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Humpty Dumpty and Programming

I’ve noticed a pattern in the programming world at large both with programmers and with managers.  We define things how we want them to be for our organization and not how they are.  We are like Humpty Dumpty who says, “When I use a word … it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

There are two places where I see this pattern manifesting.  The Agile movement and Design Patterns.

Humpty Dumpty and Programming
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What If Unit Testing Wasn’t Necessary? #noTDD

I recently read (yet another) post proposing that TDD “doesn’t work” and that we shouldn’t use it, or should use it very little.  What was shocking about this article wasn’t the content, but the fact that it is hosted on a Microsoft site.

While I’m not entirely on board with throwing out TDD, the one thing I will agree to is that learning TDD is difficult.  I am also willing to admit that, to a large extent, TDD is broken.  If you’ve been following my post for a while, this SHOULD be shocking news.

And so, I’ve been thinking.  Maybe we’ve been asking the wrong question.  Maybe, instead of asking “How do we encourage people to implement TDD?”  We should be asking, “How do we make TDD either unnecessary, or trivial to implement?”

What If Unit Testing Wasn't Necessary? #noTDD
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The Myth of Sloppy Code

  • Tightly coupled code runs faster.
  • Tightly coupled code is easier to write.
  • Test Driven Development increases development time.
  • Test Driven Development negatively impacts code design.
  • Knowing the names of design patterns isn’t important as long as you can use them.
  • All my customer cares about is how soon they can have the product, not how clean the code is.

All of these statements, and others like them, are excuses for not writing code correctly.  And you know what an excuse is, right?

The skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.

The Myth of Sloppy Code
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8 Reasons Johnny Does Not Write Bug Free Code

There have been a number of things that have occurred over the last week that have prompted this particular post.  And for anyone I work with, this is not an indictment of our work place so much as it is an indictment of our industry.  PLEASE don’t take this personally.

Some of those reasons will show up in this article.  But the question we need to examine today is why is it so hard to write bug free code.  And I’m not even talking about perfection.  Why is it that we miss the simple stuff?  The stuff that once it is found, we think, “how could we have missed that?!”.  I’m perfectly aware that all code has bugs some just haven’t been found yet.  I’m also aware that no matter how hard I try, the stupid bugs always make their way past my desk.

8 Reasons Johnny Does Not Write Bug Free Code
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3 Reasons Agile Will Not Succeed

I’ve written about Agile and Scrum before and most of my regular readers know that I am a huge fan.  But recently I am starting to believe the Agile movement is doomed.  In fact, the most common response to my enthusiasm for Agile and Scrum is, “Yeah, we tried that once and it was a complete failure.”  Which seems odd to me because in every instance where I’ve been able to implement it, it has worked beautifully.  So why would I say Agile Will Not Succeed?

The buzz around Agile has become so loud that Agile has moved from strictly a software development thing, to all corners of the business world.  And yet, as much as I believe Agile is the right way to develop software, as a movement, it is doomed for failure.  Why?

3 Reasons Agile Will Not Succeed
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