Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns

%A Kent Beck
%T Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns
%D 1997
%I Prentice Hall
%P 224
%G ISBN 0-13-476904-X

Amazingly good book that should have had a wider audience. It is mostly about Smalltalk programming techniques, but still useful to any programmer out there. As Beck says in the preface "This book is about the simple things experienced, successful Smalltalkers do that beginner's don't". Beck also says "I'm not a great programmer, I'm a pretty good programmer with great habits". This book is where he has written down all those good habits.

One of the things this no-nonsense guide to good Smalltalk programming style made me realize is how much of my C++ programming time is actually spent on "language lawyer" issues and made me long for a simpler life :-)

Kent Beck is nowadays very well known for his Extreme Programming methodology. Older readers might also remember his important OOPSLA 89 paper on CRC cards, co-authored by Ward Cunnigham. Some XP ideas are already present in this book, i.e. Once and Only Once (avoid duplication).

A pity Smalltalk seems to be on it's way out (Squeak notwithanding). Luckily enough I can apply a lot of his ideas in Ruby.

Some interesting patterns are "Execute Around" (now famous because of Java) and "Simple Superclass Name", where Beck comes up with some surprisingly effective class naming rules.

The editor has a web page for the book.

The book's entry in the c2 Wiki.