REVIEW - Object Thinking


Object Thinking


David West



Microsoft Press (2004)




Alan Lenton


December 2004



will provide much food for thought

This very useful book will provide much food for thought to those who think their programming is object oriented.

The aim of the author is to teach programmers to think in an object-oriented manner from the very start of a project, rather than confining it to a consideration of the solution domain. While David West favours agile programming methodologies, the book is far wider in scope, and contains lessons for all programmers.

The book starts by setting the concepts of object orientation and agile development firmly in their historical context. They are seen not merely as part of the debate in computer science between structural and object methods, but within the broader sweep of the debate about the role of formalism and hermeneutics in science. I confess that as a sociologist as well as a programmer, I loved this part of the book and was inspired to dig out my copy of Paul Feyerabend's 'Against Method' for a re-read.

The key idea of the book is that objects should be sought in the problem domain. West calls this 'domain anthropology'. Some of the analogies with regular anthropology are a little forced, but the fundamental idea is sound.

West is keen to change the culture of programming, which he identifies, correctly in my view, as crucial to improving the skills and abilities of programmers. The book is an excellent start, but there is a long way to go yet!


Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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