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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 software There are 33 entries for the tag software
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

Change Control Processes
The evolution of an IT department is always something interesting to observe. The is especially the case when they move from small departmental IT groups to corporate level oversight. It is usually painful for the people involved to give-up their ability to modify servers on the fly and conform to rigorous testing and documentation. Having the keys to your environments taken away can really feel like getting stabbed in the back especially when the new deployment team is still working out there processes. ......

Posted On Thursday, November 3, 2011 5:16 AM

Why Windows Phone Rocks
First let me say that this is a “what I like” post and not a comparison of platforms. The Windows Phone is the first smart phone that I have owned (no, I’m not 100 or 15 years old). Now that I have done the full disclosure I did want to talk about the features of the Windows Phone that I really enjoy. I have had the Samsung Focus since shortly after it came out. I have found it extremely capable and enjoy the performance of the device. It is light, durable and bright. My wife has the LG Quantum that ......

Posted On Monday, October 10, 2011 9:57 AM

Architecture Blooming In Chicago
For the last three years the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group has been the only community in the Chicago area for Software Architects, Enterprise Architects, Infrastructure Architects and Database Architects. Suddenly this is changing. The first change was a special interest group created by member of the Chicago .NET Users Group (CNUG). This has just started in the last couple of months. Now it was just announced that IASA is finally launching a Chicago chapter. This is something ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 22, 2011 3:18 PM

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

Architects – Can’t We All Be Friends
Lately I have had some run-ins with structural architects who have warned me that calling myself or our user group Architects is against the law in Illinois. I still need to sort out if this is actually the case or not, but it makes me ask a number of questions. Clearly the law was not intended to protect the word Architect. It was meant to protect the profession and protect the public from people who were practicing architecture without proper training. We wouldn’t want buildings and bridges falling ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 3, 2010 2:50 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

May Chicago Architects Group Meeting
The Chicago Architects Group will be holding its next meeting on May 28th. Please come and join us and get involved in our architect community. Register Presenter: Sean Blanton Topic: Trends in Continuous Integration and Software Delivery Location: Microsoft - Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy Suite 300 Downers Grove, IL 60515-5506 Time: 6:00 - Doors open at 5:30 ......

Posted On Friday, May 15, 2009 8:39 AM

Random Thoughts On Software Development
I was listening to an episode of .NET Rocks in which Ted Neward spent some time discussing the direction that languages are going. This was predominantly a discussion of the DSL concepts, but the interview got me thinking about languages and how we design the internal structure of applications. One of the main things that struck me was that something about objects has never felt quite natural. I have never found a decomposition technique that I was satisfied with. Looking at objects as nouns in your ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 21, 2009 9:48 PM

Lessons From Flying With A Four Year Old
My children always teach me so much. I got back recently from a vacation with my family. We were coming in for a landing on our 2.5 hour flight when my youngest son asked what was behind the wing. It was a condensation cloud forming right behind the trailing edge of the wing. So how do you explain condensation and vortices in terms that a four year old will understand? You have to put it in terms that they already understand. Describe the swirl that they see in a bath tub when you let the water out. ......

Posted On Monday, August 25, 2008 10:03 PM

No One Is Immune
I guess it can happen to anyone. This weekend I started getting emails from friends and automated rejections form mail servers. It seems that my Yahoo account got hit with a virus that sends spam from my mail account to everyone in my address book. Now the surprising part is that this happened while running a web mail browser session which did not give an indication that a message was sent either visually or leaving a message in my sent mail. It also occurred without setting off warnings from either ......

Posted On Monday, August 25, 2008 10:03 PM

DevConnections - Wrap Up
DevConnections was a whirl-wind four days filled with learning and fun. So what did I take away from this trip? There were a lot of smart people who presented as well as attended. Unfortunately I was disappointed with about half of the sessions I attended. Luckily that leaves half of the sessions which were inspiring. The last day's highlights were Brian Noyes and Kathleen Dollard. Kathleen Dollard seemed to have a way of presenting pieces of code that just made you get the whole concept behind a ......

Posted On Monday, April 28, 2008 9:50 PM

DevConnections - Day 2
All I can say is my mind has been fired up! I started the day by attendeing Pat Helland's first session. It was looking like we were just getting a lesson in the history of computer hardware. Where that lesson lead opened my eyes to some of the issues and possible solutions we face in the IT industry going forward. This includes making our applications more granular and keeping less data on a particular machine and giving the application access to its from anywhere. He also covered the need to have ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 22, 2008 7:34 PM

RAW file CODECs for Vista
Here is a software suggestion for those of you out there that enjoy doing digital photography and save to RAW format. I am using Photoshop Elements and was getting annoyed having to open all of my files individually in the editor to weed out the unacceptable ones. The Windows Image viewer wouldn't read the RAW files, so what do you do? The answer, as always, is Google for a free solution. It turns out that most of the major manufacturers of digital cameras are now putting out CODEC files so that ......

Posted On Friday, March 28, 2008 5:59 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

Bigfoot Is Two Inches Tall
File this under "take you lessons from all parts of life". Recently there has been a lot of buzz about a picture of "Bigfoot" on Mars taken by the Spirit rover. As an amateur astronomer and a skeptic this has been humorous and disturbing to watch. You have to wonder how people could actually believe that this might be a life form. We are talking about a planet with very little atmosphere and no magnetic field to protect it from cosmic radiation. If you take a look at Emily Lakdawalla's blog post ......

Posted On Sunday, January 27, 2008 10:54 PM

Risk Aversion In Software Development
Managing a software development project is always a risk versus benefit balancing act. It seems that lately the scales have tipped way over to the side of reducing risk rather than supplying benefit. What do you do when you have a problem with an application but a fix won't be allowed because there is a work around? The benefit needs to be put into terms of savings. Does the solution require regular intervention on the part of a support team or is the user delayed in their work while waiting for ......

Posted On Thursday, January 24, 2008 12:03 PM

Deciding On Photo Editing Software
Ok, so if you didn't already know it I am a shutter bug. Everyone who is into photography knows that the big dog on the block is Photoshop CS3. Unfortunately if you don't get paid for your photography or get the "CEO's" approval for such an expenditure it is just way too expensive. So lately I have been looking at alternatives. This post will describe some of the plusses and minuses of a couple of editing packages. So which applications did I look at: Paint.NET, Nikon Capture NX, Paint Shop Pro Photo ......

Posted On Wednesday, December 5, 2007 10:20 PM

VS2008 Express Edition - You Get What You Pay For
I no longer work for a company that readily supplies me with MSDN software so I have to get Visual Studio for myself this time around. To that end I figured I would investigate the Express Edition. The first thing I noticed is the separation of project types. You can only do Windows or Web applications. You can't do both. I was wondering if the "search online templates" in the Create Project dialog might give some more options, but this lead to nowhere. The next step I am looking at is if you can ......

Posted On Friday, November 30, 2007 10:55 PM

Vista and New Machine Annoyances
I have had my new machine for about two weeks now. There are a number of things that are bugging me. Some of them are definitely Vista related. Some of them might be the machine or might be Vista. The first thing is that nothing is where it used to be. The screen saver utility is no longer in Display. It is now in Personalization. Oh, and by the way, Display no longer appears in the Control Panel, it's under Personalization. So once you find the screen saver setting try selecting Photos. Even if ......

Posted On Thursday, October 25, 2007 3:21 PM

A Quote From My Favorite Author

I heard this on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe and had to post it since it works for science as well as software development.  It also happens to be from one of my favorite authors.

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'" (Isaac Asimov)

Posted On Tuesday, September 11, 2007 12:09 PM

David Hayden On .NET Rocks
This latest show really interested me since the topic was Enterprise Library. It is a subject that is near and dear to my heart since I spent significant amount of time working on a few chapters of a book for the 2.0 release. I have to admit I haven't had much time to keep up lately and had even forgotten that they had moved it to CodePlex. I found the application blocks that were added for 3.0 exciting. The fact that there is now a validation application block and a policy injection application ......

Posted On Monday, August 13, 2007 10:32 PM

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

So What Is .NET Again?
As I have mentioned before I am a consultant. Add to that the fact that I have been doing software development professionally for about twelve years and that means that I am moving into higher level work. Unfortunately that means less time that I am getting my hands dirty in the code. This is a painful transition, especially for a code junkie like me. So what is the prescription to ease my discomfort. I think it is time to bury myself in some serious code learning. I figure I have a number of books ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:19 PM

Are Heavy Metal Bands Like Software Developers
This one is for Andrew who essentially threw the gauntlet down (whether he knew it or not) for me to write this post. So are members of heavy metal bands like software developers? I am going to say yes, and here are the reasons: They are both creative (or at least we like to think we are) Both can have serious attitudes They don't like the way the previous generation did things (big band and COBOL) Like to put together complicated combinations from the basic parts of their art Ok, it might be a little ......

Posted On Friday, March 23, 2007 3:10 AM

How Are Martial Arts Like Software Development

Around the end of high school I studied Tae Kwon Do for a short period of time. Now my oldest son is taking Goju-Shorei at the local park district which has gotten me re-interested in the subject. Aside from causing pain in my muscles which demonstrates that I'm not a teenager any more it has had another affect. It got me thinking about its similarities between martial arts and software development.

Posted On Monday, March 19, 2007 5:04 PM

Mobile Client Software Factory Podcast
Sometimes I envy Ron Jacobs. On a recent ARCast he talked with Daniel Cazzulino about the Mobile Client Software Factory. From the discussion it sounds like this guidance package greatly simplifies mobile development and I could see this being incorporated into future versions of the Compact Framework. One cool thing they discuss is that they had to rework the Object Builder components to remove the realtime reflection from the Dependency Injection pattern that it uses. The biggest surprise was that ......

Posted On Thursday, December 21, 2006 11:02 AM

Something To Add To My Reading List
I was listening to the latest episode of .NET Rocks! with Venkat Subramaniam and Andrew Hunt where they were talking about there new book. It sounds like some really good stuff. These guys were ripping jokes back and forth through the entire show and using those jokes to make points on how software development should be approached. One memorable term that was used a couple of times is "code vomit". Any book that can put concepts that eloquently is getting added to my library as soon as possible ......

Posted On Thursday, December 7, 2006 12:44 PM

User Friendly Devices?
My MP3 player decided to take a dirt nap this morning so I went out to buy a new one. The first thing that I noticed is that all of the new players are USB changed. While this may be good for the environment it isn't good for long rides to work. Actually it is a conspiracy to sell more junk. Now you need a mobile changer for your MP3 player. SUCKER! I found one that looked like it had decent features and bought it. Now maybe I am just a geek, but I don't want to have to install software to deal with ......

Posted On Tuesday, October 31, 2006 12:00 AM

Another Podcast to Add to Your List
The other day I was looking to see if any new podcasts had popped up around .NET Development or Software Architecture. Well I did find one. Net Objectives has started (OK, they have been doing this since May) a podcast on Lean-Agile. I have only listened to the first episode so far. While the host, Jim Trott, has a monotone, metered presentation I was impressed by his conversation the company's founder Alan Shalloway. In the first episode Alan gives one of the best descriptions of Agile development ......

Posted On Friday, September 29, 2006 8:53 AM

Catastrophe Projects - Looking in the Mirror
I have had this sample chapter sitting on my desktop for a couple of weeks now. Tonight I decided it was time to read it or close it. Thankfully I chose to read it. By the definition of this book, “Catastrophe Disentanglement: Getting Software Projects Back on Track”, the project that I am currently on is a catastrophe. Sure we keep knocking out bugs, but at the same time they keep adding more and more functionality and extensions to the project. As this chapter suggest I think it is ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 23, 2006 1:34 AM

Chicago IASA Chapter
For those of you who have not heard of it, IASA is the International Association of Software Architects. It is dedicated to the goals of networking, knowledge, advocacy and ethics in the practice of IT Architects. On Friday I had lunch with Bhaskar Chakrabarti who is the head of the Chicago Chapter. It sounds like things are getting ready to fire up. He is looking to have the first official meeting in July or August and hopes to have a well recognized speaker for the event. If you are in Chicago ......

Posted On Sunday, May 14, 2006 2:29 AM

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