Toxic Elephant

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How to write software

Posted by matijs 18/10/2006 at 10h29

Peter Armstrong hits it right on the head:

People Need Gaudy Shit

Instead of having a loose set of things that work, that are generally or even just sometimes good, that we mix and match according to the circumstances, we get everything put together in a box with a nice bow on top. Then, if you don’t use everything in the box, you’re an infidel.

I remember the first time I came across Extreme Programming (XP). I was at a bookshop looking to buy Design Patterns. This was some time ago, but there already were lots of books on XP. Most titles sounded like “XP explained yet again in a different way”. Marketing, indeed.

The thing is, talking a lot to your customers and pair programming have nothing to do with each other. Nothing at all. Both can be good ideas, depending on the circumstances.

When I write software at home, for myself, of course I can’t do pair programming. When I write something that only I will use, there’s no point in talking to my customers. I almost always use unit testing and version control. Using that for a one-off script written in ten minutes is insane.

I could make my own list of what works here, but Robert Fuller has done a pretty good job.

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  1. Peter Armstrong said 26/10/2006 at 07h29:

    Hi Matijs, I revised my post which you linked to a bit to remove things which would offend people for the wrong reasons. (You're Dutch, so I assume you will know exactly what I'm talking about--it's too bad that not all cultures are as tolerant of criticism as yours (or as Canada's, which is where I'm from).) (If I'm going to offend people, I want it to be for the right reasons! And I didn't want to go down the path I had started down with my blog post since I have a young son to think about. As such, I'm going to keep my opinions constrained to things which just generate *virtual* flamewars :-) Anyway, after doing all the cowardly revision, the "People Need Gaudy Shit" phrasing didn't make much sense anymore (it only made sense comparatively). So I just deleted it. Anyway, thanks for the trackback and sorry I ruined it :-)


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