Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns

1 minute read

I was recently asked by a friend about which programming books I’ve found most useful over the years. I’ve read a lot of software development books but one of the ones which I found most useful, and which I always flick back over, was Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns by Kent Beck.

Although I am fond of the language, I am not a Smalltalk developer. You don’t need to be one to enjoy this book. The examples are written in Smalltalk, but the code snippets are not as important as the principles and best practices for object oriented development. I write better code having read this book.

Broken down into chapters such as Behaviour, State, Collections, and Classes, Kent provides detailed patterns for producing effective code by first phrasing the problem as a question

How do you provide safe, general access to collection elements?

and then providing a concise answer

Implement a method that executes a block fo each element of the collection.

Department>>employeesDo: aBlock
    employees do: aBlock

Topic such as

  • Choosing meaningful, intention-revealing names for objects and methods
  • Decomposing larger methods into smaller more atomic units
  • State management

are all covered in the 92 patterns.

I would highly recommend that you read this book if you are writing object-oriented code. You will immediately be writing better code.