A collection of software concepts I plan to apply to some up coming projects. Some fundamental philosophies:

  • Automation everywhere.
  • A clean (agnostic) contract with the underlying operating system, promoting portability between execution environments.
  • Can scale without major changes to tooling, architecture or development.
  • Smallest possible delta between development and production, enabling continuous integration.


  • Processes are first class citizens. Execute the application as one or more stateless processes.
  • Model process types explicitly, e.g. HTTP requests might be handled by a web process, while long running backend tasks by a worker process.
  • Always rely on the operating systems user-space process manager (e.g. systemd, Upstart) to manage output streams, respond to crashed processes and handle user initiated restarts and shutdowns.
  • Concurrency;
  • Physical distribution and clean contract with operating system, e.g. containers (e.g. docker).
  • Versioning; the ability to deploy and hotswap versions side by side.
  • Pluggable; ability to snap modules into architecture (punch through all layers), see attached resources under backing services.
  • Store all runtime configuration as environmental variables. They are a language and OS agnostic standard, and unlike other config options such as Java System Properties, are not accidentially added into the source code repo.

The array of process types and number of processes of each type is known as the process formation.

“Backing” Services Layer

  • Treat backing services as attached resources.
  • Represent these resources, both local and third-party, as resource handles; e.g. postgres://auth@host/db, smtp://auth@host/, https://auth@s3.aws.com/, rabbitmq://auth@host/q.
  • Resources can be attached and detacted at will.
  • Queuing.
  • Events are king; model them as first class citizens.
  • Contract first.
  • Mapping layer.
  • Idempotency - i.e. the ability to call a service multiple times with the same data, without it being lame.
  • Security.
  • Serialization e.g. protobuf.


  • Publish subscribe.
  • Mapping layer.
  • Circuit breakers/retry.
  • Flow control.
  • Dependency injection; mockable, can change.
  • Transactions; i.e. “the million dollar invoice message” (JMS).
  • Compensation/failure.
  • Versioning.
  • Facades around all third party APIs.
  • Tracing for diagnostics.
  • Auditing.
  • Transport and message level security.
  • Distributed event bus (kafka).

Business Layer

  • Loose coupling via contracts and publish subscribe.
  • Events.
  • Entities.
  • Dependency injection.
  • Mockable and testable.
  • Reactive (non-blocking concurrency).
  • Business rule engine.

Exception Handling and Logging

  • Treat logs as event streams e.g. kafka.
  • Central facade.
  • Policy driven e.g. abililty to alter behaviour without rewriting code.
  • Distributed tracing e.g. zipkin.
  • Regressions should be pinned down with unit tests.

Monitoring and Health

  • ELK (elasticsearch, logstash and kibana) stack.
  • Health check REST endpoint.
  • Capacity monitoring and logs.
  • Infrastructure monitoring (jvm, database, disk, memory, processor).
  • Self healing (proactive forecasting).


  • DB vendor agnostic.
  • ORM (object relational mapper).
  • Replication.
  • Hashing/encryption.
  • Schema modification control scheme (e.g. dbup).
  • Reference data control scheme.
  • Distributed cache (Memcached).


  • Run administrative tasks (e.g. database migrations, accessing a REPL to inspect the live app, running one off scripts that are committed into the source repo, etc) as one-off processes.

Build Tooling

  • Dependency management (i.e. Maven, Gradle).
  • Static analysis (e.g. FindBugs, Sonarqube).
  • Task and issue management (JIRA).
  • Security analysis.
  • Unit tests, stubs, fakes, mocks.
  • Repeatable robust builds (autotools, Maven).


  • Pre-aggregated document objects.
  • Hadoop.

User Interface

  • Action based MVC, e.g. Spring MVC.
  • Clean data contracts with UI, enabling stateful clients; e.g. Angular, React.
  • Stateless (session = evil), see processes above. Session state is a prime candidate for a datastore that offer time-expiration, e.g. Memcached, Redis.
  • Web; minification, bundling.
  • CSS with benefits - e.g. SASS/LESS.
  • Bot interfaces (i.e. conversational based).
  • Assign user unique identifier.