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   Re: Extreme Programming goes mainstream?

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  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 14:39:13 -0500

At 10:56 AM 12/14/00 -0500, David Megginson wrote:
>Sam Hunting writes:
> > Just that several very experienced Markup Technologists, whose opinions
> > I have come to respect, use the XP method in their XML (and SGML) work.
>Extreme Programming reminds me of Information Mapping in the tech
>writing world, or Dogma in the film world -- there are a lot of very
>good ideas, but the package as a whole may lead to fanaticism.

I think the package as a whole has enough limitations that we can fend off
the fanatics...

>I personally use several extreme-programming principles in my work,
>including starting with the minimum that can possibly work,
>eliminating duplication, and constant refactoring.  These are, of
>course, common-sense principles that most good coders have been using
>for decades, but (as with design patterns) seeing them explicitly
>written down help me to clarify my thinking and understand better what
>I was doing and why I was doing it.

When I read 'eXtreme Programming eXplained', I felt a lot of "yes, that's
right" moments.  I like the focus on a usable core, the flexibility of the
approach, and all the other pieces David describes as 'common-sense
principles'. I wish I'd had this book a few years ago - I had some managers
who could have learned a lot from it...  

I also liked the unit-testing approach, and it's something I've been
integrating more and more with own development.  XML seems to have an
interesting relationship with this aspect, since well-formedness checking
and validation provide a couple of useful tools for testing certain aspects
of software.

XP also felt like it had a lot of application to Web site and application
development, where enormous dreams often have to be cut down to smaller
pieces and implemented as parts.

>That said, I feel no sudden urge to do all my coding paired up with
>another developer in front of the same terminal -- we have e-mail and
>CVS, after all.  If I were a film-maker, I'd probably try to shoot in
>available light, but would smuggle a couple of extra fill lights onto
>my set if it were too dark.

Most of my concerns revolved around the expectations that all the
developers would work from the same location.  Remote pair programming
(irc?  funky IDEs?) doesn't seem very plausible to me, and working in a
home office, I'm not likely to bring folks over on a regular basis.

In general, the book seems to focus on conventional corporate, even biased
toward in-house, development.  I'm much more interested in distributed
open-source models, so XP isn't  perfect fit.  Still, a lot of it seems to
fit very well with XML-oriented development, and those who have the luxury
of single-location development may find it very very useful.

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
XHTML: Migrating Toward XML
http://www.simonstl.com - XML essays and books


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