Practical, easy-to-understand guides for software developers and engineers.

Hello, my name’s Tom Donohue, and this is my web site. Welcome. :-)

Here on Clever Builder, I write tutorials and articles to simplify and explain Java, middleware and cloud technology.

When I first started working in technology, I found it difficult to understand many concepts. Stack Overflow barely existed back then, and books were often impenetrable.

Thankfully things have improved a lot! But a lot of technical documentation can still be frustratingly complex for beginners, and assumes that you already know the thing you’re trying to use (kind of the wrong way round, isn’t it?).

And these days we also have Stack Overflow, but it’s focused on short, sharp, answers to specific problems, and there’s rarely any opportunity to discuss or even explain the why. Typical Stack Overflow question:

  • “Hey, type in this one command. Your problem is solved!”
  • “Sorry, what does that mean???”
  • “Please ask a new question.”

I decided to start sharing my knowledge and teaching everything I know. I write clear, simple tutorials about the tools I work with every day.

I write to help you understand and get better skills, and to give back to the community.

What do I write about?

On this site, I write about:

  • Java
  • Containers (let’s containerise all of the things)
  • Platform-as-a-service (PaaS, iPaaS, xPaaS)
  • DevOps and continuous integration (CI)
  • Cloud
  • Application integration and messaging
  • Microservices

I mostly focus on open source software. Why open source? Because the best tools these days are open source – Docker, Camel and Kubernetes, to name just a few. Open source is in a very good place.

A little more about me

I haven’t always worked in middleware and cloud apps. I first started out as a web designer, and even dabbled with Flash.

I studied Java at university, but drifted away from it. Instead I spent a large amount of time slogging away at jobs in Oracle’s PL/SQL (curious language).

Then I moved onto projects involving Oracle SOA Suite and Spring Framework, which got me back into the Java scene again, specifically web services and integration. And that’s where I’ve been happily ever since.

Today, in my job as a consultant, I work with some of the most interesting tools, like Kubernetes, OpenShift and Apache Camel. And I really enjoy that.


I started this site to start to share everything I know – and some of my opinions. I’m trying to share stuff as I learn.

I’m not a born expert. I go through the same pains as you when I’m learning this stuff. But I hope that by sharing knowledge as I pick it up, you can learn quicker than I did.

If there’s something you’d like to see on the site, or you’ve got any feedback, please get in touch.

Thanks very much for visiting!

Tom