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Tim Murphy

Tim is a Solutions Architect for PSC Group, LLC. He has been an IT consultant since 1999 specializing in Microsoft technologies. Along with running the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group and speaking on Microsoft and architecture topics he was also contributing author on "The Definitive Guide to the Microsoft Enterprise Library".

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

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Tim Murphy's .NET Software Architecture Blog Adventures in Architecting and Developing .NET developers There are 27 entries for the tag developers
Why Do Computer Scientists Need To Understand Software Developers
I saw a tweet asking why do we educate computer scientists to get developers and compared this to structural engineers and stone masons. I believe this is a good question with a flawed premise. The flaw is in thinking that a developer’s job is as simple and limited in variations as that of a mason. Almost every problem attacked by a developer requires that they bend their tools and materials in a new way. This requires that everyone on a team communicate and at least on some level understand each ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 14, 2012 1:09 PM

The Hidden Costs Of Offshoring Your IT
While I am not a fan of offshoring IT development, I do understand the attraction. From a rate perspective they look very attractive, but in my experience that is the smallest part of the story when it comes to offshore resources. There are a number of hurdles you will have to deal with if you are going use developers that are half way around the world. The first obstacle is the language and cultural barrier. I am not talking about just understanding the words, but understanding the meaning behind ......

Posted On Wednesday, February 29, 2012 7:29 AM

Implementing Team Foundation Server 2010 In A Mixed Development Environment
Most of us spend our time in Visual Studio writing .NET code within a Visual Studio solution. Given this situation we find it very easy to integrate with Team Foundation Server for our source control and have a well known work pattern. But what happens when you want to use TFS as source control for non-Microsoft development? The most important thing to remember is that source control should be as transparent as possible to the developer. If the particular language or product does not have an Integrated ......

Posted On Friday, February 3, 2012 12:58 PM

Chicago Windows Phone Accelerator Lab Recap
This week I spent three day with close to 30 of my new best friends doing lots of Windows Phone coding and helping each other with our application. The sessions were lead by Jeff Blankenburg and Dave Bost who and kept the atmosphere light. This included us finding out a lot about Dave’s tastes in music. While most of the time was spent working on our individual apps we saw how an app is submitted to the market place and what you can prep your app for the market place using the Marketplace Test Kit. ......

Posted On Friday, December 9, 2011 7:02 AM

Why We Need UX Designers
Ok, so maybe this is really why I need UX designers. While I have always had an interest in photography and can appreciate a well designed user interface putting one together is an entirely different endeavor. Being color blind doesn’t help, but coming up with ideas is probably the biggest portion of the issue. I can spot things that just don’t look like they work right, but what will? UX designers is an area that most companies do not spend much if any resources. As they say, you only get one chance ......

Posted On Monday, November 14, 2011 9:40 PM

WCF Service Development Basics
Part of the fun of being a consultant is that the technology you use changes from day to day. Recently it is WCF which, while knowing the concepts of since it came out I haven’t used up until now. The nice thing is that it really isn’t any harder to develop for than a normal ASP.NET web service. A couple of the attributes change and which project type you start with is different, but it is still message based services. Just like the method of a web service needs a Webmethod attribute a method in ......

Posted On Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:44 AM

This Developers Life Podcast
This Developers Life is a podcast put out by Scott Hanselman and Rob Conery. In the most recent episode there were a couple of things that really struck me. The fist was on motivation. Why is it that we keep spending every free hour keeping up with the latest technologies and techniques? Personally, I have always enjoyed the satisfaction of solving problems with technology. Hey, if you aren’t one to join sports then you need some sort of challenge. Of course getting to play with new toys like Windows ......

Posted On Tuesday, November 30, 2010 4:27 PM

Memories Of The Past While Learning The Future
The last couple of weeks I have been working through some proof of concepts for Windows Phone 7. While working through one exercise I had a flashback. The book I was reading mentioned how you needed to code your application to have the smallest possible memory and and processing speed footprint. Suddenly I was back in high school with my Tandy hand-held computer which had a single line of text screen and a whopping 1K of memory. Talk about limitations. So what else can you learn from developing in ......

Posted On Friday, November 19, 2010 2:29 AM

October 2010 Chicago Information Technology Architects Group Wrap Up
Earlier this week Mike Vogt and I presented an introduction to design patterns. While I think that all developers should understand design patterns I don’t believe you can be a good architect unless you a firm grasp of patterns at at the application, system and enterprise levels. We had some fun with the subject by alternating between .NET and Java examples. I think if we had hidden certain parts of the IDE we could have challenged the attendees to tell us which example was in C# and which was in ......

Posted On Thursday, October 21, 2010 5:02 AM

Review: Head First Design Patterns
Design patterns are an important part of understanding the best practices of software development. Head First Design Patterns is another great book in the Head First series which takes a more story based teaching approach. As you get past the format of the book there are specific things that I like about the subject matter coverage. Rather than just laying out the name, problem and solution for each of the original patterns, they compare and contrast them. In some cases they even pull in patterns ......

Posted On Wednesday, October 20, 2010 1:41 AM

What Makes CustomXml More appealing Than Content Controls
Note: Cross posted from Coding The Document. Permalink Word 2007 has two built-in methods for tagging content. If you go to the developers tab you will find the ribbon has a section for Controls and a section for XML. The Controls are also referred to as Content Controls. The XML section allows you to define schemas that can be applied to your document and is sometimes called Custom XML. Both of these constructs can be used when you are coding an application which needs to identify a part of a document ......

Posted On Wednesday, February 3, 2010 10:53 AM

Speaking at the ArcSummit December 7th
I am branching out. is having an ArcSummit event and needed someone to speak on Dependency Injection. Sign me up. If you are interested in this or the other topics to be presented please join us. There is more information about the event and a registration link below. https://www.clicktoattend.c... About is a site dedicated to helping Architects, aspiring Architects and Lead Developers learn, connect and contribute. On this site you’ll have ......

Posted On Monday, November 2, 2009 12:40 AM

An Architect's Life As A Consultant
As with any career, consulting has a number of benefits and challenges. As a consultant architect you get to experience more environments than a in house architect. On the other hand you aren't assured that you will be doing architecture on every assignment. One day you may be working as a developer and the next as a project manager. So how do you keep your skills sharp and your resume viable? Your resume is going to be littered with jobs other than the title of architect. Within a project look for ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 12, 2008 9:59 PM

Do Companies Really Want To Ship Software
I was reading a blog post the other day about motivating software developers to be motivated to ship code. While I agree this is a problem I have to ask the question "do IT departments really want to ship code"? Here is where I am coming from. I have seen enough IT departments where they stack release on top of release at such a frenzied pace that it causes them to split their resources. When you have multiple versions of an application that have to be tested you need more environment that all have ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 4, 2008 11:52 AM

Creating Your Own Testing Tools
Ok, so it isn't necessarily the most efficient way to spend your time. It is usually better to buy your tools whenever possible, but it is a great way to learn. Of course I am not talking about recreating Nant or CruiseControl. What I am suggesting would be more in the nature of a test harness for integration testing purposes. These are strategic tools that will pay for themselves as you move from development into production support. One area where these harnesses come in handy are integration points ......

Posted On Thursday, January 31, 2008 5:59 AM

The Power Of Krugle And Reflector
I have posted before about reading other's code. What happens when you need an example to get ideas from or to better understand usage. Let's face it. Documentation of a language doesn't always give you everything you need to know. If you haven't already found it, Krugle is a good place to look for code sample. It is the Google of code files. It has been around for a while but I don't believe that most developers know about it or use it as much as they might benefit. Try it out. Now you may want ......

Posted On Thursday, January 24, 2008 11:50 AM

Advantages Of Reading Other People's Code
Many new developers (and old developers) feel that reading other people's code is boring if not torture. I suggest that you look at this necessary evil as opportunities to discover treasures. You can learn new techniques by reviewing other's work. You can also learn things that you shouldn't do or remind yourself why you don't code a certain way. Either way you will most likely see code implemented in ways that you wouldn't normally do yourself. So lets take this discussion beyond just reading the ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 9, 2008 9:31 PM

Polymorphic Podcast Firing On All Cylinders Again
I have mentioned before that one of my favorite podcasts is the Polymorphic Podcast hosted by Craig Shoemaker. Things were a little slow there for a while. I am guessing because Craig has done this because he wants to, not because he gets paid to and life just gets in the way some times. This week he is fired back up to full steam. He has a great interview with Scott Hanselman. The only unfortunate part of the show is that it is making me feel old. I am five years older than Scott and haven't done ......

Posted On Thursday, November 29, 2007 8:45 AM

IT: The Next Generation
I was talking with a neighbor who is going to DePaul University for software engineering. Things have definitely changed since I was in college. He was working on a Java PDA app and a traffic light controller application. That is a long way from encryption programs and inventory reports. One thing that is a little scary is that he says his focus is on project management. Now maybe my thinking is outdated, but I don't believe that you can effectively manage developers without knowing how to develop ......

Posted On Friday, August 3, 2007 5:43 AM

A Pragmatic Approach to Software Development
On a recent ARCast Ron interviewed Jeffrey Palermo. The thing that really impressed me was that he really separated the Agile principles from implementation approaches. The fact that the goal is working code over comprehensive documentation and that designing by testing is just one way of getting there is a much more rational statement than I often read. Similarly there is an clip with Peter Provost where he discusses TDD. The great thing is he discusses where architecture fits with TDD. ......

Posted On Thursday, July 12, 2007 5:48 AM

Architect Community and Resources
Being an architect or becoming an architect is not an easy thing to do. In most companies if there is even a single architect you are lucky. This means that you are on your own to figure out what an architect should really be. No wonder no one can agree on what an architect is. One thing I would like to see is an apprenticeship and mentoring program within the architect community. Experience is key to becoming an architect, but there are component skills that can be grown and nurtured. We need to ......

Posted On Thursday, November 2, 2006 3:06 AM

Uninstalling GAT Adventure
I decided the other day that I would like to install the latest version of the Guidance Automation Toolkit. No big deal, right? Wrong! The toolkit itself didn't complain during the process, but GAX has been giving me hell. It seems that I had a couple of hands on labs installed that it felt needed to be uninstalled first. The problem is that the installer only knows them by their short names which aren't very helpful when you have about 20 different HOL on your machine. I had eventually gotten it ......

Posted On Thursday, October 26, 2006 4:26 PM

Language Extremists Irritate Me
I will probably get myself in trouble with this post, but a recent ARCast just irritated me like walking through poison ivy in a pair of swimming trunks. C# or VB.NET. The battle rages on. I will say that I prefer C#, but I spend a lot of time writing VB for clients who have that as their standard. In the podcast Ron's guest Bill McCarthy talks about how great VB.NET is. The funny thing is that what he points out as its strong points are exactly what I dislike about VB. Specifically things like the ......

Posted On Monday, October 16, 2006 1:23 PM

How Quickly We Jump to Conclusions
As architects it is our job to think things through. We are paid to work out possibilities and evaluate issues in the context of what already exists. I was reminded of these facts the other day when a couple of developers brought an issue to me where they were saying a product was not capable of producing the required results. A knowledgeable developer on that product said we would have to create extra custom components to get around this “feature”. I quickly jumped into scramble mode ......

Posted On Wednesday, September 6, 2006 2:14 AM

Why Performance and Scalable is Required Reading
We are in the middle of addressing some production issues at my current client. One of them involves an ASP.NET application which is slow to respond at times and other times does not seem to respond at all. The fun part is that there is nothing from the application side which is giving us a clue as to what is going on. This has been going on for a while and people are starting to get frustrated, so it was decided to call the experts from Microsoft. So we start having conference calls and the MS representatives ......

Posted On Thursday, May 4, 2006 11:12 AM

Fun with Oracle CLOBs
We have been having prolonged adventures with this wonderful data type on my current project. We are storing XML data in a CLOB field. In the beginning we used the Oracle ODP.NET provider. When we got into performance testing we found that saving this data killed our performance. A couple of the developers did some testing and found that the Microsoft Oracle provider worked at least an order of magnitude better. I was a little skeptical about moving to the Microsoft provider because I remembered ......

Posted On Thursday, April 13, 2006 5:26 PM

Why I like Rocky
I found this post by Rocky Lhotka rather entertaining as well as rather directly pointing out what we as architects and developers should all understand.  Suddenly I am hungry. :)

Posted On Monday, March 13, 2006 5:55 PM

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