We’re very pleased to announce that the “Software Engineering at Google” book (the Flamingo Book) is now freely available electronically under a Creative Commons license. You can get a PDF at SWE Book.
From the very beginning of this project, about three years ago, our intent has been to describe how Google thinks about Software Engineering, and to get people thinking about the same kinds of big interesting problems. We think that the best way to do that is to make sure that the content is available for everyone, so we’re providing it now, free of charge. We’re very grateful for our partners at O’Reilly for helping to make this possible (and of course we encourage you to support them and buy a physical copy if you can, etc).
Some of you may be aiming to land a job at Google in the future: we’ve heard from dozens of Nooglers that this is the handbook they needed to understand the unique and complex machine that is Google. We hope this book is useful for you.
Some of you may be running your own software companies. You’ll have different scales and problems, but hopefully you can learn from how we think about problems arising from Time and Scale, and how we evaluate the relevant Tradeoffs (these are the main themes threaded through every chapter of the book). You may want to lean on our thinking, or blaze your own trails. We hope the insights we’ve earned the hard way can make your path easier.
Some of you may know more than us. There are several topics in the book where we are still trying to find a good answer. We’re making our thinking public - why not show us where we’re wrong?
Over the past year we’ve heard from hundreds of you, all over the world, with stories about how this material has affected your practice and thinking. We’re also seeing this picked up by colleges and universities looking to modernize their discussion of software engineering topics. We’re thrilled at this reception, and very excited that we can take this next step in sharing this material.
As Nicole Forsgren told us once, “Accountants still have meetings to discuss their practices, and accountancy goes back thousands of years. Software Engineering is barely 50 years old. Give us a minute.” As an industry, and as a discipline, we’re still figuring things out. We hope that this book, in some small way, can help with that.
-Titus, Tom, and Hyrum