remote work for Metaficient

I’m part of a small startup called Metaficient. We are building an end-user programming environment that lets accountants define their own accounting system. Our first app is a back-office system for a small to medium sized hedge fund. It was developed by one accountant who is an expert on hedge funds, with support from the programmers who bulit the platform. If you were to join us, you’d be working on the platform, not the applications.

The platform lets a business expert model his business, and then turn that model into an executable application. The applications run on the web. The business experts describe the interface at a high level (no HTML) and our web app renders that interface using Vaadin. I’m looking for a Vaadin expert to take over the web app. This expert would end up getting involved in designing the language for describing the interface. Our goal for the entire business modeling platform is to make it NOT be like programming, and that includes the interface description. Our target audience is accountants, not programmers. On the other hand, if you’ve ever seen the huge spreadsheets some of them create, you will realize that they are capable of a lot of technical complexity.

Ideally, you’d know a lot about web servers in general and could help me make architectural decisions. It would be great if you had some operational experience. We do not expect our web servers to be high volume any time soon, but will probably be running lots of medium volume servers.

We do not yet have funding for this position, but I’d like to talk to people so that we can start soon after we get funding. Realistically, funding is at least three or four months away. Once we get funding, we should be able to offer a two-year contract. Location is irrelevant, since we are a distributed team.

I’ve been programming since 1973. I have a PhD in computer science from Cornell and was a professor at the University of Illinois until recently, teaching object-oriented design and software engineering. I’m one of the co-authors of Design Patterns and was the co-author of the first paper to use the word “refactoring”. My research group made the first automated refactoring tool, the Smalltalk Refactoring Browser. I retired from the university to focus on developing this platform, since I think it can have a bigger impact than anything else I’ve done.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact me at or

-Ralph Johnson