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heusserm (4461)

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Matt Heusser is JAPH and an XP-Er []. (The Methodology, not the Operating System.) Right now, he's doing a lot of Test Driven Development in Perl.

Journal of heusserm (4461)

Friday October 24, 2003
01:43 PM

Those LISP Guys ...

[ #15379 ]
After reading some comments, I did some more research. It seems the author of the paper "Worse is Better" also wrote an article called Lessons of the science of nothing at all

XP, Agile, Open Source. heh. Who'd have thought?
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  • what he's trying to say. The whole XP thing is not something I've come to understand...I mean, Beethoven didn't use Xtreme Composing and Twain didn't practise Xtreme writing cynical books so, he would do well to answer the question why programmers need group support as though they were in drug therapy. He had a few good points but it was all over the map and didn't really say anything new.
    • In my experience, 90% of programmers think they're in the top 10% of programmers worldwide. Also in my experience, most of us don't comparee to Beethoven or Twain. (Not even Liszt, and I don't like him one bit.)

      • Well, tell a Sysadmin something we don't know already :) But, pick an art, any art, since most programmers do tend to liken what they do to an art...then find one of those that exhibits any sort of 'Xtreme' practises. I just haven't seen or heard anything about it to make me think it is anything more than a fad. I'd be terrified to find groups of sysadmins huddling around one console save only in the most dire of a system crash or viewing porn while waiting for pizza.
          • But, pick an art, any art, since most programmers do tend to liken what they do to an art...

          Programmers may liken what they do to artistry, but that's mostly hubris. It's more of a combination of Artistry and Engineering and ultimately, commercial development is more about Engineering.

          Perhaps Architecture is the closest thing to it.

          Unfortunately, unlike Architecture, there isn't thousands of years of best practices to draw upon. Also, in Architecture, designs are realized in an abstract but detailed

  • book of sand (Score:3, Interesting)

    by inkdroid (3294) on 2003.10.24 16:15 (#25163) Homepage Journal

    Thanks for posting this. I had heard of Gabriel while slowly digesting The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander []. I might be wrong but I think Gabriel was one of the first people to apply Alexander's idea of pattern languages to software.

    A wonderful essay, which isn't about Extreme Programming, as much as it is about what goes into the creation of software, and the nascent ideas on how best to go about doing it.

    I particularly liked the section on opensource:

    Imagine that you open up your hood and what you see is sand. Open up your TV - sand. Look in the back of your refrigerator - sand. Unscrew any access plate anywhere in your house - and it's more sand. Change or move one grain of it and - ka! boom! - it doesn't work anymore or does something you don't like such as show only the Home Shopping Network, heat up your ice cream, or make your car go only backwards honking the horn. Sounds a little nuts doesn't it?

    But that's exactly what software is like. The software in a form that people have a chance to understand is transformed by the software maker into something only a particular set of computers can understand, and that's what you buy. Even if you were capable of finding and fixing a bug in Microsoft Word, you couldn't do it unless you worked for Microsoft.

    Let's go back to the real world example. If the innards of your car were like software, then when it needed to be fixed, the original manufacturer would have to be contacted. They would prepare a new batch of sand, and that batch would replace the sand in your car.

    Ask a software company why they want you to not even see what is inside what they sell and they will tell you that either it's too complicated for you to understand or that this way they can protect their trade secrets.

    Lovely. And it reminded me of one of my favorite authors' books []
  • If you like Gabriel, I just discovered he has a blog [] complete with rss [].