Book Image

Understanding Software

By : Max Kanat-Alexander
Book Image

Understanding Software

By: Max Kanat-Alexander

Overview of this book

In Understanding Software, Max Kanat-Alexander, Technical Lead for Code Health at Google, shows you how to bring simplicity back to computer programming. Max explains to you why programmers suck, and how to suck less as a programmer. There’s just too much complex stuff in the world. Complex stuff can’t be used, and it breaks too easily. Complexity is stupid. Simplicity is smart. Understanding Software covers many areas of programming, from how to write simple code to profound insights into programming, and then how to suck less at what you do! You'll discover the problems with software complexity, the root of its causes, and how to use simplicity to create great software. You'll examine debugging like you've never done before, and how to get a handle on being happy while working in teams. Max brings a selection of carefully crafted essays, thoughts, and advice about working and succeeding in the software industry, from his legendary blog Code Simplicity. Max has crafted forty-three essays which have the power to help you avoid complexity and embrace simplicity, so you can be a happier and more successful developer. Max's technical knowledge, insight, and kindness, has earned him code guru status, and his ideas will inspire you and help refresh your approach to the challenges of being a developer.
Table of Contents (50 chapters)
Understanding Software
About the Author
Customer Feedback
The Engineer Attitude
The Singular Secret of the Rockstar Programmer
Software Design, in Two Sentences
Clues to Complexity
Ways To Create Complexity: Break Your API
When Is Backwards-Compatibility Not Worth It?
Complexity is a Prison
The Accuracy of Future Predictions
Simplicity and Strictness
Two is Too Many
What is a Bug?
What is a Computer?
The Components of Software: Structure, Action, and Results
Software as Knowledge
Simplicity and Security
How We Figured Out What Sucked
Why Programmers Suck
Developer Hubris
"Consistency" Does Not Mean "Uniformity"
Success Comes from Execution, Not Innovation

If You're Going To Do It Then Do it Well

So what do you do? To be fair, I may not be the best person to ask – if I'm going to do something, I feel that I should do my best to excel in it. Perhaps the best thing you can do is encourage people to follow that concept.

You could say to them something like: "If you're going to be doing it anyway, why not do it well? Wouldn't it at least be more enjoyable to be doing this if you were more skilled at it? What if some other people were impressed with your work, how would that feel? Would it be nice to go home at the end of the day and feel that you had done something well? Would your life be better than it is now, even if only a little? Would your life get worse?"

However you do it, the bottom line is that people must be interested in improving themselves before they can get better. How you bring them up to that level of interest doesn't really matter, as long as they get there before you waste a lot of time giving them an education that they're just going to throw away as soon as they hear it.