Thursday, June 12, 2014

Upcoming Pluralsight Course -- Abstract Art: Getting Things "Just Right"

I'm happy to announce that I've just started working on a new course for Pluralsight -- Abstract Art: Getting Things "Just Right". Most of the topics that I talk about are things that took me a long time to really understand well. This is no different.

Abstraction is awesome: it can help make our applications easier to maintain, test, and extend. Abstraction is also awful: it can make our code difficult to understand, navigate, and debug. And there's the problem. If we have too little, our applications can be rigid and difficult to maintain. If we have too much, our applications can be confusing and difficult to maintain. We need to find just the right amount of abstraction for a particular application and environment.

Why is it so hard to get abstraction "just right"? Because it goes against our nature as developers. We have natural tendencies that put us into one of two groups: under-abstractors and over-abstractors. Under-abstractors tend to shy away from abstractions: "We'll just hard-code this and copy/paste that, and it will be fine." Over-abstractors tend to add more abstraction than is actually useful: "We'd better put in these 3 layers and add a plug-in architecture because we might need them later." And even though no one likes to identify with either of these categories, we need to admit to who we are deep down.

The good news is that we can overcome our natural tendencies to find the right balance for our applications. And that's what this course is all about. We'll take a look at some of the mistakes and missteps I've made in building applications over the years, how there's a tendency to over-correct when adjusting our approach, and how I worked with another developer to come up with really good techniques to find the right balance.

There will be lots of practical advice and guidance to help us along the path getting abstraction "just right".

So, stay tuned for progress reports, and let me know if you have any suggestions on things you'd like to see.

Happy Coding!

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