Code Simplicity: The Science of Software Development

What if every software developer could gain the knowledge of long experience without having to go through the pain of repeated failure? What if, instead of being a continuous chaos of complexity and argument, the process of software development could be a sane, orderly progression that was well-understood by every single programmer involved? What if all programmers and their managers shared a common ground for discussing software development decisions–a common ground that was based on facts instead of opinion or authority, and that was actually helpful in deciding what to do on a day-to-day basis with your software project?

What if software development was a science–one with laws, rules, facts, and definitions that told you with certainty which directions to take and which directions to avoid? Not a dogmatic system which restricted you only to some particular methodology, but a series of principles that freed you to think for yourself and make the right decisions for your situation?

What if then, all of this was in a book, that book was only 90 pages long, and it was understandable by every single person working in the software industry, programmer or not? Would it make the world a different place? Find out for yourself:

Code Simplicity: The Science of Software Development.

I’ve spent the last several years developing, testing, and refining a series of scientific laws for software development. Some of what I’ve been doing, you’ve seen in this blog, but the book isn’t just a regurgitation of these articles here. It’s a complete, organized treatise on this new science–a series of principles that I hope will not just change your software, but also bring sanity, order, and happiness to your life as a software developer. Then, once your team reads it, it will bring understanding and insight to your group’s direction and discussions. And finally, when every software developer has read it, it will change the world of software development.

But it all starts here, with you. Help me change the world. All you have to do is read a book, and then if you think you got something out of it, tell other people about it, so maybe they will read it too.



  1. I bought the book this past weekend and am almost through it. Already it has saved probably 50 hours of future maintenance headache due to one simple software design decision. Time spent planning and designing software is time well spent. Time spent * learning * about software design is exponentially time well spent. Great job, Max – and thank you!

    • Wow, that’s awesome. Hahaha, that’s a great point about time spent learning about software design! 🙂


  2. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, can I arrange for an autograph? 🙂 It’s a pretty good book, but: “not long enough; read in one day” :p (I’m kidding, it’s a good length. Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror would probably like this book, too.)

    • Hey Alex! I am in the Bay Area. 🙂

      I’d love it if Jeff read it, I’d be interested to know his thoughts on it. However, I’d want him to read the revised version that’s coming out in a few days, not the current version.


        • Hey Albert! Actually, I’m not sure; this will be my first revision, so I don’t know how it works. At the very least, when you buy the Kindle version there’s the opportunity to “upgrade” it to the DRM-free version from O’Reilly for $5, using a link that appears at the end of the book. The O’Reilly versions definitely get the free updates.

  3. Bought my copy after listening to the webcast. I was writing code immediately after, and just listening helped me make the function a little simpler.

  4. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I thinks you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  5. Value Convenience by Max Kanat-Alexander (published by O’Reilly, 2012) is the type of guide you might share with a younger or journeyman designer and say: “Read this over the few days, and then on Thursday we’ll discuss your style.” There are many quotable paragraphs, pithy aphorisms, and axioms that take the way of explanations, information, guidelines, and regulations.

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