Code Simplicity
The Fundamentals of Software
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: March 2012
Pages: 84

Good software design is simple and easy to understand. Unfortunately, the average computer program today is so complex that no one could possibly comprehend how all the code works. This concise guide helps you understand the fundamentals of good design through scientific laws—principles you can apply to any programming language or project from here to eternity.

Whether you’re a junior programmer, senior software engineer, or non-technical manager, you’ll learn how to create a sound plan for your software project, and make better decisions about the pattern and structure of your system.

  • Discover why good software design has become the missing science
  • Understand the ultimate purpose of software and the goals of good design
  • Determine the value of your design now and in the future
  • Examine real-world examples that demonstrate how a system changes over time
  • Create designs that allow for the most change in the environment with the least change in the software
  • Make easier changes in the future by keeping your code simpler now
  • Gain better knowledge of your software’s behavior with more accurate tests
Table of Contents
Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
oreillyCode Simplicity
 
3.7

(based on 27 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (5)

71%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (22)
  • Concise (18)
  • Well-written (16)
  • Helpful examples (9)
  • Accurate (8)

Cons

  • Too basic (10)
  • Not comprehensive enough (6)
  • Naive (3)

Best Uses

  • Novice (20)
  • Student (19)
  • Intermediate (17)
  • Expert (13)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Developer (22), Designer (5), Educator (3), Maker (3)

Reviewed by 27 customers

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4.0

Good quick read.

By Rick C

from Phoenix, AZ

About Me Developer

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Well-written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly Code Simplicity:

    What I really enjoyed about the book was that it was concise (I finished it in one day) and unlike some tech books, it was not crammed with irrelevant code samples. This book changed the way I look at software maintainability.

    The author did a good job of explaining the topic.

     
    5.0

    There should be a law about that!

    By Mike the Software Engineer

    from North Carolina

    About Me Designer, Developer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Expert
      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Code Simplicity:

      Many books, totaling thousands of pages, teach the mechanics of creating "good" code. This is the first book I've read that speaks of the underlying principles behind all the others. Simplicity. That is it. A one word answer to the age old question of what makes great software. Max Kanat-Alexander distills years of experience into six laws of software. Like Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics) or WWJD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWJD%3F) they form a foundation for making the myriad design decisions software developers face every day.

      At only 81 pages, lack of time is no excuse for not reading this book.

       
      4.0

      It gave me a lot of value

      By Yokiyoki

      from Madrid, Spain

      About Me Developer, Sys Admin

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

      • Too basic

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate

      Comments about oreilly Code Simplicity:

      I read a lot of books on programming habits and this one gave me the best value for moey of all. The style is clean and nice and it is full of good advice.

       
      4.0

      Read this before hitting your keyboard a

      By vanHoesel

      from Zwolle, Netherlands

      About Me Developer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to understand
      • Well-written

      Cons

      • Too basic

      Best Uses

      • Expert
      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Code Simplicity:

      It is a good book that brings up some conscious that will help deciding on what to do and what to skip for now. But still, you have to decide between delivering quick, having that technical debt to the future and delivering a bit later with a better implementation.

      All in all, a decision that brings you back to the essence of the book: design with the future in mind, making it possible to extend functionality or changing technology.

       
      4.0

      Useful Book

      By Alex Johnrose

      from India

      About Me Designer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Concise
      • Easy to understand

      Cons

        Best Uses

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        Comments about oreilly Code Simplicity:

        This is an useful and an easy to read book stressing on the importance of simplicity in designing software keeping the effort of maintainance in the forefront than the effort of implementation, which makes a lot of sense. Thank you Max Kanat-Alexander. All the best!

        (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Towards a Science of Programming

        By rduartes

        from London, United Kingdom

        About Me Designer, Developer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Concise
        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Expert
          • Intermediate
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          • Student

          Comments about oreilly Code Simplicity:

          Max Kanat-Alexander makes no ground breaking revelations on his book that will magically transform you into a code wielding superstar programmer. If yo expect a "zero to hero" kind of experience reading his book then you might as well stay as far away from it as you can. Code simplicity is not about magic formulas that turn complex computing problems into streamlined algorithms. Instead it focuses on those subliminal rules that any programmer intuitively knows to be true and gives them enough scientific grounding to help us makes better decisions about the way we design and build our programs.

          (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Quick Enjoyable Read

          By Chris P

          from Boulder, CO

          About Me Developer

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples
          • Well-written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Expert
            • Intermediate
            • Novice
            • Student

            Comments about oreilly Code Simplicity:

            It's a fast read and quickly gets down to the root of good programming. To steal a sentence from chapter one "Programming, in essence, must become the act of reducing complexity to simplicity." As a senior developer I've witnessed complex system grow exponentially more complex for no other reason than a lack of knowledge from new project developers (regardless of their skill level). The principles outlined in this book are easy to understand and border "common sense"... which for some reason is rarely seen in software design.

            (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Read this book!

            By Justin M

            from Clearwater, FL

            About Me Developer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Accurate
            • Concise
            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples
            • Well-written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Expert
              • Intermediate
              • Novice
              • Student

              Comments about oreilly Code Simplicity:

              If you think you know best practices, you had better make sure! Reading this book will allow you to know if you are utilizing good development and design decisions.

              I used this book as a reference and reminder of what are smart decisions to implement in my code structure, database design, and general decision-making.

              I don't feel like this book is missing anything that would result in a better understanding of coding simplistically.

              (9 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

               
              3.0

              Ok intro to fundamentals of SW design

              By jsanpedro

              from Barcelona, Spain

              About Me Developer, Educator

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Concise
              • Easy to understand
              • Well-written

              Cons

              • Not comprehensive enough
              • Too basic

              Best Uses

              • Novice
              • Student

              Comments about oreilly Code Simplicity:

              Find below my review for "Code Simplicity" (by Max Kanat-Alexander). Note this review is part of the Blogger Review program of O'Reilly, in which bloggers receive free books in exchange for writing a review about them.

              Code simplicity is a well written essay about the fundamental rules of software design, a good read especially for novice programmers, and a nice reminder about what really does matter when writing good software for more experience developers.

              This short book is easy to read for anybody. No code or programming jargon is used. Programming concepts required are thoroughly explained. All design rules and laws presented are well introduced and motivated. Concepts are easy to understand seem intuitive, and the reader feels eager to adopt them right away.

              However, the design principles described in this book are quite generic and maybe a bit simplistic. Any programmer with some experience won't find anything new in this book, although the nice way in which the text is written helps realizing the purpose of many things we do subconsciously when writing software. New programmers, on the other hand, may find the rules too abstract or fuzzy to apply them in their daily routine.

              In a nutshell, the book is a nice short introduction to the most fundamental rules of software design, is very well written, and justifies appropriately all the advice given. Could serve inexperienced programmers improve the quality of their developments, and experience programmers remember the rules (and the reason why) they should apply.

              (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Nice book, plays well with Agile methods

              By Coffee_fan

              from Seattle, WA

              About Me Developer, Maker

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Concise
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

              Cons

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                • Expert
                • Intermediate
                • Novice
                • Student

                Comments about oreilly Code Simplicity:

                This book is a great bus read. Short, full of good advice and does not need your full undivided attention to profit. You can get good insights on coding practices, whether you are a novice learning the craft or seasoned expert looking to refresh some best practice.

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