Sunday October 09, 2011

Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns

I picked up a copy of Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns by Kent Beck because it’s generated quite a buzz in the Ruby circles I run in. It’s an excellent read and not just because Objective-C inherits some traits from Smalltalk.

I can’t say it often enough—the bottlenecks throughout development come from limitations in human communication. Over and over in the patterns, you will read “You could do this or you could do that, but this over here communicates best, so that’s what you should do.” If there’s a radical thought here, that’s it; that when you program, you have to think about how someone will read your code, not just how a computer will interpret it.

Indeed, and that is why every Mac or iOS developer should give this book a chance. Kent goes out of his way to avoid condescention or tell you what must be done in every circumstance. He’s opinionated, sure, as any master of a trade should be. But he is so sensitive to context that you will find valuable tips and tricks even if what he describes doesn’t quite fit your problem domain or language.

Many of the software engineers I run with are a racous bunch. We’re self made, self taught, and don’t want to be told how to do things. But there’s a difference between blindly following the rules and foolishly reinventing the wheel. Kent knows his stuff. Trust me, get this book.