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Links, the design principles edition

I was gently reminded today that I haven't kept up with writing blog posts, despite the original goal of posting three times a week. Oops! Currently, I'm reading Agile Software Development: Principles, Patterns, and Practices, which has been rather like drinking from a firehose of concepts and code examples. I've moved on from working on a Java implementation of tic-tac-toe to building an HTTP server in Clojure, which has propelled me to finally figuring out what GET and POST requests are all about.

I tend to collect links in my private DM channel on the 8th Light Slack, so I'll start off this return to (hopefully regular) blogging with another list of useful reading:

Simplify Design with Zero, One, Many: I've found "zero, one, many" to be a really useful guideline to turn to when I'm trying to figure out which unit test to write next or when I'm checking for test coverage. Any loop in your code should be covered by a test for the zero case, the singleton case, and the "many" case (usually suffices to do two).

Good naming is a process, not a single step: A good series of posts on naming variables in your code. I find that as I improve my sense of design, finding names that fully and accurately describe a component's "single responsibility" is crucial to helping me refactor my code and make it more comprehensible.

The Three Rules of TDD: A classic Uncle Bob post. A slightly different formulation of the TDD cycle that I find helpful because of two points in particular.

  1. Treating compiler failures as failing tests, since I frequently get compiler failures.

  2. Only writing enough production code to make a test pass, since one of the recurring themes in code reviews from my mentors is that I tend to come up with something more complicated than what the test (and the actual problem being solved) calls for.

Beck Design Rules: Another take on how to avoid complicated code: a list of priorities that fit in very well with the TDD cycle. First, you write code that meets the first priority, passing the tests. Then, you refactor to remove duplication and express the intent of your code. (The post talks very usefully about how sometimes there might be tension between those two priorities and how to find the right balance.) Finally, the last priority, fewest elements, forces you to remove anything redundant or not being used (another "code smell" that is prone to popping up in my code).

Code for the auction sniper application in GOOS: Growing Object-Oriented Software spends the bulk of its volume on an example of an auction sniper software, which is worked through in detail to illustrate the design decisions and processes that the authors have laid out. This Github repository contains all the code, and I rather wish I had known about it when reading the book! A lot of the ideas that the book talks about only really became clear to me after I had mostly finished my tic-tac-toe in Java, to the effect that I would probably go about designing a tic-tac-toe very differently if I had to start over from scratch now. I'm trying to keep them in mind as I write my Clojure server, though there is a bit of a translation process due to Clojure being a functional language rather than an object-oriented one.

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