Saturday, January 5, 2008

Design Patterns and the Fall of S/W

One nice thing about having a blog nobody reads is that I can say anything I want without worrying about it biting my butt.

I hate Design Patterns.

It's that simple.

I hate the guys who promote them.

Most of all, I hate the s/w industry - especially the programmers - for being duped by these guys.

And I'm qualified.

I received an engineering education and am a self taught computer 'something'. I'm not exactly a programmer, although I've written an awfully lot of code in a variety of environments - all the way down to machine code on microprocessors up to hokey database/user interface stuff. I've done device drivers and created my own little languages using lex & yacc and 'in the raw' in C, Python, and awk. And I've been doing this over 40 years - so I've earned the right to be a grouch.

The Design Pattern guys are the current generation of Yordon (sp?), Codd(sp?), and Bouch (sp?): Consultants who watch other people create software while telling them how to do it right. None of them actually do anything, but the sure create a lot of bad advice.

I remember buying three (3!) books by Peter Codd(sp?) on Object oriented programming and design only to find out that he admitted that he didn't really know anything about it. The idiot had gotten excited about the idea, so he and his group spent a year puttering with it and writing books - probably giving lectures and doing expensive consulting with BIG companies at the same time.

It takes years of experience doing something to understand the concepts. [things move quickly, but our brains take a while to catch up]. Hell, it takes 10 years plus to design, implement, and knock most of the bugs out of any programming language.

The Design Pattern guys are the absolute worst! The claim that they are defining these things to add clarity to the software process and they they write the vaguest crap imaginable. Don't believe me?

Grady Bouch: "In the world of software, a pattern is a tangible manifestation of an orginization's tribal memory." - CoreJ2EE Patterns (introduction) [clipped from PHP 5 Objects, Patterns, and Practice - by Matt Zandstra]


Merrian Webster Dictionary: "1. an ideal model. 2. something used as a model for making things. 3. Sample"


Which is clearer? If you like Bouch - then you need to join a consulting company and stop pretending to write code.

I'm starting to froth at the mouth, so it's time to simplify things. Here's a simple procedure to see for yourself.

1. go to a book store and pick up one of Martin Fowler's many books on patterns. WARNING: Do not buy the book.

2. Select a pattern at random and read the first paragraph describing it.

3. Answer yourself honestly: Do I know what this 'pattern' is well enough to describe it in a single sentence?

if No - read the rest of the description and try again

if still No - replace book on shelf.

if Yes, please send that sentence to me.

Thanks,
Mike

1 comment:

Mark said...

Hee hee! Do keep blogging, you might get readers eventually.

I found your blog by googling "Martin Fowler" and "Five Worlds" because I was sure someone must have written about how specific his writing is to business software. But this is even better.

I always thought it was weird that the patterns book was harder to understand than an algorithm textbook.