Tackling Complexity in the Heart of DDD

Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Domain-Driven Design

Let’s do a little experiment: try to explain the gist of Domain-Driven Design to someone who has no clue about it. This, especially doing it succinctly, is not easy. Heck, I struggle with it myself. Bounded contexts, entities, domain events, value objects, domains, aggregates, repositories… where do you even start?

To find the order in the apparent chaos, I want to analyze the DDD methodology from a rather unusual perspective — by applying Domain-Driven Design to Domain-Driven Design itself. After all, this methodology is intended to deal with complex domains, isn’t it?

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A Quick and Dirty Hack for Interviewing Job Candidates

A Quick and Dirty Hack for Interviewing Job Candidates

One simple question can shed a lot of light on one’s competency in a given field: “On a scale of 1 to 10, please rate your knowledge of [enter-name-of-the-field-here]“.

One can assume that the higher the grade, the better. But that’s not the case at all. Why? Science — that’s why. Enter the Dunning-Kruger effect.

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DDDEU 2016 Impressions

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the Domain Driven Design Europe conference in Brussels. As I’ve tweeted before, this was the best conference I’ve ever attended. In this post, I’d like to sum the things I’ve learned at the conference.

It’s Not (Only) About Sessions

It was the first time I’ve attended a conference alone. Honestly, I was afraid that my introverted side would take over, and I’d master wallflower imitation techniques between sessions. Fortunately, it didn’t happen. I felt at home the moment I left the hotel for the conference. From that moment on, and up until the very last moments of the conference, I met a lot of like-minded people from all over the world - Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Austria, UK, Poland, Italy, France, USA, Finland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Romania, Bulgaria, and even from Israel.

For me, the social part, alone, was worth the trip. And don’t get me wrong, the sessions were great, but the ability to meet new friends, share experiences and ideas, and get fresh perspectives, was priceless. And I’m yet to mention discussing Star Wars with Eric Evans, discovering that Vaughn Vernon knows Israel better than I do, catching up with Greg Young, and last but not least, drinking beer with Yves Reynhout — it is unbelievable how much I learned from Yves that evening.

Lesson learned: Go to conferences alone and meet new people.

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TDD: What Went Wrong…Or Did It?

Test Driven Development has been praised by our industry’s aficionados for a long time. However, lately there have been many harsh words said towards TDD, as it’s being blamed for causing bad software design and not keeping many of its promises. This trend culminated in David Heinemeierhansson’s post “TDD is dead. Long live testing”.

How is it possible, that the same technique, which is so advantageous to so many developers, is so disastrous to others? In this post I want to talk about 3 misconceptions that might explain this phenomenon.

Let’s start with the subtlest and most destructive one.

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Serving Flask with Nginx

Having spent the majority of my career in the Microsoft stack, lately I’ve decided to step out of my comfort zone and to dive into the world of open source software. The project I’m currently working on at my day job is a RESTful service. The service will be running on a commodity hardware, that should be able to scale horizontally as needed. To do the job I’ve decided to use Flask and Nginx. Flask is a lightweight Python web framework, and nginx is a highly stable web server, that works great on cheap hardware.

In this post I will guide you through the process of installing and configuring nginx server to host Flask based applications. The OS I’ll be using is Ubuntu 13.04.

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Last week I’ve needed a utility to convert a file containing json data to csv. I found many online solutions, but for some weird reason they didn’t support nested objects and arrays. So I wrote one, this time in python.

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Introducing SQL2JSON

If you’ll ever try to generate JSON file using Sql Server’s Management Studio, probably there’ll be lots of pain in your future. If you wanna save the pain, you can use SQL2JSON, an open source project I started last week.

The idea was born out of a need to generate a huge JSON file containing data from MSSQL database. After seeing our DBA struggling with formatting, escaping weird characters and unicode strings, I decided to write a small utility that will do just that - execute a sql query and capture its results as a json file.

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Unicode file names in Python 2.7

Today I wrote a small script to find and delete duplicate files. To do this task I needed to iterate over files in a specific folder, and calculate md5 checksum for each file:

for folder, subs, files in os.walk(path):
    for filename in files:
        file_path = os.path.join(folder, filename)
	        with open(file_path, 'rb') as fh:

If the source folder contains a file or a folder with unicode characters in it, execution of the code results in this bummer:

IOError: [Errno 22] invalid mode ('rb') or filename: 'files\\????????? ????? ????????.txt'
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Uncoupling Configuration Files

Tight coupling is a known source for inflexible and hard to test code. In this post I want to talk about a rather unexpected source of tight coupling - configuration files. Configuration files are external dependencies. As other external dependencies, its infrastructure may change in the future, and it should be easily mocked for unit testing. Modern software frameworks provide means for easy access to the values stored in configuration files. In the .NET framework configuration files can be accessed using the ConfigurationManager:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <add key="Foo" value="1"/>
    <add key="Bar" value="2"/>
int foo = int.Parse(ConfigurationManager.AppSetttings[“Foo”]);
int bar = int.Parse(ConfigurationManager.AppSettings[“Bar”]);

ConfigurationManager makes it trivial to access data in the config file, however in most cases it also introduces various code smells that make the code tight coupled and hard to test. In the next sections I’ll introduce a simple class and will use it to demonstrate the code smells and violations of principles of clean object oriented design. The code will be gradually refactored to a better and cleaner solution.

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Learning From Mistakes: Leaky Abstractions

On the project I’m working on I’ve had a requirement to store and read files from the file system. Alse the files had to be accessible from the web.

Having a gut feeling that the infrastructure may change as the business will grow, I decided to hide operations on the file system behind an interface:

public interface IFilesStorage {
    string StoreFile(Stream stream, string fileName);
    Stream GetFile(string virtualPath);
    string GetFileUrl(string virtualPath);
    string GetFilePath(string virtualPath);

As it looks, if someday I’ll need to switch from the file system to another storage mechanism, I’ll be able to do get the job done by writing another implementation of the interface. Right? Wrong! The requirement did come in - I’ve had to store the files in S3. And only then I realised that IFilesStorage is a leaky abstraction.

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