Thursday, March 24, 2005

Recipes vs Principles

Joseph, Colin and I spend a lot of time talking about what works and what doesn't work on the project. We're constantly looking for ways to improve.

What gets us going, trying something new? Someones experience. Not a philosophy, or a deep underlying principle, it is a well described experience.

Why do you think Refactoring, Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture, Design Patterns are great books revered by all level of developers. They describe how things are done from experience.

Other books, such as Agile Software Development describe the philosophy, principles, or interpretation of why things occur. They help you think about things at an abstract level - so you can adapt. In many ways thye require me to be way too smart. I need to be able to take the principle, figure out a concrete way to do it, and then figure out how it fits in my particular project.

It is far easier to take something that someone has already figured out and adapt it to my situation. XP was an adaptation of the way people really worked. The adaptation was taking things to an extreme.

I am way better at adapting other peoples experiences than deriving new processes from principles.


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