Agile Conference 2007, Day Three 15 Aug 2007
Today involved four sessions:

  • Clean Code 1: Cleaning Up A Mess - “Uncle Bob”:
  • Clean Code 2: Craftsmanship and Professionalism - “Uncle Bob”:
  • Open Source Testing Tools to Support Agile Development/Testing - “Paul King”:
  • Learning to Say “No” - “Stacia Broderick”: , “Michele Sliger”:

Clean Code 1: Cleaning Up A Mess

Uncle Bob delivered a great talk on cleaning up a mess. He asserts that developers want to go fast and that to the only way to go fast is to go well.

He uses a “dinner” analogy to clarify his points on messy code. The dinner analogy starts with a question, “What is the fastest way to prepare dinner?”. Regardless of ordering out or preparing it yourself, the fastest way is not do the dishes or cleanup afterwards. However, if you don’t do the dishes you are directly impeding your ability to quickly prepare dinner the next time.

There is much more to his talk, but you should really see it to experience it. I believe he’ll be at the “GLSEC”: conference in west Michigan later this fall.

Clean Code 2: Craftsmanship and Professionalism

Uncle Bob’s second talk was more impressive to me then the first because it hit home a lot principles and practices that he views are required to be a professional developer and an agile developer.

While I’m not going to list all of them I would like to list a few:

  • Short iterations (short feedback loop)
  • Avoiding “solve everything” architectures (he calls them Turgid Viscous Architectures)
  • No Grand Redesign
  • Incremental improvement
  • TDD (minimal professionalism)
  • Code Coverage (strive for 100%)
  • Apprenticeship
  • and many more…

I really enjoyed one of his quotes on Grand Redesign:

Programmers like to make a huge mess and then bitch about it so they can make the next huge mess.

I haven’t read Uncle Bob’s books yet (real name Robert C. Martin) but that is going to change especially after I saw good reviews on a “blog post”: from Guido van Rossum back in 2004.

Open Source Testing Tools to Support Agile Development/Testing

This talk just didn’t do it for me. It focused on every Java related. I’ve moved on from Java development, and what is happening in the Java world just isn’t very exciting (yes Groovy is nice). The presenter seems to know Java and everything associated with it very well. I think I just wasn’t the right type of audience.

It would have been nice if the talk was titled “Open Source Testing Tools to Support Java Development”.

Learning to Say “No”

This talk just didn’t do it for me either. The presenters did a lot of interaction and role playing with the audience on topics like saying “no” to your boss if he asks you to work late tonight, or this weekend. They gave useful ways to “preserve your self” and also work with whomever may be asking you to sacrifice personal time for their needs.

The techniques they show are useful, but most of it is common sense. This talk seems directly applicable to people who feel stuck in a corporate job who get taken advantage of, but don’t know the correct avenue to start breaking the cycle while keeping their job.

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