Skip to main content

Why Technical Blogging?

Given this is my fifth year of blogging I figured it would be worth while answering "Why bother with technical blogging?".

Get Writing

Write about anything. Just get started, providing it fits your core focus. This blog focuses on programming and software development related topics, so anything that falls within this category is fair game. Take a single idea and from this one blog post you can generate many more ideas. This is where my upcoming list comes from. A single post can spawn many others and the process will repeat itself.

Honest posts, that focus on your experiences tend to be the most well received. Quality over quantity also factors. I try to focus posts, rather than going for length or in depth topics. My early posts are very rough around the edges, they will continue to improve as time goes by. Ultimately the more you blog, the better you'll become at it.


Finding the time to create posts is quite difficult. Making and sticking to a schedule can help immensely though. Since adopting a weekly schedule, this has lead to a steady stream of posts. In turn these posts lead to a steady stream of views. Being completely honest, getting started was hard. Following a schedule and using the advice in this post can help though. Initially you may spend a long time working on content, but overtime this will reduce.


The best advice is to ignore view counts. High view counts make you feel great, but there is much more to writing content than simply generating stats. Your highest viewed posts may very well surprise you, likewise content you feel should be seen by everyone can struggle. Rather than views, interactions are much more rewarding. Any content that gets a retweet, reply or email is much more satisfying.


In the area of technical blogging the majority of interactions are good natured. People are overwhelmingly nice in most cases. Twitter tends to yield positive comments or retweets partly due to the use of real names in most cases. Article submission sites can be a mixed bag, but for any negativity the view count to comment ratio will balance out. A lot of interesting followers are discovered thanks to this blog.

Benefit Yourself

Regular posts allows you to practice writing, which is a surprisingly enjoyable activity when you enjoy the content.

I learn a lot from doing, but I also find writing down what I have learned or discovered is incredibly valuable. Having an archive of content that I find important is a huge help. If you've learned something new? Blog about it. If you've talked about something relevant? Blog about it. This helps with the generation of new content.

Having an archive of posts is great for reflection. Looking back over old posts and confirming whether or not I still agree helps with learning. Have I discovered anything new since? Just the act of re-reading and refreshing myself with a concept can be useful. This tactic combined with a developer diary has proved a powerful combination.

Career Benefits

Additionally to personal benefits, regularly blogging has had a big impact on my career. It has helped me during job interviews as it helps provide evidence for my claims. Most surprisingly eighteen months ago I was offered the chance to help write a book. Unfortunately due to a new house and job I was forced to decline the offer at the time, however without technical blogging and other writing there is no chance I would have had this opportunity.

Within the last couple of weeks I have received contacts from numerous recruiters. As part of these there was a personalised email, which not only detailed my blog but clearly saw other online contributions. This recruiter went above and beyond the norm. While I never worked with them, this polite and encouraging email is yet another benefit of technical blogging.

The book Techinical Blogging by @acangiano is a great starting place for more information and advice.


Popular posts from this blog

Three Steps to Code Quality via TDD

Common complaints and problems that I've both encountered and hear other developers raise when it comes to the practice of Test Driven Development are: Impossible to refactor without all the tests breakingMinor changes require hours of changes to test codeTest setup is huge, slow to write and difficult to understandThe use of test doubles (mocks, stubs and fakes is confusing)Over the next three posts I will demonstrate three easy steps that can resolve the problems above. In turn this will allow developers to gain one of the benefits that TDD promises - the ability to refactor your code mercifully in order to improve code quality.StepsStop Making Everything PublicLimit the Amount of Dependencies you Use A Unit is Not Always a Method or ClassCode quality is a tricky subject and highly subjective, however if you follow the three guidelines above you should have the ability to radically change implementation details and therefore improve code quality when needed.

DRY vs DAMP in Tests

In the previous post I mentioned that duplication in tests is not always bad. Sometimes duplication becomes a problem. Tests can become large or virtually identically excluding a few lines. Changes to these tests can take a while and increase the maintenance overhead. At this point, DRY violations need to be resolved.SolutionsTest HelpersA common solution is to extract common functionality into setup methods or other helper utilities. While this will remove and reduce duplication this can make tests a bit harder to read as the test is now split amongst unrelated components. There is a limit to how useful such extractions can help as each test may need to do something slightly differently.DAMP - Descriptive and Meaningful PhrasesDescriptive and Meaningful Phrases is the alter ego of DRY. DAMP tests often use the builder pattern to construct the System Under Test. This allows calls to be chained in a fluent API style, similar to the Page Object Pattern. Internally the implementation wil…

Coding In the Real World

As a student when confronted with a problem, I would end up coding it and thinking - how do the professionals do this?For some reason I had the impression that once I entered the industry I would find enlightenment. Discovering the one true way to write high quality, professional code.It turns out that code in industry is not too far removed from the code I was writing back when I knew very little.Code in the real world can be:messy or cleanhard or easy to understandsimple or complexeasy or hard to changeor any combination of the aboveVery rarely will you be confronted with a problem that is difficult. Most challenges typically are formed around individuals and processes, rather than day to day coding. Years later I finally have the answer. Code in the real world is not that much different to code we were all writing when we first started out.If I could offer myself some advice back in those early days it would be to follow KISS, YAGNI and DRY religiously. The rest will fall into plac…

Feature Toggles

I'm a fan of regular releasing. My background and experience leads me to release as regularly as possible. There are numerous benefits to regular releases; limited risk, slicker release processes and the ability to change as requirements evolve.The problem with this concept is how can you release when features are not functionally complete?SolutionIf there is still work in progress, one solution to allow frequent releases is to use feature toggles. Feature toggles are simple conditional statements that are either enabled or disabled based on some condition.This simple example shows a feature toggle for an "Edit User" feature. If the boolean condition is false, then we only show the "New User" feature and the "Admin" feature. This boolean value will be provided by various means, usually a configuration file. This means at certain points we can change this value in order to demonstrate the "Edit User" functionality. Our demo environment could …

Reused Abstraction Principle

This is the second part of my series on abstractions.Part 1 - AbstractionsPart 3 - Dependency Elimination PrincipleThe Reused Abstraction Principle is a simple in concept in practice, but oddly rarely followed in typical enterprise development. I myself have been incredibly guilty of this in the past.Most code bases have a 1:1 mapping of interfaces to implementations. Usually this is the sign of TDD or automated testing being applied badly. The majority of these interfaces are wrong. 1:1 mappings between interfaces and implementations is a code smell.Such situations are usually the result of extracting an interface from an implementation, rather than having the client drive behaviour.These interfaces are also often bad abstractions, known as "leaky abstractions". As I've discussed previously, these abstractions tend to offer nothing more than simple indirection.ExampleApply the "rule of three". If there is only ever one implementation, then you don't need …