Kent Beck is writing about ‘tidying’. It’s a whole patch of delicious strawberries, and I highly recommend them.
Kent is publishing Software Design: Tidy First? on substack. You do not want to miss it. I don’t think it’s too late to subscribe so that you can read about tidyings such as Chunk Statements, Explaining Variable, Dead Code, and more.
There will be a book, Kent tells us. In fact it looks like there will be three, aimed at different targets, the individual developer, the team, and the product. But I advise you not to wait, but to sign in now. I think it’ll be worth it.
Seeing this work coming out makes me happy. I’ve considered Kent to be a mentor and friend for nigh onto three decades, and it’s really a delight to see these ideas coming out so crisp and clean. I don’t think there’s a single notion in there that I was unfamiliar with, but each section is so clear and perfect that it shines a light on what one already knows, and illuminates aspects that may have slipped one’s mind, or maybe never really took hold.
Seeing it makes me a little sad, as well, for good reasons and not so good ones. It makes me sad that I can’t encounter these ideas for the first time, because I remember how absolutely delighted I was, in my youth and—well—mature years, to encounter a new idea or new expression of an idea. Kent was behind many of those moments, and I’m ranging from nostalgic to downright sad that those exciting moments are more rare.
There is another kind of sadness. If you’re good at something, you understand how hard it really is to be that good. So when you see a true master doing that thing, you’re at the same time better able to appreciate, delighted to see the thing done so well, and a bit sad to realize that you rarely, perhaps never, reach that level of excellence.
I think I’m good at what I do, at least good enough to recognize and appreciate when someone does it better. Kent is one such person: I could name several more. So my eyes light up when I see something really fine coming out, but maybe they get a little shiny as well.
I commented on Kent’s Explaining Variable segment:
I’m loving the bite-sized aspect of these. Over here, I’ve been struggling to find small ideas that are too simple to water down, and juicy enough to be of value. This one right here seems to me to hit that spot exactly.
“Tidy First?” is an excellent strawberry patch that I recommend highly. If I happen to write about anything similar here in the Strawberries topic, know that the idea almost certainly came from Kent, or another of my betters. I claim no inventions in this business. Everything I do is founded on things I saw, read, or have been told by people better at this than I am. It is an honor to be allowed to try to express what I’ve learned in the various ways I use.
All of us can be better than any of us … if we share ideas and work together. That’s something folx seem to have forgotten. Let’s not forget. And get over to the Tidy First? substack before it’s too late.