Starbucks-fueled Developer

Sunday, June 11, 2006

My Tour of Agile Development

While I've posted on using/doing Test Driven Development in the past, I have a few confessions to make. First, when I started blogging (about a year ago), most of my "unit tests" where really more integration tests. I had very little understanding of why mocking the database was so important and that introducing such dependencies on your tests just increases the fragility of both testing code and code-under-test. Second, I really haven't had the opportunity since my "blogging premire" to really work on any project with a true Test Driven approach. I did, however, recently have the opportunity to coach someone through the process of using NUnit, etc. and he picked it up nicely and thusly became test-infected.

With my new job, I have a lot of opportunities coming my way to embrace, learn, dare I say perfect the practice of Test Driven Development. I have already done so with the current project I'm working on; you know, one of those "all I need is a little application with one or two screens for a user to enter some data once a [insert timeframe here] so that I can easily run my reports every so-often". Some - nah, gotta go out on a limb - most applications are not that little. If reporting and a database are involved, you're looking at an easy month to two months...But I digress...

So my first lesson learned, from the past 10 or so days, is that I broke probably the number one rule of agile development: "Working software is the primary measure of progress". I spent way to much time focusing on how to abstract out NHibernate, how to set Team Foundation Server so I had tasks and other Work Items to report defects and code coverage against, and ensuring a "sound" LAYERED ARCHITECTURE just to name a few. The point is this: up until Friday, there was not a binary available in the SCCS for the customer to have that they could see/measure progress on the application.


Now, I did hit a few roadblocks with SQL Server not running, not having the right edition of VSTS installed, and time spent in thinking out and analyzing the application but they don't excuse the fact that, if I were the customer, I wouldn't feel very comfortable at this point in the project. Needless to say will change tomorrow.

Aside from all of these mishaps, the one that concerns me the most, and until now unmentioned, is the fact that I'm essentially working on the application alone. There is another guy doing the reports but, sadly, I'm running the show. Sure it feels great to be trusted and the feeling of confidence that gives is wonderful, but I need my work to be validated aside from the customer saying "yup, that's exactly what we were looking for!". I mean, I can teach a 12-year-old to program [read: drag 'n' drop their way to a working ASP.NET 2.0 database application] and give their work to the customer, but that doesn't make me feel confident in what I produced.

I hope to post more on what I have learned thus far about, getting into greater detail about my takes on TDD and other important matters in the future...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Now THAT'S a Feature!

From "How to uninstall the Adobe Flash Player plug-in and ActiveX control":

"Due to recent enhancements with the Flash Player installers, you are now only able to uninstall by using the Adobe Flash Player Uninstaller (below). To uninstall Flash Player simply download the appropriate uninstaller for your system and follow the instructions listed below."

I shouldn't need to download an uninstaller to uninstall software...Reminds me of trying to remove Gator..., does that make Flash AdWare???

Yes, yes it does.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Previously, I hinted at changes going on in my life - personally and professionally. A week ago today, I started a new job at the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Pennsylvania as an application developer. It was very difficult, emotionally really, to leave my previous employer; however, the changes that have happened - and still happening - have sort of comforted me along the way.

Aside from leaving the people, it's difficult when a company basically decides to abandon the type of work that you and your coworkers truly excel. While that's the way business seems to be evolving - consultant/contractor-term placements, at least in my area - it's nevertheless difficult to accept. So those, and other factors, really impacted my decision to make a change.

The other major change is that my wife and I bought our first [town]home. With what we were paying in rent, I should have had the guts to do so last year but didn't.

These are probably among the top 5 changes in a person's life, and I've done 3 of them in the past 7 months:
  1. Marriage
  2. Career/Job Change
  3. Move/Home Purchase
  4. Birth
  5. Death
Needless to say, things have been a little chaotic in my house recently. We moved in a week ago and the prior week we were painting/fixing up the place - including installation of new carpet. I'd say that I'm really looking forward (gasp!) to tax season next year, but at the moment I'm just looking forward to when my wife can put her car in the garage - signaling 80% done...

I'm hoping to post more about happenings on the job, but it's a little different when you work for a government office that is constantly investigating and taking other legal actions against various entities. At least I hope things will get more technical as the days go on.

Frankly, I'm just glad that the high-speed connection has been restored...