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preconceptions

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  • Chris Conrad
    I ve been lurking here for the last couple of years, ever since reading the white book. I thought my experiences would be relevant to recent threads. Today I
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 1, 2002
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      I've been lurking here for the last couple of years, ever since reading the
      white book. I thought my experiences would be relevant to recent threads.
      Today I am a lead programmer on a team of 10. Our project is embedded,
      real-time, C++, CORBA. Five years ago I was tech writing for this same
      company. As I grew to understand the machine, I asked for some programmig
      projects, and the lead software engineer agreed to start me out on a few
      simple, side projects. I have an Engineering background, but the last time
      I'd actually programmed anything was fifteen years before, back in school,
      using Fortran - I had absolutely no method indoctrination. As I grew into my
      current position, there were a number of things which began to annoy me
      about writing software:

      - I was given stacks of outdated documents, which I was suppose to digest
      and maintain, but which did little to increase my understanding of the
      project.

      - I found most of the comments in the code useless, things like: " // now
      loop through the collection & // get a pointer to the next element "

      - I was afraid to "disturb" the senior programmers - in their offices, down
      several halls, with their headphones - with my silly questions.

      - I wondered what other programmers were working on, whether it could help
      me, whether I could help them.

      - I noticed we never knew how long it would take to complete a new project.

      - I got really sick of the debugger.

      - I questioned why there couldn't be a better way of testing to ensure my
      changes didn't break anything.

      - Many times I found myself thinking, gee, it'd be easier if I could change
      this code myself instead of submitting a request to its creator.

      - I found myself making smaller and smaller changes, wondering why our team
      merged only once or twice a month.

      - I stopped working past midnight just to prove myself; I found that I was
      making lots of dumb mistakes, thus "disproving" myself.

      - When no one was watching, I rewrote existing code, to make it easier to
      understand; at first, I had no set of practices to guide me, just a touch
      and feel kind of thing.


      ... blah, blah, you get the idea. The XP books and Martin Fowler's
      Refactoring were like lights coming on in the dark. I'm not crazy, I said to
      myself, other people have the same issues. Arriving at the XP principles as
      I did, carrying very little software baggage, XP seems natural, obvious.
      Just thought I'd share.
    • jeffgrigg63132
      Ahhhh... Now this brings back memories... (Thank you. :-) _ _ _ Story time: For my very first professional assignment, I was thrown in a room, alone with a
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 2, 2002
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        Ahhhh... Now this brings back memories...
        (Thank you. :-)
        _ _ _

        Story time:

        For my very first professional assignment, I was thrown in a room,
        alone with a business system someone had typed in from a book and
        botched up so badly that almost nothing worked. With no internal or
        external documentation, and really bad code, I had no choice but to
        independently discover refactoring. Years later I learned what to
        call it, and of the value of unit testing.

        (Come to think if it, I have no idea why my boss couldn't have at
        least gotten me a copy of the book the original program was copied
        from. Well, life is odd -- and programming projects even more so. ;-
        )
        _ _ _

        I could respond to each of the bullet points. But it seems my
        response to each is... "Hahahaha! Right on brother!" ;->

        (Oh, and working with our peers is very important -- even when not
        doing XP.)
        - jeff
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