Small Is Beautiful

Wednesday 3rd June 2015, 6:45 pm.

Speaker: Kevlin Henney.

Venue: Room 4.31, University of Edinburgh Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB.

This event is free of charge and open to all. No registration required - just turn up.

Refreshments and networking from 6:15 pm.

This meeting is supported by NCR.


Systems get bigger, technologies reach further, practices mature, advice changes. Or at least some of it does. Some guidance remains unaffected by the passing of paradigms, the evolution of technology, the scaling of development. Break your software into small, cohesive parts defined by clear interfaces and sound implementations, all the while striving for simplicity. The excuses for not doing so are as predictable as they are problematic. If you want to create legacy code, make sure that the code is arbitrarily partitioned into large, incoherent parts characterised by unwieldy interfaces and incomprehensible implementations.

While there are many definitions of what a legacy system is, common to almost all perceptions of a legacy system is the concept of size — specifically, lots of it. There is a reason people don't complain about small legacy systems: it's practically an oxymoron. This talk sets out to re-assess and reassert the importance of thinking and implementing small as an essential property of software systems — yes, even the large ones.

About the speaker


Kevlin is an independent consultant and trainer. His development interests are in patterns, programming, practice and process. He has been a columnist for various magazines and web sites, including Better Software, The Register, Application Development Advisor, Java Report and the C/C++ Users Journal. Kevlin is co-author of A Pattern Language for Distributed Computing and On Patterns and Pattern Languages, two volumes in the Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture series. He is also editor of the 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know site and book.

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