Main page

This web site contains the publicly-accessible work of Ciaran McHale. You can browse the work below, or go directly to the download page.

I have two mailing lists that you might like to join. If you want to receive (very occasional) announcements about new or updated material on this website then join the announcements mailing list. If you would like to contribute to the Skills You Need to Change the World training course then join the skills-dev mailing list.


Canthology (an abbreviation of create anthology) is software that makes it easy to create anthologies (and other documents) in PDF and HTML formats. You can read an Overview of Canthology (HTML) to learn about its useful capabilities.


As far as I know, Config4* (pronounced “config for star”) is by far the best configuration-file parser in the world.

I won’t bother trying to summarise why Config4* is so great. Instead, I suggest you read the Overview of Config4* Syntax (HTML) and Overview of the Config4* API (HTML) chapters of its “getting started” manual. (That manual is available in PDF format, if you prefer.)

So forget XML, JSON, Java properties files, the Windows Registry and the configuration-file parser that one of your colleagues hacked together in a few hours; they are incredibly mediocre and simplistic compared to the power and elegance of Config4*.

Training courses & presentations

The training courses page has several training courses that cover various subjects:

All the training courses have an unrestrictive open-source license so you can modify and reuse them as you want.

Ph.D. thesis

Synchronisation in Concurrent, Object-oriented Languages: Expressive Power, Genericity and Inheritance.


The humour page contains some humorous pieces that I have written.

Letters to Toby

On 17 February 2012, I became a father! You can find full details here. My wife and I asked well-wishers to not send us materialistic gifts, but rather to write a letter to Toby in which they explain how they help others and try to make the world a better place. We compiled the letters we received into an anthology called Letters to Toby. You can read this online (HTML), or download a PDF version:

You can also download the Canthology “source code” of the book, in case you want to use it as inspiration for how to use Canthology to create an anthology: zip file (2.0 MB);   compressed tar file (2.0 MB).

CORBA stuff

CORBA Explained Simply
A concise book for people who want a technical understanding of the concepts and terminology of CORBA without learning the low-level details.
CORBA Utilities version 2.1.7
A collection of utilities that dramatically simplify the development and deployment of C++ and Java CORBA applications.


My wife Bianca, who speaks four languages fluently, is writing a book for people who want to learn French. Although the book is not yet finished, one part of the book, Effective Resources for Learning French (308KB PDF), is quite mature and self-contained. This provides an annotated bibliography of books, audio courses, movies, music and websites for self-directed learners of French. It is suitable for all levels and ages.

Bianca may update that part of the book in the future, and would appreciate feedback to help her do so. If you have any ideas for improving Effective Resources for Learning French then please email her at or call her on her mobile telephone: +44-(0)7974-314-251.