Joel takes credit for independently discovering that Alexander's Pattern Language can be applied to system design:
I can believe it. I also "discovered" that book because of it's underlying philosphical ideology and my interest in architecture. I later learned that it was influential in the world of programming through a well read colleague.
If you think about it, the measure of a good book is in how much you desire to apply it to the rest of your life.
Methinks your use of the term "good" is too vague to use in argumentation. What about a good page turner that you read simply for pleasure? Or a good book that gives you insights, but doesn't make you "desire to apply it to the rest of your life." Or one that quietly influences without you being consciously aware of it. I enjoyed Roger Zelazny's Amber series, but don't desire to apply it to my life. Does that mean it's not a good book?
I'll stand by what I said, even if it is offtopic. Any book can be "good" if it has over 0 goodness. So a nice pageturner is probably .1 good. I have less lifespan after reading it, which definitely affects the rest of my life, but it was worth it.
While the book has made the rounds in the design pattern community for some time, it is reasonable that many people independently made the connection. I haven't read the book - yet. I did make the connection bewteen musical talent and programming talent before I read about it elsewhere; as did most of my musician/programmer friends. Our pattern-recognition modules are very attuned to design patterns in all things.
I guess I assumed it was common knowledge that Alexander spoke to system designers. After all, it was listed on the syllabus of a CS class at my school. This shows how quickly something can be promoted to "classic" in our field!
I agree, it is 'common knowledge' but how each of us acquires that common knowledge is a story in and of itself.
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