Friday, January 14, 2011

Stardate 2011.14.1: Friday's Book

I like to read. Heck, I love reading. Reading is also incredibly important. As such, I'd like to start a kind of Friday book club, where I review a book I've read or am reading and make recommendations based on it.

The first book is what should be largely considered to be the Bible of Software Design. It is Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices, by Uncle Bob Martin. The link to the book links to the C# version of the book, but I actually found the C++ book to be a bit better.

The work produced by Robert Martin in this book is quite prolific. It is built upon a solid foundation of scientific thinking about programming and I really appreciate that aspect of it. It is reminiscent of the good old days of C++ programming with Scott Meyers and Herb Sutter. Here are some


Solid SOLID discussion: This book was the first one to completely and clearly define all of the SOLID principles, to my knowledge. These include all of the principles that I've talked about before. They are incredibly useful and can almost be used to create a quantifiable design metric that tells you the quality of a given system. There are a lot of resources on the web about the SOLID principles, including Robert Martin's own blog, so I'll leave it up to you to research them.

Surprising project design discussion: When I first read the book, I hadn't really encountered much in terms of setting up physical project solutions. This book goes into great detail about the various principles that can be used to set up the projects in your solutions and it works incredibly well for the book, despite more of a focus on patterns and principles for the real code and not just the structure of the projects.

Practical pattern discussion: Whenever I see that someone has written a blog post or a new book on patterns, I die a little on the inside. 99% of these efforts are garbage, and half of the remaining percent are written without including any real code or practical examples. On the other hand, Robert Martin's books never lack for code and it's code that makes sense. It's not always enterprise-level code, but it can easily be analyzed and taken and used on enterprise-level code.


BYOBB? That's a typo: While I like the book in general, my near-OCD for proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation makes most of Robert Martin's books somewhat difficult to read. I'm not sure who the editor for them is, but most of the time, a problem text can be figured out with a little thought. At the same time, they're not really significantly worse than other programming books.

Diagram it!: There's a huge, huge focus on diagrams and things like this. I find this to be incredibly tedious. It may be quite, let's say, youthful of me, but I find diagrams to be quite distracting. They summarize the information somewhat well, but following them can lead to a significant disconnect with the actual code and I find this to be dangerous. At the same time, diagrams themselves often don't completely or accurately reflect the evolution of the code over time, so it's another piece of waste that ends up being generated, and very few people will ever look at it, preferring rather to just dive right into the code.

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