:00 GMT

I would *love* to join a new and exciting software development team that has a single-minded focus on delivering high-quality software products to great customers. Perhaps that team is working in your company! Please have a look at my resume ( to find out if my skills match your customers' needs! If interested, contact me by email so I can get to work with you as quickly as possible! I currently live in San Diego, CA, but would consider relocating to Las Vegas, NV, or the Miami Ft. Lauderdale area, FL, to join the right company with the right challenge!

[Tools] New version of UMLet available (9.03)

Wed, 11 Feb 2009 21:54:00 GMT

Get your fresh new copy here: Umlet 9.03.

Time to get busy again!

Wed, 11 Feb 2009 21:26:00 GMT

Well! I've let this blog sit too long without taking care of it. I'm very busy, these days, on a number of different levels. But lately, I've started doing some work and research on Open Source GIS systems and on SharePoint development, so you should start seeing some posts here again.

New Office 2007 Data Mining Add-ins!

Wed, 23 Jan 2008 22:32:00 GMT

Here is a cool article on The SQL Server 2005 Data Mining Add-ins for Office 2007, some great new business intelligence tools for Excel 2007.



[Tools] New Version of UMLet is out (UMLet 8)!

Fri, 30 Nov 2007 23:17:00 GMT

UMLet 8 is out!  UMLet is a light-weight UML diagramming tool for those who need something for UML as sketch drawing.  This is not a heavy duty code-generating MDA tool.  UMLet is wonderful for sketching out your ideas without feeling so darned formal!  It is one of my favorite architectural sketching tools and I can strongly recommend it.



[.NET][Articles] Single-Sign-On (SSO) for SharePoint 2007 (MOSS)

Wed, 14 Nov 2007 16:47:00 GMT

I recently discovered this very interesting article that covers the basics of configuring and using SSO with Microsoft SharePoint 2007, especially when creating views and forms on external SQL Server databases using Windows authentication.  This is a very worthwhile read for  SharePoint developers and integrators.

An Introduction to Single-Sign-On (SSO) with Data Views