Extreme Programming in risky position, says co-creator

End of opposition breeds challenge


As the celebrated 2.0 incarnation of the web lures an increasing number of organizations into the cloud, enterprise IT managers are warming to the quick-and-dirty capabilities of PHP, JavaScript, Perl, Python, and Ruby for developing database-driven web apps. And a new generation of tools is elevating scripters to the status of go-to guys for trimming development backlogs.

Of course, with "mainstream" comes "methodology," and we've reported here the very cogent arguments of Zend senior PHP engineer Eddo Rotman that webhead scripters who want to be taken seriously in the enterprise might find just what they need in agile development schemes.

Despite growing opportunity for adoption, though, one of the industry’s most popular agile methodologies, Extreme Programming, or XP, has reached a “risky” stage in its evolution.

That’s according to XP co-inventor Kent Beck who published his first book on XP eight years ago. The XP approach is mainstream now, but only in the sense that virtually no one is opposing it. It's accepted, but not to the extent of, say, the integrated development environment or open source software.

"We don't yet have the advantages of whole-hearted, widespread adoption," Beck told Reg Dev during a recent interview, "but we no longer have the disadvantages of a vigorous opposition, either. This is the stage at which an innovation can just die. Everyone says: 'Oh yeah we do that,' but they really don't, and there's not enough opposing energy to push them into really doing it."

XP is now one of the industry's most popular lightweight software development methodologies. With roots in the Smalltalk community, it's a system of practices that emphasizes such principles as collective code ownership and practices such as pair programming.

Smalltalk parallels

Beck, founder of the Three Rivers Institute and a speaker at QCon 2008 in London this week, sees Web 2.0 development as going through a phase - with its cowboy coders and "don't-fence-me-in" attitude - that is reminiscent of the early coder culture surrounding Smalltalk.

"In the early days of Smalltalk, you were supposed to have this Zen-like oneness with your program," Beck said. "If something was wrong, you would feel it somewhere in your body. That worked out about as well as you'd expect: okay, if you're working on small programs by yourself, but not so great when it comes to a bunch of people needing to deliver software to a bunch of other people over a long period of time."

Over the course of four or five years, the Smalltalk community lost its "I'm-an-artiste-who-needs-transparency" attitude, Beck said, and figured out that it needed at least some of the disciplines that were common in J2EE and C++ shops. Beck and others built some of the tools and mostly rediscovered the techniques necessary to do just that. SUnit, a precursor of JUnit, was one result.

Next page: Easy reading

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021