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Re: [XP] Theologists and missionaries

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  • John Roth
    ... From: Paolo Bizzarri To: Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 8:13 AM Subject: Re: [XP] Theologists and
    Message 1 of 31 , May 1, 2007
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Paolo Bizzarri" <pibizza@...>
      To: <extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 8:13 AM
      Subject: Re: [XP] Theologists and missionaries


      > On 5/1/07, John Roth <JohnRoth1@...> wrote:
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> ----- Original Message -----
      >> From: "Paolo Bizzarri" <pibizza@...>
      >> To: <extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com>
      >>
      >> Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 11:41 PM
      >> Subject: Re: [XP] Theologists and missionaries
      >>
      >> > On 4/30/07, John Roth <JohnRoth1@...> wrote:

      ...

      >>
      >> It did, however, come out of the Smalltalk environment. Most of
      >> what we think of as XP came out of the Smalltalk environment.
      >>
      >
      > But my point was that
      > there was no trace of something like TDD in the Computer Science
      > theory, at least as it was teached in Italy among the end of the '80
      > and the beginning of the '90.

      I don't consider that surprising. A lot of university courses look for
      "academic respectability." Djikstra, Hoare, Wirth, etc. are academically
      respectable; they had Ph.Ds (or the equivalent), they were professors
      of various things, they published papers. People like Alan Kay, Kent
      Beck and so forth are not acacemically respectable. They aren't on
      university faculties, they don't have a long list of academic publications
      that have high citation indices, etc.

      >
      >> Now consider the environment that Wirth, Djikstra, Hoare and their
      >> collegues worked in. They did not have personal workstations
      >> at their disposal, neither did their students. They did not grow up
      >> in that environment.
      >
      > Yes. But this was exactly my point: they could not come with something
      > better than weakest preconditions, because they were not developing
      > code. They were neither interested, nor ready to produce a better
      > theory for the current environment.

      It would certainly be interesting to see what people of that ability
      level would come up with today.

      However, that doesn't mean that I consider what they did irrelevant.
      Learning formal methods is very useful: it will change the way you
      look at code, generally for the better. Actually applying them is much
      less useful: they're in use today for life and safety critical applications
      as well as high reliability applications. They're very expensive overkill
      for the vast majority of business administration applications.

      >
      > As soon as I have seen TDD, it was obvious that this was something I
      > have learned in my courses in Computer Science.

      I presume you meant 'should have learned'. I agree. There are some
      universities where XP and TDD are being taught, but it's very much an
      uphill battle.

      >> Their entire background, and their day to day
      >> working environment was the batch compile and test environment.
      >> Is it any wonder that the problems they worked on, and the results
      >> they got, fit the batch compile and test environment and consequently
      >> have little relevance to people who have personal workstations that
      >> can do an edit, compile and test run in a matter of a minute or two?
      >
      > No. But things have changed from then. And the theorists were quite
      > late at seeing the changes.

      I don't think we have anyone of that stature today, except Knuth,
      and he's engaged in finishing The Art of Computer Programming
      before he dies (and I sincerely hope he makes it!)

      John Roth

      >
      > Paolo
      >
      >
      >>
      >> John Roth
      >>
      >> "The present is the child of the past."
      >> -- Quote from someone, somewhere.
      >>
      >> >
      >> > Ciao
      >> >
      >> > Paolo
      >> >
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >
    • Steve Freeman
      There are actually a few. Sheffield has been running a very interesting programme for several years now (that s why the XP conference was held there). I ve
      Message 31 of 31 , May 3, 2007
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        There are actually a few. Sheffield has been running a very
        interesting programme for several years now (that's why the XP
        conference was held there). I've been teaching a few bits and pieces
        with Ivan Moore at University College. I think Huddersfield does
        something. It's not exactly a landslide, but it's catching on.

        S.

        On 1 May 2007, at 16:49, Elizabeth Keogh wrote:
        > IIRC Aberystwyth is the only university in the UK which teaches any
        > of the
        > Agile practices - there may be a second by now (?).
        >
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