Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gunny Meets Uncle Bob - Part 1

The last few days have been very interesting. It started when my friend Jon Aasenden posted a link to a you tube video called "SOLID Principles of Object Oriented & Agile Design" by some guy named Uncle Bob. This wasn't the first time I heard about Uncle Bob. Nick Hodges made a reference to something called SOLID in his book which is supposedly Uncle Bob's principles of object oriented design.

I bought Nick Hodges book "Coding in Delphi" over two years ago. I actually bought two copies. My first purchase was the printed edition. I went back and purchased the pdf version a couple months later after I decided I didn't want to type the examples if I could cut and paste them.

Anyway, I made it to page 28 and no further. I had a mental block about something and never worked through it. It's been sitting on my bookshelf unopened for over two years. It's amazing how fast time goes by. I have since learned that Nick has two more books. "More Coding in Delphi" and "dependency injection in delphi".

So after watching the Uncle Bob's video I decided to buy three of his books; "Clean Code", "The Clean Coder" and the yet to be released "The Clean Architecture".

I came home from work yesterday and "The Clean Coder" had been delivered. I was so excited. I couldn't wait to read Chapter 1.


I haven't felt this inadequate in a long time. Thank you Robert "Uncle Bob" Martin. In less than twenty pages you humbled this US Marine.

I went on Facebook and whined about how inadequate Martin made me feel. To my surprise a couple of highly respected friends mentioned they too had felt the same way after reading his stuff.  That was a little comforting but I still felt like crap.

According to Martin I'm supposed to give my employer 40 hours a week and then spend another 20 hours a week on my career. Learning, reading, practicing.

I'm also supposed to understand and describe the 24 patterns in the Gang of Four (GOF) book plus have a working knowledge of many of the patterns in the POSA books.

I scrambled around and googled for the 24 GOF patterns. Found a clean, concise 8-10 page pdf. Read it real quick. Check - That's done. I'll do the POSA stuff tomorrow. It's late. I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

Day Two:

I woke up this morning a little early because I had to pee. I came back to bed and tried to fall back to sleep. But I couldn't get Martin and what he said out of my head. I kept thinking, "I haven't got time for all this crap, I need to learn Dependency Injection. That's what started this whole thing anyway."

Then it hit me.

I started thinking about chess, and how Jimmy O'hara used to kick my ass every time we played chess back when we were both twelve years old. That was forty-six years ago. He'd take my queen within the first four to five minutes. Oh did I get pissed when that happened. I now had to play without my strongest piece.

Then I thought. Wow, chess was a really complicated game. It took a long time to learn how to move them 16 different pieces around. Wait a minute there aren't really 16 different pieces there are only 6 different pieces. I spent a lot of time learning how those 6 pieces moved.

Then it dawned on me.

If I want to be good at my craft I have to identify the chess pieces of my craft and learn how to move them. Wait a minute. Didn't Martin just tell me last night that I need to understand the 24 GOF patterns. He did. Aren't those the chess pieces of my craft? They are.

How can I expect to be good at my craft if I only give a casual glance at the chess pieces I need to use in my craft. I can't. Bingo.

Then it hit me again.

What about the POSA books and those designs?

I like to play golf. I started playing golf when I was twelve. Yup forty-six years ago. Learning golf was hard and it took a long time to get good at it and to learn how to use of each club. Hey wait a minute. I see a pattern here. Why can't I treat the patterns in the POSA books like golf clubs. If I want to be good at my craft I have to learn what each club does and how and when to use each one of them.

But wait there more. What about SOLID? Hey Gunny, how do you reconcile SOLID like you did using chess for GOF and golf for POSA?

JJDIDTIEBUCKLE The twelve leadership traits.

I spent twenty years in the Marine Corps. It's all about leadership and leadership traits. I lived, breathed, taught, and honed those twelve traits. I need to do the same thing with SOLID.

This works for me. You need to find a way to make it work for you.

Gang of Four Patterns = Chess
POSA Patterns = Golf

This journey I'm taking with Uncle Bob is not in the least a passive journey. If I want to fully embrace my craft (software development) I need to dedicate myself to it the same way I did for chess, golf, and leadership within the Marine Corps.

Time to strap it on.


Semper Fi,
Gunny Mike