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March 2006 Archives

Mar 31, 2006  –  ...The Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work Is An Object

If you ever feel yourself drawn toward writing a static method, obey Kevin's Maxim: "in an object-oriented language the simplest thing that could possibly work is an object."

 –  Continuous Integration at Better Software Conference

If you're going to be at the Better Software Conference & Expo (and why wouldn't you?) and you want to be infected with the Continuous Integration meme then do stop by my talk titled The Power of Continuous Integration with Automated Unit Tests on Thursday June 29th.

 –  Agitator is Not a Test Generator

Agitator is not a test generator. It is an exploritory testing tool for developers. You turn to it to answer the questions "what does this code actually do? what did the author forget to consider?"

Mar 29, 2006  –  Ed Gibbs is My New Hero

He's actually practicing two of the best practices I know of: regular one-on-ones and code reviews. In my own management career I found it very hard to stick w/the weekly one-on-one schedule even though I believe it is hugely important. And code reviews are probably the best sofware development practice that (virtually) nobody does. This guy is obviously working very hard to put theory into practice and for that he has my respect.

Mar 27, 2006  –  Clicker Trained by Continuous Integration

Kathy Sierra's Clicker trained by our email blog entry just closed a synaptic loop for me. When I give my CI/CA talk I try and make the point that developers quickly become addicted to the positive feedback of that "build successful" email, that even this little reward, given quickly enough after the behaivor you want to encourage, is enough to reinforce the habit. When I spoke to Alistair Cockburn about this at the Jolt Awards he even used the phrase clicker training to describe it. But now reading Kathy's entry something new springs to mind -- in that same CI/CA talk I make the point that the real Return On Investment in developer testing comes when the test fails... and that's an intermittent reward!

So if you want to adopt developer testing as part of your standard practices make sure you're using Continuous Integration. In the beginning it is the "build successful" messages you'll be looking for, but for the long term you'll be hooked on those times the lamp goes red.

Mar 23, 2006  –  EclipseCon: Want More Headless Eclipse?

Maybe you missed my talk yesterday or maybe you just want more; either way you'll want to check out Paul Dzilenski's Creating an Eclipse IDE Command Line Interface today at 1:36 p.m. in the Theater.

Mar 18, 2006  –  Honestly Subjective Performance Reviews Having just finished writing performance reviews yesterday I have extra appreciation for the thoughts behind The Honestly Subjective Performance Review. There's a lot there that I already practice but I liked this part on the theory of raises:
Performance reviews are backward looking when they should be forward looking: When Tim hired Alex, Sam, and Brook, he didn’t base the salary he offered them on their previous year’s performance. He didn’t really have any objective data about their past performance. Instead, he offered them salaries based on the value he perceived they would add by joining his team. Backward-looking reward systems are counter-productive because the employee has already been rewarded for the past. That’s what the twelve months of paychecks were.
(via Lasse Koskela)
Mar 15, 2006  –  Jolt Award and Alistair Cockburn I went down to SDWest tonight for the Jolt Award ceremony where Agitator was one of the finalists. We won the award for our category last year but this year we had to be content with a productivity award which is still a nice honor -- yay us. (Winner in our Testing Tools category was VMTN Subscription from VMWare -- yay them.) While at the post-ceremony VIP bash (no, not sure why they let me in) I was introducted to Alistair Cockburn. I was pleased to meet him because I quote him a lot in my "Continuous Integration, Continuous Agitation" talk that I've been giving all over the place (and I've got pictures to prove it). more >>
Mar 13, 2006  –  Project Dependencies Using Ant On the CruiseControl user mailing list there was another instance of the FAQ "how do I build by dependent projects", and Joe Schmetzer linked to his recently posted article on Project Dependencies Using Ant. Neat technique and worth a read if only as an illustration of clever use of common Ant scripts.