Experience is built upon failure as much as (if not more than) success.
Breakable Toys is about purposefully creating learning opportunities by pushing yourself outside of your realm of experience and designing and developing complete software projects on your terms. The concept of this pattern is one that I speak of frequently, in regards to many areas of life. The comparison of the jugglers was actually pretty insightful. It would not make sense to attempt something new, knowing you may fail without having practiced it first. As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.”, and this is especially so in software development.
Trial and error seems to be an obvious concept whenever learning something new. Although, it does not seem likely that one would have room for many failures in software development, as that would become costly. With that thought in mind, the suggestion to build your own systems on your own time – your Breakable Toys – is ingenious. Within that suggestion, one of the Breakable Toys given as an example in the book Apprenticeship Patterns is to create a personal Wiki page. The book mentions that in doing this, you can gain knowledge in web design, HTTP, concurrency and parsing. Not only that, but you gain experience and a growth in work ethic, confidence and pride in yourself and your work. An equally beneficial reason to create a personal Wiki page is that it is a perfect way to keep a record of what you learn.
Breakable Toys is a pattern I can see becoming one of the most useful patterns I’ve learned of thus far. With knowledge of this pattern, I am confident that with hard work and dedication – and more than likely a whole lot of screw-ups – my abilities and confidence as a programmer will progress. Going forward in this field, I fully intend to start building some of my own Breakable Toys in order to enhance my skills and broaden my understanding of software development. I would encourage other programming students and programmers alike to invest their time in building their own Breakable Toys.