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Dave Rooney

I suggested, given that I was new to Java, that I work hands-on the keyboard and my colleague watch me to ensure I was doing OK. We wrote some code, which gave us ideas about the design, which took us back to the code, which helped refine the design, etc., all the while discussing what we were doing.

This is How Software Should Be Built

Dave Rooney, Mayford Technologies

Back in late 2000, I was working with a colleague designing a development framework at the beginning of a large Java project. I had plenty of O-O background but was a relative newbie to Java, but my colleague already had 3-4 years at that point. We had done some design work in Rose, and decided to vet the design in code. I suggested, given that I was new to Java, that I work hands-on the keyboard and my colleague watch me to ensure I was doing OK. We wrote some code, which gave us ideas about the design, which took us back to the code, which helped refine the design, etc., all the while discussing what we were doing.

My colleague then said, “Hey, this is like that Extreme Programming thing I heard about!” I had visions of coding on a snowboard late at night while swilling Mountain Dew, but a quick Internet search tweaked our interest.

At lunch that day, we walked to a local bookstore - my colleague bought XP Explained (The White Book) and I bought XP Installed (The Pink Book). We couldn’t put them down and had read them through in a couple of days.

My reaction upon reading XP Installed was, “this is how software should be built”. There was no question in my mind - the collaboration (I was doing pair programming when I heard about it!!), the focus on feedback and quality, the drive for results early and often.  Nine years later, my belief about the development approach is unchanged, although I would say that I have a better appreciation of the non-technical work that’s required for project or product delivery.


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