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November PragPub Magazine

November 06, 2019

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November PragPub Magazine

The meme said, "Embrace SNAFU because it’s not FUBAR yet."

We won’t expand those acronyms because there are children in the room, but we know you recognize the feeling the meme conveys. You write software, and dealing with complexity, chaos, or just plain messiness is a familiar experience for you. But is it unavoidable?

We’d like to say that this issue of PragPub will answer that question, but that would be too much to expect. Maybe, though, our authors can shine a little light into the darkness.

Is some of the messiness due to the tools we use? Have modern programming languages grown too complex? Charlie Martin teaches programming, and from his perspective, the answer is yes. If so, what can we do about it?

But we can’t just blame our tools. The process of writing and debugging code can get pretty messy, and we can be guilty of writing some messy code. Clearly, we should all just write clean code all the time. With capital letters, even: Clean Code. Well, maybe not, Adam Tornhill thinks. In his article in this issue, he confesses to a multitude of coding sins, but does not repent. Sometimes, he argues, it’s the right thing to write Dirty Code.

So do we just say, “It’s complicated” and move along? Some aspects of software development may be irreducibly complex, but does that mean that the process has to be chaotic? Are there principles of design that could bring some order to the chaos, if only we could discover them? Kent Beck thinks that’s a question worth pursuing, and we have access to his thoughts on the subject in this issue.

Also in this issue: Michael Feathers on group dynamics, Marcus Blankenship on being open to feedback, Antonio Cangiano on new tech books, John Shade on invisibility, and a puzzle.

We hope you enjoy this November edition of PragPub.

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