Abstract Pattern

Kent Beck Abstract Pattern

Four sentences:

  1. The first states the problem.
  2. The second states why the problem is a problem.
  3. The third is the startling sentence.
  4. The fourth states the implications of the startling sentence.

The startling sentence: "One startling sentence. Now that you know you are writing to the program committee, you need to find the one thing you want to say that will catch their interest. If you have been working on the world's niftiest program night and day for five years, the temptation is to include absolutely everything about it, "The Foo System In All Its Glory." It'll never work. I know it's painful to ignore all those great insights, but find the most interesting thing you have done and write it down, "network garbage collection is fast and easy." You want the reader's eyes to open wide when they realize what it is you've just said. I think some people are reluctant to boil their message down to one startling sentence because it opens them up to concrete criticism. If you write about the Foo System and someone says it isn't neat, you can just reply, "Is so, nyah!" If you say network garbage collection is easy, it is a statement that is objectively true or false. You can be proven wrong. Wait! You spent five years proving it was easy. Make your case."

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