The Breakable Toys pattern is about creating your own projects that allow you a safe place to experiment with new ideas and become more comfortable with your toolset. A project where you can try unconventional things to improve your skill, but where it doesn’t matter if they fail. The project they recommend for this is creating a wiki for yourself, to help learn multiple facets of design techniques.
I really liked this pattern and the idea that it promotes. Working on a rigid system that many people use, or whose functionality is necessary for the operation of your job, there isn’t really any room to try new things and grow. So having your own little workspace to try new things seems like a great way to build your knowledge in an environment that is completely your own. Like a chemist having a chemistry lab to experiment, it is important for software developers to have a place to experiment themselves. I also really enjoyed the idea of maintaining a project like this across different jobs, always having a place to try new things and to try new techniques when you are stuck on something. I think that implementing this into my own life will allow me to grow as a developer and gain new skills and insights that I would never have the freedom to do in a work environment.
The recommended “action” for this pattern is to build a wiki, and while I think this is a good example, I don’t think that that would work for everyone. So I think that if anything, I disagree with that specific recommendation, as I feel that depending on what is necessary for your work, a wiki might not need the tools that you need to work with or work on. So while I think it is a good example, I think that the individual has to come up with a project of similar scope that better matches what they need.
Overall, I think that this pattern is a very good piece of advice. Any profession can have difficulties and expectations that cause you to stagnate in your learning, but in the ever-shifting landscape of the software development field, this stagnation can leave you behind very quickly. So having your own personal project to experiment with things in will keep your skills sharp and keep you constantly learning and developing solutions to problems that can later be implemented in a work environment.