My Thoughts on Readme Driven Development


Photo by Monirul Islam Shakil on Unsplash

RDD is useful not only to specify basic requirements about the software. It's very useful to people that easily forget stuff.

I'm such kind of person that, when you tell me something, if I'm very, very, very interesting in that thing, most of the times I remember. Otherwise I forgot.

But this is horrible in software development perspective

So, what I do when I need to remember technical specifications, even if it was in higher level of abstraction? I write it down.

Markdown is a very friendly format to write text, Readme is most of the times, written in markdown files.

I think that a good-simple-pattern is write the Readme first, then write some high level tests. Those tests must be at high level, most of the times, implemented with a high level tool. In the front-end world, the Cypress is a very good tool to write specifications about the behaviour, as code.

Then write the God damn code. But at the time, you will have so much informations about what you need to write, that you will do it (sometimes) quickly. With a higher level os quality.

Let's think a minute about it. If you have a codebase 100% covered with unit/integration/e2e tests and does X instead of Y, but your client requested the Y. Your system delivers zero value.

A simple Readme could save you hours, days, weeks of work.

Some tips to organize knowledge as files

  • A simple to-do list with features that I need to implement. Those features are described at a higher level of abstraction. Something that a could reason about later.

  • Each meaningful directory must have a file called Put on that file what kind of files should live in the directory. If you are creating a /services directory, write a that explain the patterns of that directory. How the code should be organized. Your team or you future self will be very happy

  • If you use a cool system to manage user stories, you could go and paste the knowledge written in that Readme file so other non-coders could consume that knowledge. The next step is to break it down into small, deliverable steps and then start to write code.

  • Link files using the markdown link notation and prevent to have a big single file with all knowledge inside.


To me, write what you want to have at the end is very important. You will acquire a lot of informations just writting what you need to do. Your brain will think, one, two or more times about the problem.

Write code should be the mechanical step. Before write code, you need to use all your knowledge, all your brain power that humans become better and better along the time.


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