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Extreme Programming

Angela Poynton
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 02, 2000
Posts: 3143
This book is in the recommended section although I have some mixed feelings about
that. I want to give it an excellent review because of the author's connections to
Martin Fowler, my favorite author. But I can't. I ended up comparing the book,
perhaps unfairly, to Mr. Fowler's books. The writing style is not as good and the
concepts seemed too far fetched. Granted, there are several interesting ideas, but
I found the overall approach... well... too extreme. I do think that this book will
change programming culture for the better. Definitely worth browsing. Since many
engineers are reading it, you might want to read it just to be hip. (trailboss
Apr 2000)

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Pounding at a thick stone wall won't move it, sometimes, you need to step back to see the way around.
Junilu Lacar

Joined: Feb 26, 2001
Posts: 6529

Originally posted by Angela Poynton:
> ...I have some mixed feelings about that
> ...the concepts seemed too far fetched.
> ...Granted, there are several interesting ideas,
> but I found the overall approach... well... too extreme.
> Definitely worth browsing.

One has to read this book thoroughly (not just browse it) in order to understand why it is "extreme". XP is extreme because it takes all the best practices that the author and his colleagues have employed successfully over countless years of working on software development projects (belying the idea that they are "far-fetched"--more on that below) and taken them to the extreme. That is, if testing is good, then test all the time. If communication is good, communicate as much as you can. If iterations are good, do as many iterations as you can. If refactoring is good, refactor relentlessly.
As for the notion that the concepts are far-fetched, I think that they resonate with what others in the past have done and said. Pair programming was started by folks like Larry Constantine & P.J. Plauger. Frederick W. Brooks, Jr., in his 1986 paper "No Silver Bullet" recommended ways to improve the way we do software development and they are almost exactly what XP does. Tom DeMarco, author of "Peopleware", recently said that XP was one of the most encouraging trends in software development today. I could cite many more but I want to keep this short.
If folks like Martin Fowler, Jim Highsmith, Ward Cunningham, Alistair Cockburn, Larry Constantine, Tom DeMarco, Andrew Hunt and David Thomas (the Pragmatic Programmers), and countless others are partial to XP and other agile methods of developing software, there must be more to it than just a bunch of interesting but far-fetched concepts.
My bottom line: If you think Dilbert is sadly all too true, you'll definitely find this book worth reading.

[This message has been edited by JUNILU LACAR (edited June 10, 2001).]

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