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Practical XP vs Theory

Paul Kelcey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 26, 2003
Posts: 45
Hi,
I'm looking for a good book on XP and 90% of my development is done using Java. From the looks of the description on Amazon, "Java Extreme Programming Cookbook" is a book that contains many practical examples using Java including the relevant associated technologies. Sounds promising so far.
There's a few things I am wondering about however and I'm interested in other people's opinion on it.
1. I believe that XP is primarily a methodology and not a set of technologies. I can't imagine that a particular technology is going to cover the pair-programming aspect of XP for example.
2. The book touts Java. I'm wondering whether it could be more specific (J2ME, J2EE or J2SE). Some technologies listed are only applicable to J2SE and J2EE (JUnit is not the same for J2ME due to the absense of the reflection API).
Personally, I think it would be good to cover XP in the generic sense and then give a practical example in a particular scenario. The Design Patterns book is particularly good in this regard since the theory is relevant to Java and its not an issue that the specific examples are C++.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this.
Paul Kelcey
Burk Hufnagel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 814
    
    3
Paul,
What exactly are you looking to get from the book?
I read "XP Explained" shortly after it was published and as I understand it XP is a series of "best practices" taken to the extreme end of the spectrum - if code reviews are good then let's do them continuously via pair programming, that sort of thing.
XP is not about a specific language, though some features may make some parts of it easier to implement. If you go to some of the XP websites, you'll find articles and unit testing frameworks for many different languages.
I'm guessing the book focuses on Java because Java is still a "hot" language and it helps sell copies.
Hope this helps,
Burk


SCJP, SCJD, SCEA 5 "Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!" Agatha Heterodyne (Girl Genius)
Jeff Duska
Greenhorn

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 8
Originally posted by Burk Hufnagel:
...
I'm guessing the book focuses on Java because Java is still a "hot" language and it helps sell copies.

I doubt this was the reasoning behind using Java in the book. My opinion is that XP hands on process as such almost all the books I've read have code example. Since this movement started in SmallTalk then moved to Java, you find the more books written in Java. In his most recent book, Folwer said that he felt most developer would understand Java or C#, because C family of langauges so popular.
I'm glad to see this book uses a specific language. It easy to say "use Test Driven Development", but a whole different matter to do it.


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Eric Burke
Greenhorn

Joined: May 12, 2003
Posts: 7
Originally posted by Burk Hufnagel:

I'm guessing the book focuses on Java because Java is still a "hot" language and it helps sell copies.

The book is primarily a Java tools book, secondarily an XP overview. The selected tools - all open source - all work well with XP in the sense that they support automation (like XDoclet and Ant) and unit testing (JUnit, etc...).
I'm not convinced we came up with the best title, but I do think it is a good book. I'm slightly biased...
p. sanford
Greenhorn

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 1
> I'm looking for a good book on XP and 90% of my
> development is done using Java. From the looks
> of the description on Amazon, "Java Extreme
> Programming Cookbook" is a book that contains
> many practical examples using Java including
> the relevant associated technologies. Sounds
> promising so far.
FWIW, I think that the O'Reilly cookbook series is pretty darn good. I've used a number of code snippets from other books in this series. (But I haven't read this particular one.)
> There's a few things I am wondering about
> however and I'm interested in other people's
> opinion on it.
Glad to give it.
> 1. I believe that XP is primarily a methodology
> and not a set of technologies. I can't imagine
> that a particular technology is going to cover
> the pair-programming aspect of XP for example.
You're right XP is /primarily/ a methodology (or a set of proven practices pushed to the extreme) and can be used with any programming language. It is /not/ limited to a set of technologies, and following the practices actually frees the developer from technologies.
> 2. The book touts Java. I'm wondering whether
> it could be more specific (J2ME, J2EE or J2SE).
> Some technologies listed are only applicable to
> J2SE and J2EE (JUnit is not the same for J2ME
> due to the absense of the reflection API).
Well, any book that covers all technologies (or spans a great number) would become unwieldly pretty quick. I'm certain that the authors needed to focus on using XP with Java.
> Personally, I think it would be good to cover
> XP in the generic sense and then give a
> practical example in a particular scenario. The
> Design Patterns book is particularly good in
> this regard since the theory is relevant to
> Java and its not an issue that the specific
> examples are C++.
For a /great/ book on practices and practical examples, check out Robert Martin's 'Agile Software Development' put out by Prentice Hall.
> Anyone else have any thoughts on this.
I'm certain many people do.
Paul Kelcey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 26, 2003
Posts: 45
Thanks for everyone's comments.
To Burk: I'm looking for a book that gives generic theory and then delves into specific practice. I agree that XP is a set of best practices but I'm looking for some "glue" to tie it all together.
To Jeff: I'm glad it uses a specific language as well and I'm glad it's Java. I'm also interested in the theory as I like to have first principles under my belt.
To Eric: Thanks Eric. This was what I was looking for.
To p.sanford: Thanks for your comments. I'll check out your recommendations.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Paul Kelcey:
I'm looking for a book that gives generic theory and then delves into specific practice. I agree that XP is a set of best practices but I'm looking for some "glue" to tie it all together.

I don't think you will find this all in one book. Anyway, here are my recommendations:
XP Explained: Gives a good theoratical foundation on the why and other rather philosophical aspects of XP
XP Installed: Gives a more practical overview on how to put the practices together
Refactoring: A must-read, wether you are doing XP or not, IMO
Test Driven Development by Example: Gives a rather language neutral introduction on the basics of TDD
After that, I would go to the more problem-specific books, which concentrate on a language, tool, technology etc.


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
 
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