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Emergent Design: The Evolutionary Nature of Professional Software Development
by Scott L. Bain

1 edition
March 2008
448 pages

Reviewed by Ulf Dittmer, May 2008
  (9 of 10)

The author states in the preface that he'd like to push software development as a profession forward by promoting a set of methodologies that are universally recognized as beneficial. This reviewer thinks he achieves this goal admirably and wishes he had had access to a book like this when he first started out with object-oriented software development professionally.

A number of what might be called best practices are examined as to why they're useful, how they might best be applied, and how they deliver value in conjunction with other best practices. Some of these are well-covered by now (e.g. coding style and patterns), others are somewhat newer (like refactoring, the open-closed principle, unit tests and test driven development). At each step the author uses a combination of concrete code (mostly in Java, but easily understandable to everyone) and abstract UML-style diagrams to illustrate what is happening, and what difference a particular technique makes.

One important recurring theme is that the waterfall model of software development is truly dead, and that change of all kind needs to be embraced in a project, especially including changing requirements. Every software professional will recognize the value of being able to cope with change, and in this book that's part of the core message at each step. I recommend the book to get fresh perspectives and new ideas about various parts of the development process, both for developers and managers.

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