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Fri 28 Nov 2003
The Joy of Discovery
Category : Commentary/patternsofs.txt
Yet another discovery brought about by a PayPal notification. The Enablers, Postfix and Sendmail, may not have brought in much in terms of remuneration but I think I've been rewarded in other ways.
I received a payment from Richard Gabriel and I followed the link back to his website, Dreamsongs.com.
I discovered an essay that he has written, called "Patterns of Software", and I've been making my way through the ideas he expressed there ever since, in between snatches at my "real" work.
It's very interesting reading, if you've ever spent any time thinking about why software development is hard, how to make it easier, and how to build things of beauty that also really work (and will continue to work).
I've come to accept that requests for changes to software never ends. Business strategy changes, the competition changes, the rules change - so the software has to change. Constantly.
Putting aside the hard problem of how to arrange to be paid for making all these changes, the conscientious developer is always grappling with the problem of design. How do you arrange things so that you can make changes, without bringing the whole edifice down.
I like the analogy he makes with architecture because building software is like building a house that will be used by normal human beings (though there are notable differences).
I don't have a summary to make, because reading it has stirred up a few thoughts and they will take some time to land. I just want to recommend "Patterns of Software" to others. Read it, please. It may be the best book ever written about the nature of software development, in ages.