Just enough software

Learn about how we think about delivering just enough software

As described in our principles, we focus on delivering just enough software. That means we think very iteratively at a macro level and deliver just enough to make something work. We do not compromise on quality and our principles of working, but scope things down to be exactly what we need to get the feature ready to be used.

Every feature added to parts of the Dolittle platform has different development stages. For each of these stages there is a set of REQUIRED capabilities associated with it. The capabilities expected vary somewhat between the different type of features and due to the nature of the feature becomes OPTIONAL. Some things has a natural public endpoint, while others don’t.

The driving force behind defining the different stages is to get a rapid feedback loop. Deliver the bare minimum and gain experience and improve.

In no way does this mean that a feature is parked or finished, it should constantly evolve and be iterated on.

We define the stages as general:

Stage Description
0 Proof of concept - proving a piece of functionality
1 Minimum viable solution - it should work, but does not have the experience of use yet
2 Basic tooling - typically something like CLI access - if applicable
3 Advanced tooling - typically in the sense of a UI - if applicable
4 Developer tools - extensions to supported developer tools like IDEs or similar


At the core of everything we do we require the following:


All units of code should have automated specifications around them. It is not a goal of 100% coverage of code lines, but close to a 100% coverage of critical logic and the interaction between systems - which is mocked out.

Core Principles

At the heart of everything we do sits our core values, core principles and development principles that are to be considered required and prerequisites for this to work. That means we build with the values and principles at hand.

For more details on contribution, read more here. You should also read more about the vision.


Part of understanding a system is to be able to in production bubble up what it going on and follow execution paths. Logging helps with this and is a minimum requirement.

Cross Cutting

Throughout the different stages, hardening needs to be done. Once it has left the first stage and into a system and runs in production; the learning of what works and what doesn’t comes. This needs to be fed into the production immediately and takes priority.

Stage 0

Some features needs to be proven before it gets commitment from the platform. In this phase you might piggyback off of other peoples work and do the shortest path to proving the functionality you’re aiming for. A concrete example in Dolittle has been the proving of inter-bounded context communication where the first version that proved all the concepts was built on top of Kafka. While Kafka was not a viable solution for the long run.

Stage 0 is an OPTIONAL stage. Some functionality don’t need this stage as it is ready to be developed into Stage 1 directly.

Stage 1

When coming up with new functionality it is very important to gain experience from it as soon as possible. The first stage represents the MVP - Minimum Viable Product, or in our case solution. Getting it into systems that proves what works and what does not and feed the result back as soon as possible is the primary objective for this stage.


Some features requires the recording of telemetry. The telemetry is used by the platform to keep track of different performance indicators. This could be details like time spent processing, hit-count or similar. If the functionality being build has a natural set of performance indicators or feeds indirectly into others, it needs to use the telemetry system for this.

Telemetry is OPTIONAL and depends on the nature of the functionality being built.


The most important aspect of any new feature is to work on the design of the API - the surface that is being used. Getting the implementation wrong is much more forgiving than getting the design of the API surface wrong. Most effort should go into the design and the API.

API is REQUIRED. Either it is an internal API or a public API, it still is the contract and needs the most attention.

API Documentation

All code artifacts should adhere to the language specific approach to document the API. In C# for instance, it should be in the form of XML documentation.

API Documentation is REQUIRED

Public APIs - Interaction

Some features are expected to be used in Dolittle tools, be it CLI tools, All public APIs must dogfood Dolittle. This means that all APIs are represented as Commands and Queries and has a full cycle. State changes must be represented as events. A public API in Dolittle is not represented as a REST API, although that is one of the interaction layers available. A REST API is just one of many options for the different entrypoints (Commands / Queries).

Public APIs is OPTIONAL. Not all functionality needs to be interacted with and is just used internally.

Stage 2

Vital part of the success of a lot of features is the capability of interacting with it through tooling. The tools organization holds the different tools, such as the CLI; which is often a starting point for a lot of the tools.

Other tooling experience could also be small widgets in Web developer tools.

Stage 2 is OPTIONAL. Not all functionality needs to be exposed in tooling.

Stage 3

Part of the Dolittle platform is the Studio - the portal in which you have the full overview of the runtime environment and management tools to help you manage running systems built with Dolittle.

Stage 3 is OPTIONAL. Not all functionality needs to be exposed in Studio.

Stage 4

In order to make it simpler for developers, providing proper tooling experience inside code editors or IDEs - can make it a lot more accessible. The tools organization holds the different tools, including developer tools that extends these.

Stage 4 is OPTIONAL. Not all functionality needs to be exposed in Developer Tools.

Last modified December 23, 2020: Change dolittle.io to docsy theme (3a7aed3)