uncle bob

There are a handful of software engineers who have changed the face of programming for the better of everyone. Robert ‘Uncle Bob’ Martin is one such software engineer. After a few false starts, Norfolk Developers was finally able to play host to the man himself, at a very special NorDev evening.

Bob was training at Skills Matter in London and agreed to come and see us in Norwich after the final day. So we put our faith in Abellio Greater Anglia to get him to Norwich in time for the later than usual kick off. Our faith was well placed as the 1730 from London Liverpool street rolled into Norwich on time.

I was manning the door, as I often do, when one of the guys I used to work with at Aviva appeared grinning from ear-to-ear and asking me “Is he here? Is he really here?”. I wasn’t the only one who was excited!

Bob has a huge personality and this is enhanced by a commanding voice with a very entertaining tone. He started off by asking us how many biological parents and grandparents and great grandparents, etc. we all had. This led onto the topic of man’s evolution and migration from Africa to the rest of the world, clearly a topic of great interest to Uncle Bob.

Then we got into architecture. Bob took us through how to design systems in a way which decouples them from the frameworks used to deploy and interact with them. He explained the importance of interface boundaries and how they help make systems easier to write automated tests for and allow many of the architectural decisions to be delayed as long as possible. In one example, which database to use was deferred for so long, that it was never needed.

Bob was as entertaining as he was informative. A strong message delivered with elegance and well timed humour. The hour flew by and after a couple of questions, Bob grabbed a beer, signed some books and spoke to everyone. We know he enjoyed his time with us and we loved having him here. We hope Bob will be back soon.

There are a number of other speakers we want to bring to Norwich, like Michael Feathers, who is coming to open NorDevCon in February. Dan North, Mike Cohn, Kent Beck, Andrei Alexandrescu, Scott Meyers and James Coplien are also on the ‘wanted’ list!

Paul Grenyer