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Software Design for Flexibility: How to Avoid Programming Yourself into a Corner by Chris Hanson, ISBN-13: 978-0262045490

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Software Design for Flexibility: How to Avoid Programming Yourself into a Corner by Chris Hanson, ISBN-13: 978-0262045490

[PDF eBook eTextbook]

  • Publisher: ‎ The MIT Press (March 9, 2021)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • 448 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 0262045494
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0262045490

Strategies for building large systems that can be easily adapted for new situations with only minor programming modifications.

Time pressures encourage programmers to write code that works well for a narrow purpose, with no room to grow. But the best systems are evolvable; they can be adapted for new situations by adding code, rather than changing the existing code. The authors describe techniques they have found effective–over their combined 100-plus years of programming experience–that will help programmers avoid programming themselves into corners.

The authors explore ways to enhance flexibility by:

  • Organizing systems using combinators to compose mix-and-match parts, ranging from small functions to whole arithmetics, with standardized interfaces
  • Augmenting data with independent annotation layers, such as units of measurement or provenance
  • Combining independent pieces of partial information using unification or propagation
  • Separating control structure from problem domain with domain models, rule systems and pattern matching, propagation, and dependency-directed backtracking
  • Extending the programming language, using dynamically extensible evaluators

Table of Contents:

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
1: Flexibility in Nature and in Design
2: Domain-Specific Languages
3: Variations on an Arithmetic Theme
4: Pattern Matching
5: Evaluation
6: Layering
7: Propagation
8: Epilogue
A Appendix: Supporting Software
B Appendix: Scheme
References
Index
List of Exercises

Gerald Jay Sussman is Panasonic Professor of Electrical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the coauthor of Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics, and Functional Differential Equations (all published by the MIT Press).

Chris Hanson is on the technical staff at Datera.

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