Posts Tagged ‘Simon Brown’

Blind Copy

January 5, 2015 Leave a comment

I just finished watching Simon Brown’s brilliant talk: “Software Architecture vs Code”.

I thought the segment he presented on levels of testing was really, really good. Simon had the nerve to question the dogma of TDD and the dubious value of unit testing the hell out of your code (90%, 100% coverage anyone?). He cited the controversial writings of Jim Coplien and David Heinemeier-Hansson that poke some holes in those revered, extreme practices:

Cope and DHH

Like Cope and DHH, Simon does not advise shit-canning ALL unit testing. He simply suggests rethinking the test pyramid and how one allocates resources to the various levels of testing:

Test Pyramid

Instead of mandating 90 or 100 percent unit test coverage in order to create a high level of (false) confidence in your code base, perhaps you and your org should consider the potential silliness of the current obsession with TDD and writing huge unit test suites. Maybe you’d save some money and deliver your product faster. But then again, maybe not.

Blind Copy

Categories: technical Tags: , , ,

The Meta-Documentation Dilemma

September 4, 2014 Leave a comment

In his terrific “Effective architecture sketches” slide deck, Simon Brown rightly states that you don’t need UML to sketch up your software architecture. However, if you don’t, you need to consider documenting the documentation:

arch sketch tips

The utility of using a standard like UML is that you don’t have to spend any time on all the arcane subtleties of meta-documentation. And if you’re choosing to bypass the UML, you’re probably not going to spend much time, if any, doing meta-documentation to clarify your architecture decisions. After all, doing less documentation, let alone writing documentation about the documentation, is why you eschewed UML in the first place.

So, good luck in unambiguously communicating the software architecture to your stakeholders; especially those poor souls who will be trying to build the beast with you.

Working Code Over Comprehensive Documentation

April 8, 2013 2 comments

Comprehensiveness is the enemy of comprehensibility – Martin Fowler

Martin’s quote may be the main reason why this preference was written into the Agile Manifesto

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Obviously, it doesn’t say “Working software and no documentation“. I’d bet my house that Martin and his fellow colleagues who conjured up the manifesto intentionally stuck the word “comprehensive” in there for a reason. And the reason is that “good” documentation reduces costs in both the short and long runs. In addition, check out what the Grade-ster has to say:

The code tells the story, but not the whole story – Grady Booch

Now that the context for this post has been set, I’d like to put in a plug for Simon Brown’s terrific work on the subject of lightweight software architecture documentation. In tribute to Simon, I decided to hoist a few of his slides that resonate with me.



Ad Hoc Docs

Note that the last graphic is my (and perhaps Simon’s?) way of promoting standardized UML-sketching for recording and communicating software architectures. Of course, if you don’t record and communicate your software architectures, then reading this post was a waste of your time; and I’m sorry for that.


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