I claimed that my last post was going to be my last Christopher Alexander post for a while, but I lied. I spend some time today reading Richard Gabriel’s Patterns of Software, the first part of which talks about Alexander’s work (up through the carpets book, which isn’t discussed nearly enough; Gabriel’s book dates from before The Nature of Order), and has several interesting things to say. (Including an introduction by Alexander himself!)

In particular, I agree with Brian Marick that the notion of “habitable code” (or “ease of work”, as Marick prefers to call it) is an important one. I also like Gabriel’s reminder that not all patterns (or structures resulting from applying from those patterns, whether in architecture or software) are created equal, that you have to work consciously to bring out beauty / life / the quality without a name.

So give it a look: it’s a short book, and there’s some great autobiographical stuff there, too. And there’s even an electronic version that you can download for free!

And now I really am taking a break from Christopher Alexander! Unless I find something else Alexandrian I need to think/talk about tomorrow…

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