Red Squirrel Reflections
Dave Hoover explores the psychology of software development

Dave Hoover

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Old Archives


Fri, 29 Jul 2005

Remote Ping-Pong Programming

In response to my StickyMinds article on ping-pong programming, Ivan Vaghi emailed me with a story of a remote ping-pong programming session. He doesn't have a blog so I figured I would post it here (with his permission)...
Yesterday I tried a remote ping pong coding session with a friend.

The social dynamics and the fun are amazing. If you want to try it out get the MoonEdit collaborative editor and setup a coding session. We split the editor space in 2 parts. While one of us was writing tests, the other just by glancing at the tests was writing the code.. the amount of information that passed through, just by coding, not even by talking about it, is amazing. People also somehow develop social protocols so that they don't get in each others' way.

It is an intoxicating experience :-) Who said that when two minds meet, a third mind emerges? That's the feeling that it gives you while you see the code emerge and evolve. It almost feels like you are looking after a living thing, pruning some code here, splitting some code there, rather than doing actual coding. I guess it's due to small seemingly unimportant changes building up into functional code.

It's amazing when, after having done the work, you replay the session using the 'history' feature and you see the living code evolving, growing, getting fatter, splitting and adjusting to a new position.. it feels like the tests are nudging the code to a new shape, to a new position.

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Thu, 28 Jul 2005

Ken sees what's not there

We have received a bunch of helpful feedback on Walking the Long Road, particuarly from Ken Auer, someone who has been encouraging me and supporting this project since its inception. Ken pointed out a glaring omission: the customer!

We've added a new pattern Craft Over Art that is a first step toward remedying this critical omission. As we revise the rest of the patterns, we'll have tiny imaginary customers sitting on our shoulders, whispering "remember me?"

I'll be dropping off the radar until August 8th. I'm headed to Rainy Lake with Staci and Rose and Ricky where there will be no electricity, mobile phones, or plumbing. I love that place.

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Tue, 26 Jul 2005

PLoP Focus Group on Apprentice Patterns

Ade and I will be attending the PLoP 2005 bootcamp in September in order to sharpen our pattern writing skills and receive guidance from the patterns community. We've also been encouraged to lead a focus group on the apprentice patterns. I'm excited for this opportunity and thankful that ThoughtWorks is supporting this endeavor.

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Sat, 23 Jul 2005

A chapter; Another talk; The learning patterns

Ade and I are in the process of writing Walking the Long Road, our first chapter (not the first chapter in the book, but the first one we've written). There is still more to be done on it, but I wanted to get it out to get some eyeballs on it. Any feedback is welcome. Feel free to use the commenting system on the individual pattern pages.

Yesterday I spoke about the patterns, this time at an internal event at ThoughtWorks. I was more nervous about this talk than the one in Atlanta (ThoughtWorkers can be a tough audience). But again, it was a positive experience. People felt free to offer suggestions, share opinions, and point out missing patterns. By the end I was exhausted, but encouraged by the participation and excited by what I'd learned from my colleagues.

We have pushed out a number of PERPETUAL LEARNING patterns lately as we shift our focus in that direction. These latest patterns include Breakable Toys, ExposeYourIgnorance, Record What You Learn, and Share What You Learn.

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Thu, 14 Jul 2005

Good Times at Agile Atlanta

The Agile Atlanta meeting was a lot of fun. I monologued for too long about the background of the patterns and about patterns and pattern languages in general. It wasn't until I simply displayed a list of a bunch of the apprenticeship patterns and briefly described each of them that the meeting took off. And took off it did! We didn't wrap up until after 9:30 and I ended up missing the last flight back to Chicago. (Thanks for the couch, Obie.) Here are the somewhat lame slides that will likely be slashed down to just one slide of the list of patterns for any future presentations.

The discussion was exhilarating. One theme that kept coming up was the differences between experts and master craftsmen. New patterns were brought forth. People related the patterns to their own experiences. Several patterns were critiqued and tested, resulting in the identification of how some patterns could be balanced (Expand Your Bandwidth vs. Filter The Noise). Having a number of software veterans there was a huge benefit.

When I finally got back to Chicago the next morning, there was an email from a publisher waiting for me. They're interested in the patterns. I'm encouraged.

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Fri, 08 Jul 2005

Apprenticeship Patterns at Agile Atlanta

I will be presenting, discussing, and testing the apprenticeship patterns at Agile Atlanta on Tuesday, July 12th. If you're interested in what we've been writing about and would like to learn more and/or influence the direction we're taking and live in the area, I'd love to meet you there.

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Thu, 07 Jul 2005

Dave Astels takes A New Look at TDD

Dave blogs about specifying behavior rather than testing units...
"When you realize that it's all about specifying behaviour and not writing tests, your point of view shifts. Suddenly the idea of having a Test class for each of your production classes is rediculously limiting. And the thought of testing each of your methods with its own test method (in a 1-1 relationship) will have you rolling on the floor laughing."

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