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15. Seek Technical Excellence > Design Is for Understanding

Design Is for Understanding

If source code is design, then what is design? Why do we bother with all these UML diagrams and CRC cards and discussions around a whiteboard?

All these things are abstractions—even source code. The reality of software’s billions of evanescent electrical charges is inconceivably complex, so we create simplified models that we can understand. Some of these models, like source code, are machine-translatable. Others, like UML, are not—at least not yet.

Early source code was assembly language: a very thin abstraction over the hardware. Programs were much simpler back then, but assembly language was hard to understand. Programmers drew flow charts to visualize the design.


  

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