Messaging as a Programming… by ralfw [Leanpub PDF/iPad/Kindle]
Messaging as a Programming Model
Messaging as a Programming Model
Messaging as a Programming Model

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Completed on 2016-06-01

About the Book

Have you ever heard, objects are communicating by messages? If so, what does that mean? And what relevancy does this particular kind of communication have for your day-to-day coding practice?

I had heard this a long time ago - and never have been able to make sense of it. But why bother? Just calling functions on objects gets the job done, doesn't it. That's how I programmed until a couple of years ago, at least. However my dismay was growing every day. I found it hard to derive classes/objects from requirements. And despite all my best OO-intentions peppered with Clean Code principles my code was hard to read.

So I started to think about whether this was all my fault, and how to try harder to become a good OO-programmer. But then I realized: This wasn't just my problem. Almost every developer I met suffered from the same symptoms. So maybe the true cause of this wasn't our collective dumbness. Maybe the true cause lay in the paradigm.

And that's what I'm believing today. Mainstream object-orientation is more of a problem than a solution, because it's lacking an essential, no, the essential aspect of object-orientation how its inventor Alan Kay meant it to be. This essential aspect is messaging. Yes, the way of how objects are communicating makes a big difference. And glossing this over by just saying "it's like calling a function" has done great harm.

In this little book I´m trying to show you what I think, messaging means and how object-orientation was intended to be. Fear not, I won't try to convince you to switch your language or platform. If you're happy with Java or Ruby or C#, you can continue using it. But how you're using an OO-language's features will change. Hopefully ;-) And doing "OOP as if you meant it" will be easier with some languages than with others.

I'd be happy if you gave messaging a second chance. I'm sure you'll reap benefits from putting it back into the center of your object-oriented programming practice. Your code will become easier to write, read, and change, since it will more closely resemble the requirements and your solution strategy.

[The content of this book is taken from a couple of blog posts. I´ve converted into a Leanpub book for your reading convenience and as a learning experience for myself. I wanted to explore how self-publishing works using the Leanpub platform.]

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The Architect´s Napkin - Der Schummelzettel
Messaging as a Programming Model
2 Books
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About the Author


Ralf Westphal is a freelance consultant, project coach, and trainer on software architectural topics and team organization. He is the co-founder of the "Clean Code Developer" initiative ( to increase software quality.

He frequently writes in his German blog, but also maintains an English blog.

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