Saturday, 7 September 2013

Simple Made Easy

Simple Made Easy


Recently I watched a great talk called Simple Made Easy by Rich Hickey. I was introduced to this video by a great developer. This talk covered some very interesting points. If you would like the slides they are here.

Simple


The definition of simple means one fold or braid. If you look it up on google I found composed of a single element; not compound. As he discusses one role, task, concept. I can see how we can relate this to SRP.

Easy


He describes easy as being near at hand or we can look at a different way not difficult to obtain. Another way he describes it is near our understanding / skill set / capabilities. This means that easy is relative.

What does this all mean. To me it clearly outlines that simple does not mean easy. Something that I think we get wrong from time to time, I know I do.

Change


Here is an interesting topic that he brings up. In order for us to make a change we need to be able to reason about our code. Often I had thought that because I had tests that I am free to change, I think there is some truth to it. However he made me think about the fact that we need to think about the change. He compares TDD to guard rail programming, meaning that tests will not always drive the right design. 

I was often told that you don't need to debug that the tests should be the only way to see what is wrong with your code. I really believe that is not possible all the time as there will be times where you just have no f**king idea of what is going on. This is because it is hard to reason about.

Anyway the point here is that nothing can replace the thought process.

Benefits of Simplicity


We have an ease of understanding, ease of change and debugging. If we are looking at a single thing it makes it simple as you don't have to think about other dependencies. Makes sense though I don't know how easy this is to achieve, no pun intended.

Conclusion


This is a very interesting presentation that I urge you watch and have a conversation with other people. Making things simple is extremely hard in my view and requires some upfront thinking