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Patterns of Software: Tales from the Software Community

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  109 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In our homes, our schools, and our businesses, computers play an ever-increasing role. But while most of us today can work a computer--albeit with the help of the ever-present computer software manual--we know little about what goes on inside the box and virtually nothing about software design or the world of computer programming.
In Patterns of Software, the respected sof
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 15th 1996 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1996)
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Algirdas Raščius
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Do not get tricked by the title of this book. If you are looking for patterns that would improve you code, design or your development process, you will be disappointed. This book is essentially what it's subtitle says: tales from the software community. Nevertheless it was a pleasure to read.

Book contains essays on wide selection of topic including discussion on what "quality without a name" as defined by Christopher Alexander is; what we as software engineers typically miss to understand when
Patrick Stein
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: software
Part I and Part II of this book are so amazing that I still gave it five stars even though I hated Part III and Part IV.

The first two parts of this book are pretty much the starting points of "The Philosophy of Good Code". I entirely agree with his thesis that those writing software patterns are missing the most important part of Alexander's Pattern Language. Now, I want to read all of Alexander's work.

The view RPG gave of Alexander was fabulous. Many academics are satisfied to have created a th
Aug 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Actually I would consider this two books in one.

The first part which I would give five stars to, is about the inspiration that the author got from the Architect Christopher Alexander. I happened to read this book during an exceptionally painful time in my software development journey and the book simply reminded me of why I love what I do.

The second section, I'm sure a lot of history enthusiasts would love. With an autobiography like story of the authors' journey through Lisp, C++, Lucid and ot
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I like the book because I like books that make you think. In the first part, Gabriel basically combines a critique of the idea of Pattern Languages with questions around how to map it to the craft of software development. The second part is like a separate book, talking about his early career and the slow rise and hard fall of Lucid; I found it less interesting than the first bits, but still a good read because it is an interesting story and it is well told. And it's an anthology, so it's fine.

Roman Bly
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Personally, nothing new for me. And some things are a bit outdated, given the age of the book.
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Loved the philosophical way of writing. Great insights in patterns, abstraction, and compression.
Mark Seemann
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: software
This book is a collection of essays, originally published elsewhere.

The first half of the book is mostly concerned with an exegesis of Christopher Alexander's original works on pattern languages. Mostly, these essays relate more to the philosophical and building architecture aspects of Alexander's writing, than they relate to software development. I must admit that I had trouble connecting with the material, in part because, to its credit, it talks about the limited success Alexander had with ca
Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: tech, design
Fine essays from a creator of Common Lisp and author of "Worse is Better" on software as a habitable environ, a mid-90s reflection on the influence of Alexander and patterns that rings through today. A critique of American Capitalism applied to any pursuit of beauty (the quality without a name) through too, or the inevitability of human pettiness? ...more
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Interesting analogy between software development and architecture (with its habitability and "quality without a name"). I totally agree with his views (and suggestions) on technical, scientific writings/communications. And I especially enjoyed his autobiography, a tales of failures and struggles :-) ...more
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great introduction to the similarities between the work of Christopher Alexander on patterns in architecture and similar applications in software development. This is quite a good read for anybody interested in some of the topics addressed by Richard Gabriel. It is a key book for any software developers interested in improving the quality of their design and code.
João Sampaio
May 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Maybe a little too much poetry where there's actually none. But there are some useful lessons here, specially business lessons. ...more
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
The first parts of the book are very good. The rest is a fine read.
I loved the preface by Christopher Alexander.
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1 likes · 0 comments
“The problem with traditional approaches to abstraction and encapsulation is that they aim at complete information hiding. This characteristic anticipates being able to eliminate programming from parts of the software development process, those parts contained within module boundaries. As we've seen, though, the need to program is never eliminated because customization, modification, and maintenance are always required-that is, piecemeal growth.” 0 likes
“One of the primary reasons that abstraction is overloved is that a completed program full of the right abstractions is perfectly beautiful. But there are very few completed programs, because programs are written, maintained, bugs are fixed, features are added, performance is tuned, and a whole variety of changes are made both by the original and new programming team members. Thus, the way a program looks in the end is not important because there is rarely an end, and if there is one it isn't planned.” 0 likes
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