Web dev at the end of the world, from Hveragerði, Iceland

I’m available as a consultant and for coaching. I also have a book out.

I wrote a book – now you must suffer with me

The book that is the culmination of my decade-long obsession with software quality is out now.

Out of the Software Crisis by Baldur Bjarnason

Software projects keep failing, not because we don’t have the right team or tools but because our software development system is broken. Out of the Software Crisis is a guide to fixing your software projects with systems-thinking making them more resilient to change and less likely to fail.

Get the ebook for $35

You can find the book’s website at: softwarecrisis.baldurbjarnason.com

This post has been edited to reflect changes in the final published book.


Software annoys me. Web apps frustrate me. Both in the making and as a user. The web is a glitzy but dilapidated mall that inspires fascination in equal parts out of a sense of wonder and sheer horror. At every turn, we suffer software.

Making good software is hard. The crisis is that using software is also hard.

I would like us to be better.

So, in a fit of compulsion, I wrote a book. I’m in the finishing stages of putting it together and will release it in a couple of days or so, whenever it feels like it’s ready.

This post isn’t an announcement or a proper book launch.

It’s more of a forewarning.

I’m going to write and talk about this book a lot over the next couple of months. As it’s around 35 000 words, there is plenty of it that I can extract and post here and in the newsletter. Many of the chapters work just as well as standalone essays. And despite the length, there are a few cuttings that didn’t make it into the book that I’m going to try to repurpose as essays down the line.

Hopefully, you all won’t be too tired of hearing about it before it’s all over.

What drove me to write the book is that I don’t think technology is to blame for how insufferable and unusable software and web apps are. Technology isn’t the cause. Technology can’t fix it.

Only we can fix it by making better choices.

The book is 155 pages long, should cost $35 USD at launch, comes in PDF and EPUB formats, and does two things:

  1. It outlines an approach to using systems-thinking to improve the odds of your software project succeeding.
  2. It provides you with a framework for thinking about frameworks: how to choose a web framework that will work for your project.

The book is written with both coders and non-coders in mind. You need some technical knowledge (like the basic idea of how a web server works), but this is not a programming book.

If you want to get notified when it launches, you can subscribe to my newsletter or RSS feed. Or, you can sign up just for the announcement and nothing more at the release notification landing page.

As a bit of a teaser, here are the table of contents, cover, and the reference list. The chapter on web frameworks is the beefiest, clocking in at a healthy 6710 words.

Contents

INTRODUCTION

PART ONE: SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEMS

  1. It was great until it wasn’t
  2. Try not to kill your software development system
  3. How do you make good software?
  4. Variability is poison to software development
  5. Design practice requires experimentation
  6. Intrinsic versus extrinsic innovation
  7. Programming as product design
  8. Research & taste
  9. Programming as theory-building

PART TWO: HOW WE FAIL

  1. The first Software Crisis
  2. The agile reaction
  3. The many kinds of software failures
  4. Silver bullets

PART THREE: FRAMEWORKS

  1. WTF do you mean when you say ‘framework’?
  2. You need to study exemplary software
  3. Check your needs
  4. Understand the paradigms
  5. Maturity, Complexity, & Layers
  6. In the end, what else is there but work?

WHAT NEXT?

  1. Further reading
  2. References

Cover

Out of the Software Crisis by Baldur Bjarnason

References

You can get a pretty good sense of what the book is like just from the reference list.

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