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
Credits
About the Author
www.PacktPub.com
Customer Feedback
Foreword
2
The Engineer Attitude
3
The Singular Secret of the Rockstar Programmer
4
Software Design, in Two Sentences
5
Clues to Complexity
6
Ways To Create Complexity: Break Your API
7
When Is Backwards-Compatibility Not Worth It?
8
Complexity is a Prison
10
The Accuracy of Future Predictions
11
Simplicity and Strictness
12
Two is Too Many
14
What is a Bug?
24
What is a Computer?
25
The Components of Software: Structure, Action, and Results
27
Software as Knowledge
30
Simplicity and Security
34
How We Figured Out What Sucked
36
Why Programmers Suck
38
Developer Hubris
39
"Consistency" Does Not Mean "Uniformity"
42
Success Comes from Execution, Not Innovation
Index

Chapter 22. Kindness and Code

It is very easy to think of software development as being an entirely technical activity, where humans don't really matter and everything is about the computer. However, the opposite is actually true.

Software engineering is fundamentally a human discipline.

Many of the mistakes made over the years in trying to fix software development have been made by focusing purely on the technical aspects of the system without thinking about the fact that it is human beings who write the code. When you see somebody who cares about optimization more than readability of code; when you see somebody who won't write a comment but will spend all day tweaking their shell scripts to be fewer lines, when you have somebody who can't communicate but worships small binaries: then you're seeing various symptoms of this problem.