I wrote a book.

Max Kanat-Alexander mkanat at bugzilla.org
Fri Mar 30 05:29:23 UTC 2012

	Thanks! :-D


On 03/29/2012 02:51 PM, Aaron Evans wrote:
> Awesome Max!
> I loved reading your blog posts on the Code Simplicity and appreciate
> your leadership on Bugzilla.
> I ordered mine.
> -Aaron
> @fijiaaron
> On 3/28/2012 2:05 PM, Max Kanat-Alexander wrote:
>>     Hey Bugzilla developers. You may have noticed that I haven't been
>> around quite as much as I used to be. Well, it's true that part of that
>> is because I got this great job at Google which I really love, and I've
>> been working a lot there. But also, I've been spending a lot of my time
>> *not* at work on something completely different: I wrote a book.
>>     During my years on the Bugzilla Project, many (or perhaps all) of you
>> may have noticed that I'm very intense when it comes to code quality--I
>> really care a lot about the architecture of a system, and I have some
>> pretty strong ideas about code complexity. I've spent perhaps more time
>> refactoring Bugzilla (and helping others refactor) than any other work
>> I've done on it. Well, for many of the years I was doing this, what I
>> was also doing was testing and refining a series of principles about
>> software development as a whole. I could try out an idea, apply it to
>> the Bugzilla codebase, and see how things went over time in an actual
>> software project that was broadly-used but needed a lot of code
>> improvements. I learned what works and what doesn't. Then I took these
>> ideas out for broader testing in numerous ways, and what I eventually
>> came up with was a series of laws for software development.
>>     I compiled these laws and a series of other software development
>> guidelines into a book that I called "Code Simplicity: The Science of
>> Software Development." One of the hardest parts was finding a simple
>> logical sequence to explain everything in, simplifying all the
>> information so that it could be understood easily, and determining the
>> exact phrasing for each piece of critical text in the book. All told,
>> that process took almost three years.
>>     Then I looked around and wondered, "Has anybody written this book
>> already?" After all, had there been some other work in the field that
>> was equivalent, I would have just gotten behind that and promoted it,
>> instead. But much to my surprise, nothing equivalent already existed.
>> There are some books that give some good tips on development or about
>> specific languages, but *nothing* that covered the basic principles of
>> software development as a whole.
>>     Then, last Fall, we shopped the book around to various publishers,
>> and
>> much to my excitement, O'Reilly said that they were highly interested
>> and would love to publish my book. Several months later, and here we
>> are--the book has been published and is available for all e-readers and
>> in print form from most major online book retailers. In fact, if you
>> want to get it, it's on sale until April 4 at oreilly.com for 50% off,
>> which is a hugely good deal:
>>     http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920022251.do
>>     So why am I writing to the Bugzilla developers about this? Well,
>> first,
>> because I want to thank you. In fact, you're one of the few groups of
>> people explicitly thanked in the Acknowledgments section of the book,
>> because your contributions to Bugzilla and your discussions with me over
>> the years really helped me shape the content of first my blog and then
>> the book as it is today. But also, I wrote the book because I wanted to
>> be able to pass on a series of principles, the ideas that I was
>> operating off of when I was helping to improve the quality of the
>> Bugzilla codebase. I want to see these sorts of improvements happen
>> everywhere and have them be driven by everybody. I want to give back to
>> the Bugzilla community as a whole, not just with short snippets of
>> emails, a few Wiki pages here and there, or some blog posts, but with
>> complete work of all the fundamental ideas.
>>     So here you have it. If I had numerous free copies, I would actually
>> send one to many of you. But I don't, and so the best that I can do is
>> to let you guys know about the existence of the book while it's on sale
>> at such a hugely good price. It is my dear hope that it helps you in
>> some way not just as individual programmers, but as the Bugzilla
>> community as a whole.
>>     -Max
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Max Kanat-Alexander
Chief Architect, Community Lead, and Release Manager
Bugzilla Project

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