Friday, October 10, 2003

Patterns Of Software

Richard Gabriel has his book, "Patterns Of Software" on the web to read. Check it out here. A lot of people have high praise for the book so thought I'd check it out. I was reading the forward by Christopher Alexander and ran across this quote:
    In my life as an architect, I find that the single thing which inhibits young professionals,
    new students most severely, is their acceptance of standards that are too low. If I ask a student whether her design is as good as Chartres, she often smiles tolerantly at me as if to say, “Of course not, that isn’t what I am trying to do. . . . I could never do that.” Then, I express my disagreement, and tell her: “That standard must be our standard. If you are going to be a builder, no other standard is worthwhile. That is what I expect of myself in my own buildings, and it is what I expect of my students.” Gradually, I show the students that they have a right to ask this of themselves, and must ask this of themselves. Once that level of standard is in their minds, they will be able to figure out, for themselves, how to do better, how to make something that is as profound as that.

    Two things emanate from this changed standard. First, the work becomes more fun. It is deeper, it never gets tiresome or boring, because one can never really attain this standard. One’s work becomes a lifelong work, and one keeps trying and trying. So it becomes very fulfilling, to live in the light of a goal like this. But secondly, it does change what people are trying to do. It takes away from them the everyday, lower-level aspiration that is purely technical in nature, (and which we have come to accept) and replaces it with something deep, which will make a real difference to all of us that inhabit the earth.

Needless to say, I bought the book immediately (who says given things away for free on the net doesn't cause sales?). I think the above quote is one of the most inspiring things I've ever read. It's something that when I'm feeling beaten down for having my heads in the clouds to give me strength to keep it there! I think we should all aspire to be better than our heros and mentors.

I just started on the book, but thought I'd share this awesome quote. Go download the book and read the whole forward (it's great). I'm going to have to read some architecture books.

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