Patterns of Software

is the title of a truly excellent book by Richard Gabriel. I reread this every year or so. Each time it speaks to me with new depth and wisdom. As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
My overall bias is that technology science, engineering and company organization are all secondary to the people and human concerns in the endeavor.
Compression is that characteristic of a piece of language in which each word assumes many meanings and derives its meaning from the context.
What [D'Arcy] Thompson insisted on was that every form is basically the end result of a certain growth process.
The process of software construction is the single most important determining factor in software quality.
Methodologists who insist of separating analysis and design from coding are missing the essential features of design: The design is in the code, not in a document or in a diagram.
Poincaré; once said: "Sociologists discuss sociological methods [not sociology]; physicists discuss physics [not physics methods]." I love this statement. Study of method by itself is always barren.
Study software, not software methods.
If we hope to make buildings in which the rooms and buildings feel harmonious; we too, must make sure that the structure is correct down to 1/8th of an inch.
To get wholeness, you must try instead to strive for this kind of perfection, where things that don't matter are left rough and unimportant, and the things that really matter are given deep attention.
Without large structure, the design cannot hold together; it becomes merely a jumble of isolated design elements.
The nature of a system is such that at almost granularity it looks the same; it is a system.
In the modern era, we have come to favor simplicity over complexity, perfection over imperfection, symmetry over asymmetry, planning over piecemeal growth, and design awards over habitability. Yet if we look at the art we love and the music, the buildings, towns, and houses, the ones we like have the quality without a name, not the deathlike morphology of clean design.


  1. Jon, you forgot to start with "As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages". I've grown used to that :-) I really like these brief compilations. I might steal the concept for some future blog post.

    Love your portrait in the sidebar, by the way.

  2. Added the missing words just for you Tobias :-)
    Steal away!