I did not start with OO, I never read the GoF book, and don't really get the obsession with design patterns and everything surrounding them. I've surprised a lot of others who likely have, by showing them how simple the solutions to some problems can be. Perhaps it's the education of programmers that is to blame for this.
The statement could be generalised to "software is not a goal, it is a tool".
Related article: https://blog.codinghorror.com/head-first-design-patterns/
Design patterns are mostly crutches for languages that have pretty weak expressive power. In a powerful language, you don't need most of them.
See also: http://norvig.com/design-patterns/design-patterns.pdf, slides 9 and 10.
I wonder if it's more about how much code you have to write. Patterns are patterns because you have to write some code to make them, i.e., they're not already there in the language, and as soon as you have a generalized class that actually solves a structural problem, you have a pattern.
I suspect that powerful and expressive languages won't make patterns go away, we'll just get powerful and expressive patterns.
> Also - there are such "nonexciting patterns" in OOP languages as well, and they are much less often abused. For example "a switch inside a while" pattern. Which I think I will need to name "StateMachinePattern" to make it cool and stop people refactoring it into strategies and stuff.
> There is value in one-screen definition of the whole machine, instead of separating it into 6 files.
In Lisp you could create a macro, say, define-state-machine, and use it like that:
Different example - when writing macros in Common Lisp, there are two things one usually has to be wary of - unwanted variable capture, and unwanted re-evaluation. So you might end up manually assigning gensyms to avoid variable capture, and manually creating lexical environments to evaluate passed forms only once. But you can also abstract it away! For instance, with with-gensyms and once-only macros from Alexandria. Or you could build something like defmacro! described in Let Over Lambda, i.e. a macro that automatically code-walks your macro definition and extracts variables named g!foo and o!bar to apply gensyms and once-only to them, respectively.
Those are only two examples, but the general idea is - whenever you see yourself repeating the same boilerplate in similar places to express a concept, you can wrap that boilerplate inside a macro and make the compiler generate it for you. Since Lisp makes all of its capabilities available for you during macroexpansion, you can continue this until you're satisfied that your code is readable, boilerplate-free and clearly expresses your intentions.
 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11730248
 - gensyms are symbols generated on demand, that are guaranteed to have no possible collision with anything ever
 - https://common-lisp.net/project/alexandria/draft/alexandria....
 - http://letoverlambda.com/index.cl/guest/chap3.html#sec_6
fsm is an array of strings, indexed by whatever.
I have made dynamic state machine generators this way, although it gets kinda disorienting.
The tactical advantage to Tcl (for me) is that it has serial ports and sockets as first-class objects with essentially identical semantics. I work in the embedded space, and this seems 1) unusual and 2) a very nice thing to have to write comprehensive test rigs.
I rather like it better because it's all in the "string" & "list" domain rather than the lambda domain. I really should try this in Lisp just to see how wierd it gets.
I'm a lisper and clojure user. Those are my main languages. Don't get the hype for macros, but lisp is the best.
To summarize, meta-programming is a recurrent pattern that was abstracted with macros. The defmacro macro itself produces functions like you want to use, except that it integrate them with the macroexpansion facility offered by the environment.
Design patterns only become problems when people learn about them and try to apply them without learning or understanding how they came to be.
One pattern implementation that I always hated, and still do was MS Enterprise Library's Data abstraction. I worked on one project that targeted three different databases for Enterprise customers, which was a great fit. That's the only time I worked with EntLib where using it was better than just using other tooling for the specific database directly.
In the end, sometimes people get used to a given framework, and don't stop to think if they really need that framework for what they're working on. It's one of the things I really like about the node ecosystem, though sometimes that goes too far the other way. That said, I tend to rail against certain patterns as they don't have much place in a given language/platform.
It tends to be something that comes with age/experience. But not always, I've known plenty of older devs stuck in framework/pattern rutt.
Unfortunately, a lot of people make the mistake of seeing the GoF list of design patterns as being the holy scripture of patterns, when it's merely an enumeration of some patterns that proved useful for a particular language in particular contexts. The concept itself (of looking at design at a level above mere algorithms and data structures) is hugely important, it's unfortunate that it suffers from a bit of the "kleenex" effect, instead of being seen as a general purpose concept with wide ranging applicability.
That's a design pattern for optional arguments straight out of ISO C.
forall z. (a -> b -> c -> ... -> z) -> ZipList z
\f -> f <$> ZipList list_a <*> ZipList list_b <*> ZipList list_c <*> ...
For example, here's what I've written so far for the Visitor pattern:
Also - there are such "nonexciting patterns" in OOP languages as well, and they are much less often abused. For example "a switch inside a while" pattern. Which I think I will need to name "StateMachinePattern" to make it cool and stop people refactoring it into strategies and stuff.
There is value in one-screen definition of the whole machine, instead of separating it into 6 files.
I never really saw design patterns as a reference manual for how to solve problems (as I think some people do/did). Instead, I saw it as a shared vocabulary.
For example, if I say that X is a factory for Y or an iterator over Z, you know exactly what I mean.
But even in Haskell, the compiler does not enforce all monad laws, yet.
A more common example, but perhaps invisible today, is the `function' pattern. In most assembly languages, functions are a convention only, and you have to manipulate your call stack somewhat manually.
In almost all languages anyone is using these days, that's done automatically. Functions are not `invisible' but they are citizens with more right, ie the compiler / interpreter knows about them, you can give them a name, and in some more modern languages even pass them around, or _not_ give them a name.
Some patterns do become invisible as you say.
`Factories' are one that only exists because of weird restrictions in eg Java. They are invisible in Python.
In Haskell for different reasons we have a similar solution where we define extra functions to return our create our objects instead of using constructors directly. Instead of factories, people call these smart constructors (https://wiki.haskell.org/Smart_constructors).
Smart constructors in Haskell could go away with a stronger type system like in Agda. (Yes, there are languages with stronger types than what Haskell has.)
Functions are a design pattern in assembler, but a language feature checked by the compiler in more advanced languages.
Classes are design pattern in C (called ADTs), but a language feature in all OOP languages.
Generalizing the concept: A design pattern is something the programmer has to check himself/herself for correctness, instead of being automatically checked by the compiler or interpreter.
You don't hear design patterns mentioned a lot with simple toolchains like that supporting golang.
It took me a while to break out of what I learned in school about how to write software. My single most important takeaway has been to not seek generalization and abstraction of the problem I'm working on, but solve it as directly as possible, and only generalize or abstract my code after I've completely finished solving the same problem at least twice. In my experience, the single biggest software time waster I've witnessed (and participated in) is people solving problems they don't have.
Sometimes that means I'm writing a function, and I find I've written a few lines to summarize and output info about a data structure the same way a few times in that function for debugging purposes. I'll pull that out into a function.
Sometimes that means I have a fairly complex processing function for a data source, and a few months later I need to process a new data source of similar, but not the same, info. I'll try to (somewhat) normalize the data sources to a format that can be processed or almost be processed by that function, and make the changes to the function so it can work on the mostly normalized data, and handle the specific differences as needed.
It's almost never a good idea to make your algorithm very abstract in the beginning, as it generally makes it more error prone, and usually you don't know the specifics about how things need to work anyway. By the time you're feeling the need to abstract the function, not only do you know more about the problem and can implement it cleaner, but you can use the prior implementation as a test harness to confirm the rewritten version is functionally the same (or better). I can't stress how useful that is and how much time and pain it can save.
I once had the joy of witnessing a program I wrote being rewritten. Before the rewrite it was ~400 lines of Python written in the most obvious way possible without any abstraction overhead. You could easily scan the complete code and understand what happens. The rewrite was totally over-engineered, split up into a dozen files, organized into some inheritance hierarchy. Even the database access was abstracted out, so it could potentially use another DB at some point. It didn't improve anything at all but bloated the code by at least a factor of 2. But it was more "correct" according to some metric...
Did they use a library?
That same professor who had subbed then beat it into our heads - in our senior level programming languages course - that making the damn thing work takes priority over all. I guess better late than never.
Those are important basic software skills to learn, but in my schooling they were never offset by a philosophy that dealt with how and when to use them, and more importantly, when not to use them.
I've personally seen in my ~20 year professional software career so far a lot of software engineering that is overly expensive by a long way because people decide to add unwarranted complexity.
Say you and your team are going to build a REST server that will serve hundreds of endpoints.
Nothing complicated, just a bunch of CRUD code with some business logic.
So here is the simple way to write each endpoint function, or method.
RESTResponse getUserPrefs(Userid id)
RESTResponse getUserPrefs(Userid id)
if( !Security.checkAllowed(id) )
RESTResult result = DB.getUser(id).prefs;
Also as you can imagine, the boilerplate introduced here may have to change per endpoint. There might also be other boilerplate that may need to be added for object level security, authentication, error logging etc ...
So when you throw this code at your developers, it means that you'll end up with hundreds or thousands of little methods all similar but all different.
They are going to cut and paste this example and modify as they go. They may come up with better ways to structure the boilerplate, leading to some old code mixed in with code written in a newer style.
Good luck working with that after a few years.
All these encomia for simple code usually considers only a single small program, with one person working on it.
Once code is loosed in the wild for a team of maintenance programmers to work on, you have a whole new problem, and lack of structure form the simple approach will cause weeds and vines to choke your codebase.
DB, REST and SECURITY are imaginary packages. CLSQL is an existing library for interfacing with databases.
You define the meat of your code with a primary method:
(defmethod get-user-preferences (id)
(defmethod get-user-preferences :around ((id integer))
(if (security:allowedp id)
(defmethod get-user-preferences :before (id)
(log "Getting user preferences for id ~S." id))
(defmethod security:allowedp :around (id)
(let ((result (call-next-method)))
(log "Access ~:[denied~;granted~] for id ~S." result id)
(defmethod db:get-user :around ((id integer))
(clsql:with-database (db *database*)
(clsql:with-transaction (:database db)
If more methods need to follow this pattern, it might be preferable to define them directly with a macro which always open the connection and the transaction. The WITH-X macro ensure that transactions and connections are properly handled when unwinding the stack.
The scenario i described above was from a real project I was on a few years ago.
The way I handled it (partially) was via the use of AOP. I also made use of dependency injection.
These two approaches combined managed to reduce the boilerplate to near zero.
Of course, in Java AOP means you have to take care to enable it in each part of the toolchain (build system, CDP, IDE ...) but it wasn't too bad.
I'm not sure which gang of 4 patterns I may have been using, and I don't care, but I do know that leaving it simple would have led to chaos, because I'd seen it happen before.
> So when you throw this code at your developers, it means that you'll end up with hundreds or thousands of little methods all similar but all different.
If that's what happens with your developers, you need new developers or new management, clearly the ones you've hired are either incompetent or their management is forcing them to suck.
I don't think so, it's just human nature and other pressures besides the purely technical ones: like the pressure to just get a task done, or to get the job done as easily as possible, and so on...
As programmers we tend to think the the biggest challenges are technical, but they aren't: the social problems are a way bigger factor.
Also the problem I'm describing here applies to large low-complexity codebases, to be worked on by large teams.
These are common in 'enterprise' settings, which is why I think design patterns have so much appeal there.
It's fine to complain about people who "over-engineer" things, but I've also come across cases where someone uses "I'm Agile" as an excuse to completely throw out any and all coding structure or best practices.
And every time I try to say that maybe we should spend 3 seconds to remove the comments that are in Chinese and maybe adapt the code to our naming conventions after literally copy&pasting it in from StackOverflow, I get pointed to arguments like this post for why none of that stuff matters.
I can see good use cases for OOP, for instance, but OOP's definitely a leading contender for the "over-engineering" trap. I've certainly seen my share of "OOP / pattern spaghetti" to the point where just coding a simple select call involves writing several classes in random locations in the project. Like goto spaghetti, the result is way harder to debug and maintain.
I personally think lower level advice like DRY is much more important overall than patterns (in many OOP projects, it seems, I feel like they violate the KISS principle for no real benefit).
Even naming conventions can fall in this trap. Consistent naming convention is absolutely a great idea. And then you run into the database that have several naming conventions, all inconsistently applied depending on the state of the project at the time. I've found inconsistent naming conventions not much more useful than no naming convention at all.
Try working with someone who's idea of expanding the app is literally taking a controller class for another page that does something vaguely related to the new feature, copy-pasting it into a new file, changing the class name (like put an "N" at the end of it like "SearchResultsView"-->"SearchResultsViewN"), and then changing some of the internal business logic without changing the names of any methods or variables.
What you're left with is something that is much, much worse than no naming conventions at all. It's actually naming conventions that actively mislead you as to their scope and function. Like a "clickedEditButton()" method that is actually wired up to a "back" button on the page and takes you back to the previous screen.
Couldn't agree more.
For a large number of developers, neither of these environments apply, but they are still abiding by the same rules.
Unrelated to your original point, you should consider reading the book. Pay special attention to the section introducing the motivation for each pattern and the problem it solves. Over-engineering programs to deliberately include patterns is to be avoided; but there is no harm is knowing the patterns and when they apply by reading the original material.
In software. You can make any part of a system flexible. You can make several parts of a system flexible. But the more flexibility you add the less maintainable the code becomes, and there for the least flexible overall.
So you really have to choose where do you want that flexibility. Often is better to keep your design simple and clean; and add the flexibility when you actually need it.
This is so true. Of all the projects which I have seen that failed, not a single one failed because its design was too simple. In fact, almost all of them failed because they were over engineered and because of that it was too hard to quickly adjust to changing requirements. And still people keep making the same mistake over and over again.
It's not just related to design patterns, it's everywhere in the IT world. Take for instance protocols. SMTP: before the 80's there was a whole bunch of mail transfer protocols, many of them quite sophisticated. But which one won? The Simple mail transfer protocol. Or HTML, which was derived from SGML, a more complicated and much more generic protocol. The simple protocol won again. Or XML (derived from the more generic SGML), which is now being replaced by the even more simple JSON. The list goes on.
I did some OO, but like functional programming better. In Haskell, there's a certain draw to doing everything in the type systems. Or a quest to find the single abstraction that unifies all your code into a coherent whole.
(For a configuration language pretty printer that I worked on at Google, I recently managed to throw out a couple hundred lines of code, by finding a unifying abstraction for most of the recursive functions on the abstract syntax tree we were doing.)
Yeah. You do not truly know hell until you're trying to maintain a basic CRUD app used as a tool for someone to learn domain-driven design, CQRS, and event sourcing simultaneously.
I'm guessing it originated from an unflattering comparison, although my knowledge of the Cultural Revolution is pretty weak, maybe it was a compliment.
A separate HN thread on that might be a fun read :) A similar one is eponymous Laws (Wikipedia has a list).
Design patterns are super useful as tools.
As "goals" they are idiotic. I think lots of people that think they are idiotic have been exposed to them as "goals", or don't realize that's not the point.
I think there is a larger issue here, which is that many kinds of software development, including web dev, has become enormously more complex in many ways than it was when many of us came up.
People coming up now are looking for magic bullets and shortcuts and things they can just follow by rote -- because they are overwhelmed and don't know how to get to competence, let alone expertise, without these things.
It's easy for us to look down on people doing this as just not very good developers -- and the idea of 'software bootcamp' doesn't help, I think it's probably not _possible_ to get to competence through such a process -- but too easy to forget that if we were starting from scratch now we ourselves would likely find it a lot more challenging than we did when we started. There's way more stuff to deal with now.
"Design patterns" are never going to serve as such a magic bullet or thing you can follow by rote, and will often make things worse when used that way -- but so will any other potential magic bullet or thing you can follow by rote. Software doesn't work that way. It's still a craft.
This is the normal progression of learning. As a beginner, following the rules by rote is the goal. So, for the newbie that is first being exposed to design patterns, implementing some of those patterns should be the goal so they can learn where they fit in the toolbelt.
Speaker echoes similar sentiments about design patterns being written by highly experienced developers and should be used to communicate about code etc.
They are useful if you have a problem and one fits it perfectly, it can help you start thinking about it -- but it might not be a good fit.
In general we should be keeping software as simple as possible, with the understanding that it can be changed and adapted as needed. Often large "pattern" based projects devolve into a morass of unneeded complexity to support a level of flexibility that was never required.
The concept, like so many other concepts, drifted from its origin and became a more rigid and doctrinaire "system", especially after the misunderstood book by the "Gang of Four".
In reality, patterns are everywhere in software, whether we call them that or not.
Game loops, event servers, compilers, map/filter, microkernels, stdin transformers, for loops over arrays, etc etc etc.
Richard P. Gabriel's book Patterns of Software is freely available and goes into the history and meaning of patterns. Alexander himself wrote a preface that's worth reading on its own.
On a tangent, anyone in London is recommended to visit the end of year shows of student work at the architecture schools, coming up at the end of June. A lot of very intriguing and complex activity. (UCL Bartlett, Architectural Association, London Metropolitan (CASS) etc.) I can't speak for other cities.
When I say "prescriptive" I suppose I'm referring to the propositional nature of patterns, like an engineer's rules of thumb. The contrast is not so much with individual genius and variation as with the maintenance and passing on of tacit knowledge, which is a mysterious process involving multiple senses and observational learning.
That attitude might sound very conservative, but it's based on my own experience and not any preference for a particular technology or style. Alexander is too reductive and abstract; he's not properly in touch with actual sensory knowledge or craft skills. Or with economical industrial tech, e.g. the work of Lacaton & Vassal which uses cheap industrial building systems to create generous spaces.
I haven't read the book you mention. Informing myself about it now.
I think Alexander's patterns rely on tacit knowledge. Many of them involve designing in a way that real usage can shape the building or land. For example, the way many colleges will not pave paths until they see the tracks real students leave between buildings is the sort of thing Alexander has written about. Thank you for the paper; looking forward to reading it.
Building "according to the dictates of the human heart" is all very well in theory, in practice it sounds like it would translate to an ideal of each family building their own home on a small lot. So where are we in relation to e.g. the left-right political axis? (It seems like Alexander is proposing a bottom-up approach to building and planning, in contrast to something imposed by the state or by corporations.)
If there's one major point I'd make in response to his dualistic picture of the world, it's that there are potentially varying degrees of citizen participation in the design process. A pragmatic approach would be to work on improving participation where possible rather than demonizing the supposedly pure form of "World System B" in categorical terms.
Here's a theoretical tool which presents a spectrum of participation:
If there's more, architecturally speaking, to what Alexander is proposing than just a theoretical opposition between "how things are", and a utopian and backward-looking idea of "how things should be", I think it's probably a potential revalorization of the art-historical categories of "linear" and "painterly".
(For details of "linear" and "painterly" see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_W%C3%B6lfflin )
In architecture these really correspond to a "structuralist" emphasis on modularity and interchangeable components on the "linear" side, and an expressive emphasis on overall form and image-making on the "painterly" side.
To give an example of each in its pure form, Hermann Hertzberger is a linear, modular, structuralist guy, while Zaha Hadid would be on the painterly end of things.
Alexander is not proposing Hertzberger-style buildings -- he wants to bring back traditional architecture -- but essentially I think his background is structuralist, emerging as he did from mathematics in the 60s. It's this flavour to his work that makes me feel strongly that he doesn't really care about tacit knowledge and the intangible, non-propositional aspects of architecture, the aspects that just cannot be put into words.
Oppositions are hard to avoid in thinking about this kind of thing, but of course they need to be treated with care to avoid falling into simplistic thinking.
Approaches to architecture are awash with irrational aesthetic decisions, even when they claim to be fully rational. There's a famous book from the 60s called "Architecture without Architects" by Bernard Rudofsky that might be of interest, as it documents the kind of qualities of traditional anonymous architecture (not the elaborate, royal or religious kind).
A final thing that comes to mind is the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari. They are French post-structuralists. Although, coming from that theoretical milieu, they come out against the binary "arborescent" nature of simplistic thinking based on oppositions, they do allow themselves to introduce a significant contrast: they compare the mode of existence of nomads with that of the state. They talk about the smooth space of nomads as the origin of the (improvised) war machine (essentially, of science), while the striated space of the state is the space of complex social structures and institutions (the university, for example). Their ideas are very rich and thought provoking, popular with architects but potentially still strange and radical at the same time. Their work is evidently a distillation of a huge amount of reading and contemplation. In my opinion Christopher Alexander's ideas look very tame and unimaginative in comparison, and the scope of his thinking appears just disappointingly limited.
Here's a link to a summary which might whet your appetite for Deleuze and Guattari (their writing is also interesting and compelling, but this PDF document just gives the bones of one of their main ideas): http://www.protevi.com/john/DG/PDF/ATP14.pdf
I will go through the links. As you recounted your impression of the A vs. B system, I remembered that I didn't care so much for the introduction as I did for the actual story of building Eishin campus. It seems like his most important principles are to let real usage finish the design and to choose materials that support that as well as completing the work within budget. My gut says: how can Alexander be reductive and non-tacit when he is trying to allow space to be shaped by the people who use it, i.e. directly incorporating tacit knowledge? There is an "us-vs-them" to believing users know something designers don't, I suppose, but it's tempered by the humility of believing the users will do better than the architect advocating for the users. But there certainly are multiple ways to obtain tacit knowledge and involve it in a project.
There is a clear political vision in Alexander's work, one whose basis is participation and non-alienation. This is at odds with modern capitalism, which prevents its success.
The free software movement, too, is in a sense unsuccessful, despite a loyal and tenacious following. Still, it's worth fighting for and preserving.
Software has been in an acknowledged crisis for decades. Ordinary folks I know aren't thrilled about contemporary architecture.
Also, Alexander emphasizes that his "prescriptive" works, such as A Pattern Language, are made as examples of how grassroots human knowledge can be conceptualized and presented in a certain composable form.
In what way? I mean, in practice?
Eg almost all languages these days provide functions as a first class abstraction. You don't have to manage a call stack yourself.
Funny enough, Java at least originally deliberate tried to limit people's ability to abstract common patterns in the name of `readability by average programmers'. At least that's the folklore.
To me the key is joy. The joy of writing, maintaining and using software.
He asks what standards we should have for software. In architecture, there is the Chartres and myriad other truly beautiful structures—what if we judge software by such standards?
I agree that it's a beautiful and powerful foreword.
To me, another key idea is software as a way of building. It implies that a computer system can be an inhabitable, ownable, sustainable thing made for supporting human life... like a shed, a tractor, a garden, a town...
Patterns must not be a perfect fit. You don't build your living room elliptical because you have a round rug. There are pragmatic considerations that are much more important that "perfect fit".
Unless I'm misunderstanding him, I would disagree with this. When you're doing it wrong is when you use a design pattern without understanding what problem its solving, and whether you have that specific problem.
To use his tool analogy - if you're a joiner who turns up to a job thinking "we always need to use a hammer" and start randomly hitting everything, then you've gone wrong. But equally, if you're halfway through knocking a nail in with your shoe and think "Oh look, I'm using the hammer pattern now", you're doing it just as wrong.
If you're looking at two things you need to attach together and you've considered whether glue, a screw, a nail or something else is the most appropriate for this specific job, decide it's the nail and then think - "I need to use my hammer now", then you're doing it right.
The point of the hammer pattern isn't the hammer, but the movements and the forces applied. In Europe hammers are an axiomatic part of their nails already so they don't even have a name for the hammer pattern!
On the other hand, if you're with your screw and trying to spin it with the hammer because someone said use the hammer pattern...
And it's something I see depressingly often with programmers - tackling problems that there's a fairly well known existing pattern for, but not being aware of the pattern and either spending days/weeks rediscovering the pattern for themselves, or even worse inventing a new and less effective way of solving it.
When you build a house, do you re-invent how to frame, plumb, wire, and roof it? No. That's all a design pattern is. Choosing the right design pattern is akin to making sure that your basement is made out of cement and your walls framed with wood. (You don't want to put shingles on your countertops!)
The problem is that some developers think they are some kind of magical panacea without really understanding why the pattern was established and what it tries to achieve. These are the over-complicated projects that everyone is complaining about in this thread. (These are the projects where the basement is made with wood or the concrete walls too thick; or the projects where someone decided to put shingles on the countertop.)
I try to pick, establish, and follow design patterns in my code. It helps ensure that I don't spend a lot of time re-learning why some other technique is flawed; and it helps achieve a consistent style that everyone else on the team can work with.
> The fact was that I just didn't understand them the way I thought I did.
> To be clear, I've never read the Gang of Four book these patterns are defined in
> if you ever find yourself thinking, "I know, I'll use a design pattern" before writing any code, you're doing it wrong.
Many years ago, I briefly worked in that industry and thoroughly hated the rigid, dogmatic, extreme overengineering culture and the resulting code it produced. I'm glad to be away from it all.
NB I have a strange definition of "entertaining" in a work context - I was contracting at the time.
Now, that said, it's often more tempting and easier to just add complexity, which results in crazy codebases. It's much harder, especially under pressure of deadlines, to REMOVE patterns as they don't make sense anymore, which gives us what people think of as enterprise Java. Not all Java is like that, I promise.
As far as I can tell they seem to think total lines of code was the real issue (It couldn't be the Abstractions/Patterns, those are good!) and are now on a kick to move as many lines of code as possible to annotations. I call this "Annotation based programming" and any new problem starts with a google search since how any tool kit handles something is pure guesswork.
Take a look at the Retrofit library from Square for a good example of usage of annotations. To the original Spring link posted, while there's lots of annotations, they're replacing the XML that used to plague Spring projects, which I find much more magical. At least I can jump to an annotation's definition in my IDE.
Even if the functions you provide only loosely fit an established pattern it's still worth "adapting" with verbose notes about how it doesn't conform to said pattern.
Actually I would go so far as to say there is value in developing within a pattern even if you're not building an API, if you expect that a number of third parties may have to maintain or develop your code for years to come.
However, if you're working against problem domain that is well understood in your organisation (technically specialised, low level) it doesn't make sense to force a pattern upon it. It is reasonable to expect that third parties should know what's going on already.
Now please excuse me. I just discovered a new hammer and I'm sure as hell gonna hit something with it.
Dates and times is a complex problem, you won't find a simple solution for it. For the record boost.date_time ony has concrete classes and no abstractions. It barely uses templates.
"Then I've discovered that Google at that time forbade developers using the whole boost"
And I admit, I never liked Boost, I am biased. But that doesn't mean that I'm misrepresenting how little what it had matched my needs, and the "bloat" feeling I've (and obviously Google too then) had.
The doc links for older releases seem to be broken on boost.org, so I can't check if the functionality is even older.
If you started reading the book, and gave up after 2 minutes, you would still have learned this lesson. So, yes, it shouldn't have to be said.
The same follows for patterns, I think. If you haven't thought about it critically and really done the work to understand the "why" (being told the "why" is not enough) you're going to struggle and mostly fail to implement it properly are in the appropriate situations.
Perfectly fine for a certain degree of utility (maintenance, finishing, junior dev?), not quite so much for a lead, system designer or architect.
For example, the "visitor" pattern could also be described as "passing in a function", but there's a significant difference: a visitor is intended to be called on each element of a data structure in turn (i.e. a bit like an iterator callback), while a strategy defines an algorithm that you're expecting the caller to select at run-time (e.g. different cipher implementations).
Syntactically, they may well be the same ("passing in a function") but semantically, they're very different.
It can be useful to be able to have this shared vocabulary when talking about designs.
It gives you a way to "add a method" to a set of classes without actually stuffing them in the class definitions themselves.
In practice, most visitor patterns are used with AST classes or other types that are stored in a tree-like fashion, but that's coincidence. The visitor pattern itself is really about using virtual dispatch to avoid an ugly and non-type-safe type switch.
No, it's one word: visitor. That's the point, we can now avoid saying "pass in a function and descend a graph calling it on each node" and instead simply say visitor and everyone knows what we mean without the big long explanation.
...but going back to my original point, isn't it more valuable to have a common vocabulary, meaning that I can say "visitor" rather than "pass in a function and descend a graph calling it on each node"?
Also, the naming of the pattern, along with implementation, may push people to copy a design that would be the best way to do it in C++ or Java ca. 2000 but unnatural in whatever they're working in.
> Modularity, DRY, SRP, etc. is never a goal, it’s a trait. Don’t let the pursuit of theory get in the way of actual productivity.
> That’s not to say Modularity, DRY, SRP, etc. aren’t great ideas—they are!—but understand that they’re approaches and not achievements.
There's nothing super revolutionary about these thoughts, but they've stuck in the back of my mind for a while now.
design patterns are like when a consultant creates a stupid name for something that already exists -- the name isn't about expressive power, it's about declaring ownership so the consultant can sell the 'Consulting Method' to solve your problem.
when a phenomenon or trick has an easily understood one-word name, don't let a nonexpert rename it to something nobody understands.
Yes, focusing on "what's being used" instead of "what's happening" is a problem, yes, thinking you can construct software just by robotically putting together "design patterns" is a problem.
Design patterns are still a useful and inevitable part of software development, and recognizing that can make you much more efficient at learning how to write software, at designing comprehensible and maintainable software, and at reading other people's software.
It's not clear what the author would have done differently in this example. It's one thing to raise concerns about pattern-first thinking in general, but quite another to spell out what exactly is wrong with reaching for the Adapter Pattern to solve a very specific problem under a given set of constraints. I can imagine a number of situations in which going straight for an Adapter is the only sane choice.
I've come to view with great suspicion any general discussion of programming divorced from its context. Architecture Astronauts and Cowboy Coders can each do a lot of damage if left to their own devices.
> What patterns don't help with is the initial design of a system. In this phase, the only thing you should be worried about is how to faithfully and correctly implement the business rules and procedures.
I submit that should be your overriding concern at all times, not just the design phase. If you have to refactor some code in order to extend it, tie it back to the changed requirement. This forces you to make the least amount of changes, refactoring the least amount code, breaking the least amount of unit tests and introducing the least amount of bugs into production.
1) Solve the problem
2) Make it maintainable
3) Make it extensible
4) Make it scalable (server)
5) Optimize it for memory, speed
Finally, using an existing well known platform also lets you hire developers who know what they're doing from the beginning, leading to more prosuctivity and less dependence on any one particular developer. We leverage the knowledge that's already out there.
My advice is to learn from people like Martin Fowler or Kent Beck and if you want to look at companies, look at something like ThoughWorks.
The point of design patterns is a way to describe what you've made succinctly.
When you set out to do something that you don't yet know how to do, having a crank you can turn to get out functioning code is a good thing.
I think what you mean is "Design Patterns are Tools, not Dogma".
Plus, a lot of design patterns only make sense in typed and/or OOP languages, so under those circumstances, they can't be applied as goals.
I completely disagree... if I'm working with a team. I've spent far too many hours trying to fix fragile code that comes about as a result of different devs with different methodologies trying to tie their code together.
Most recently, I was the one joining a project after its incipient stage, so I was not the big picture guy, but the big picture guy chose not to establish any kind of patterns or standards so when others started joining the project--even with an understanding of how it should work--suddenly the app had a lot more functionality but it all performed terribly because of a lack of uniformity in design. Code review helps, but ultimately because there are no established patterns there is no justification for telling someone a task should be implemented differently, right? The only solution I can see is to establish that justification by trying to get the big picture guy on board with a massive refactor to establish some standards.
When I do hit the magic 3 and can justify restructing code, I consider my options in terms of design patterns (which are very much tools!)
Patterns will organically emerge as the result of ongoing refactoring.
Thats why when I read HN I'm trying to understand what are you trying to achive. Something that goes beyond staying in front of the computer 10 hours a day.
In software, some rigidity of expression might be preferred, and so the design patterns also help us avoid creating new terminology for things that have been appropriately described.
There are places where each pattern might have utility, and I suppose if there is any sense to the term "software architecture" it is in the ability to make sense of what the system should look like in a way that can be explained to the relevant parts of the team.
There is a tendency, as well, among software developers to think that a complicated architecture must be the result of countless stupid decisions, probably made by junior technicians, who were doing things without understanding what's going on. Thus you find people exhorting others for simplicity, and acting like they've done their job at that point. But instead, complicated architecture is the result of compromises and rewrites throughout the software's life, and attempts to discard those old architectures and start afresh with similar tools usually result in an initially simplistic, but ultimately inflexible, design that will eventually evolve into a different complex architecture.
The Linux kernel is an example of a complicated architecture that was designed from a standpoint of simplicity initially, and developed its own object-oriented layer on top of C, with pluggable elements all over, loadable modules, etc., and millions of lines of code. BSD is smaller and more coherent, but also much more limited in scope.
There are also examples like Windows NT, which suffered from being the second system to 3 systems: Windows, OS/2 and VMS. In this kernel, there are so many design features that were included before implementation, that it seems incredible it was ever built. But they persisted and made it happen, and even eventually made it fast, in some cases by working around its design with new compromises and approaches. Still, it lacks the simplicity of a Plan9 or an Oberon, but what it doesn't lack is users.
Anyhow, I digress. What is important to me about patterns is the language that we get from them, and the ability to recognize what's going on in code. They can provide useful hints about implementation gotchas, and they can also help people stop reinventing the wheel.
The authors are very explicit in every chapter about what problems are a good fit for that design pattern.