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Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices - by Uncle Bob Martin

One of the most influential programming books I've ever read. The code is in Java, but it's east to follow even for a non-Java developer, and the truths are universal. Learn the most fundamental design and encapsulation patterns. Uncle Bob Martin is a legend. This book has probably made me tens of thousands of dollars.

> Because DHH is just one person. And he only has DHH's experiences.

Yep. Uncle Bob is one person, too. tl;dr Think for yourself and don't listen to somebody just because they hurt your feelings.

> To pick a topical example: Is TDD hard in Rails apps because TDD is dead or because Rails makes TDD hard?

This is a misrepresentation of what DHH has said [1], which is that strict adherence to TDD can make your designs worse:

> Over the years, the test-first rhetoric got louder and angrier, though. More mean-spirited. And at times I got sucked into that fundamentalist vortex, feeling bad about not following the true gospel. Then I'd try test-first for a few weeks, only to drop it again when it started hurting my designs.

> Used as a hammer to beat down the nonbelievers, declare them unprofessional and unfit for writing software. A litmus test.

If you watch the conversations between DHH, Martin Fowler, and Kent Beck, it seems to me that they all agree: testing is good, test-driven design can be bad, and mocking everything is bad [2][3].

I took some time last week to re-read Uncle Bob's book, Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices [4], and Kent Beck's book on TDD [5]. There was a huge difference: Uncle Bob focuses on test-driven design, while Kent Beck focuses on test-driven development. Uncle Bob claims that test-driven development (especially through mocks) universally improves your design, because it reduces coupling and enables refactoring. Kent Beck talks about productivity, certainty, refactoring, and documentation. Uncle Bob says most of those things are just a side-benefit: the real point of TDD is decoupled design.

Uncle Bob's other book, The Clean Coder [6], berates people who do not strictly adhere to test-driven design: if you don't do it, you are unprofessional (he mentions this repeatedly). He says that TDD being universally good is a fact, and anybody who says otherwise is just ranting.

> Nowadays, however, they are just rants. The bottom line is that TDD works, and everybody needs to get over it.

> TDD is the professional option.

> It could be considered unprofessional not to use it.

The bottom line is that developers should listen to each opinion and use their head. Don't be hurt when somebody calls you unprofessional for not following the One True Gospel™ and mindlessly adopt practices. Don't be hurt when somebody says that mindlessly following those practices is counterproductive. Using your head is about the most professional thing you can do.

[1] TDD is dead. Long live testing. [2] Mockists Are Dead. Long Live Classicists. [3] Is TDD Dead? [4] Agile Software Development: Principles, Patterns, and Practices. [5] Test Driven Development By Example. [6] The Clean Coder.

jdunck · 2008-11-18 · Original thread
Software development is an exercise in managing complexity. Being able to isolate the functionality and verify the correctness is valued. OO is one attempt to make this practical in the large[1].

Smalltalk is a great start. If you want to read more, this poorly named book is by far the best I've read on the topic:


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