October 20, 2005


I (almost) had the opportunity to introduce Martin Fowler's (superb) talk on Finding Good Design at OOPSLA 2005 this week. Fortunately, an alert functionary in the ACM's Office of Protocol, correctly having observed that my name was nowhere to be found in the Conference Peerage, was able to heroically and single-handedly avert what could have been an appalling affront to the conference's prestige.

Eugene Wallingford has done his usual masterful job providing the play-by-play for the talk itself. I might inject some color commentary once my own OOPSLA brain-dump has progressed a little further, but in the mean time, a few folks asked for the libretto for what became the scripted part of Ralph Johnson's intro. Here it is. Ralph did a terrific job paring it down. I'm continually amazed by what he can do with only arrow and delete keys to improve a piece.

It is fitting that we’ve convened in a place called Fashion Valley to talk about design. For in the realm of High Technology, just as in the realm of High Fashion, Design is a central concern.

And, In the glamorous and exotic world of object-oriented world of object-oriented software style, of code couture, if you will, the very best designers, the doyens of design, are known, as in the fashion world, by a single name: Kent, Ward, Ralph, Rebecca, and … Martin.

Martin's is a life is filled with glamorous models; his sketches of smashingly attired anorexic stick figures are transformed overnight, in factories in the Far East, into the season's hottest products.

Whether you commission designer code or buy it off the rack… …chances are you’ve had the opportunity to admire Martin’s work.

This season, when some trade rag paparazzi breathless ask: Who did your code? The answer the A-List Coder longs to give is … Martin.

Martin is, as well, the master of the Total Code Makeover. He is the Father of Modern Code Cosmetology.

Martin is a gifted distiller, a distiller of memes. He scours the hinterlands, patiently hand selecting only the finest raw materials. Martin lets them age, as if in an oak barrel. He takes ideas rough, fresh, impetuous and raw and ages them until they are mellifluous, smooth, soothing. and finally, palatable.

And he is, as I’m fond of saying, a pretty good writer for an Englishman…

He is the lead author of UML Dispelled, er, Distilled, still the volume of choice for those looking for a relatively painless introduction to this cartoon cult. Not least among this volume's virtues, it has often been said, is its brevity.

His seminal work on Analysis Pattern sets him apart from the mere scavengers that stalk our field.

His landmark volume on Refactoring took an obscure technology cultivated in the cornfields of rural Illinois, and turned it into a household word.

He’s got a new book out as well, Enterprise Application Patterns. I think it is about Star Trek, but I’m not sure.

Martin is the man who brought back basic black with his Martin Fowler Signature Line for Addison-Wesley.

Technical fads rise and fall like hem lines. But At the edge of the runway on the banks of the Refactoring Rubicon one designer stands alone. So, here to preview his fall collection is the fabulous Martin! Martin Fowler:

Posted by foote at October 20, 2005 10:56 AM