Software Creation Mystery -

Archive for May, 2008

The Happiness. Programmer’s Edition.

Happiness is a direction, not a place. – Sydney J. Harri


Happy programmers are more productive, healthier and live longer. It is pleasure to work with happy programmers. Are you a happy programmer? Do you have feeling of joy and satisfaction every day? Do you want to know how to become happier?

This post considers programmer’s satisfaction with live as a whole (I had another post dedicated to happiness at work).

Programmers as other people are happier if they have

  • more money
  • successful marriage
  • excellent health
  • good friends
  • live in a beautiful place with wonderful weather

But we have what we have. It is not easy to achieve all of this: become rich, find perfect spouse and friends, be completely healthy and move to the best place on the Earth. But the most nasty news is that even after achieving all of this happiness is not guaranteed to last forever.

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The Secret of Building Effective Software Systems

I can’t wait to share this simple secret with you right now.

The Secret: Effective Software Systems are the systems that easy to understand and operate with human brains.

Programmers are more productive with effective software systems. Programmers can better learn and grow these system. Programmers have less problems, work faster and make better decision with them.

Now, you can avoid spending time reading this post if you already know this secret and you know how to avoid building the software system that:

  • almost impossible to understand in reasonable time
  • has confusing and convoluted swamp of logic and structure
  • scary to change as nobody has any clue what will be broken, but sure that it will be broken

If you are still interested, lets find out what makes software systems effective.

Software Development is a pure mental endeavor (except typing on keyboard) that includes 3 main activities:

  • Understand – learn and know system concepts and implementation
  • Evolve – build, modify and support growth of the system ideas in the code
  • Share – communicate and exchange ideas about the system

Programmers should care about 7 areas to make the system better suited for our brains:

  1. Knowledge Creation and Retention – parsing, memorization and comprehension of the system ideas
  2. System Organization – elements, relations and structure in the system
  3. Sustaining Emerging Order – support evolution of the system and gain control over chaos
  4. Minimize Noise and Purify – avoid adding unnecessary stuff to the system
  5. System Discovery and Learning – making sense of the system
  6. Mental Models – our internal explanations for how things are working in the real system
  7. Shared Knowledge – ideas exchange, reconciliation of opinions and creation of mutually enhanced knowledge.

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