Welcome to Frontier Town

 5 February 2009 -  ~3 Minutes Misc

Hello! I’m starting a blog. While the rest of the world is starting to catch on to Twitter, and social networking is now a normal part of life for many, I’m just entering the 21st century with a blog.

A blog will usually follow something about the author’s life, so it’s relevant to talk about me for a second. I’m a software engineer, and have been for about 10 years or so, so I consider myself to be experienced. I’ve been working in C# on .Net for the last three or four years, and ASP.NET specifically for the last two. Before that I did a lot of work in C++ on UNIX and embedded systems. I’ve been a Linux enthusiast for all of those 10 years and, although I’m using it less, still believe in open source and use many of its tools daily. All in all, I hope a wide and varied experience.

Moving away from work, I live in Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m not Scottish, though - I moved here after graduating. Edinburgh is a brilliant city and I’ve no plans to leave it for some time! I’ve been vaguely interested in photography and recently got my first D-SLR camera, so you may be lucky to see me post some of my best photographs.

But the main focus of this blog will be my work. Like many people, I’m in search of the perfect workplace - and, like many people, I haven’t found it yet. But my current workplace has the potential to be, and I will be working hard to improve it. The software engineering literature is full of lots of techniques to make software development much more productive - techniques like test-driven development, agile methods, continuous integration, as well as the traditional software engineering processes like defect tracking and release management. But how does a small software business, starting from little process, get there? I’m following this journey, and will be sharing the steps I (and the rest of the team at my workplace) at taking.

Edit: since first writing this post, I have changed jobs and now work for a startup company - with a whole new set of challenges!

My first few posts are likely to be fairly unimaginitive - basically, a couple of book reviews - but I hope to get in to more original posts as I go. My aim is to post regularly, every week (although I expect that this will occasionally drop to every two weeks) on Tuesday mornings UK time.

I hope that you find some useful information here. Please feel free to comment on any articles - I hope to take a generally hands-off approach to comment moderation, and simply ask that you be nice, and reserve the right to delete comments that aren’t.

Finally, where does the name “frontier town” come from? Read this news article to find out the back story - I was living in this area at the time it happened, and heard a radio journalist refer to the place as a new frontier town, and decided to adopt the term when I bought an Internet domain for myself.

About the author

Richard Downer is a software engineer turned cloud solutions architect, specialising in AWS, and based in Scotland. Richard's interest in technology extends to retro computing and amateur hardware hacking with Raspberry Pi and FPGA.