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

We followed all the Laws Of Software Design

  • We thought about the future. We did that for the entire process, but we particularly did it when we put on unbreakable steel ropes that would last no matter what happened in the future.

    Also note that we didn't try to predict the future, we just followed our principles so that no matter what happened, our structure was going to stay together and be easy to build.

  • We allowed for change by screwing the bars together instead of welding them. We also put standardized holes in all the bars, even if we didn't need them, in case we needed to add more bars in the future.

  • In every step of creating the structure, we kept our changes small and tested everything as we went. Creating each individual bar was a small task, and we put them together in small steps.

  • And of course, the most important decision we made was to keep it simple by making all the holes consistent and standard, and keeping each piece small and simple.

Whether you are one person or a thousand...