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Re: Extreme programming... in perl?

by chromatic (Archbishop)
on Jan 09, 2001 at 09:29 UTC ( #50629=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Extreme programming... in perl?

I'm studying it personally and professionally. (I'm reviewing the two new XP books for Slashdot and have spec'd a two article series, one of which deals with similar things.) My perspective is a little weird because it's half academic, half free-software-developer.

I'm using Test::Unit (with props to our own clemburg) and doing the test-first, refactor mercilessly, write and complete stories approach with the Perl Rogue project.

It's hard to gauge the whole XP thing with a single-man program, but it's promising so far. Writing unit tests before code is pretty different, but it's the only way I'd get good test coverage.

The one thing I've noticed so far is that the combination of writing stories (to describe self-contained bits of functionality) and coding only as much as you need to pass the current test and complete the current story is improving code clarity and development speed. I don't have to plan for three or four different things at once. When I do come back to existing code, it's easier to make it more flexible (if necessary) because I have a specific and immediate goal in mind.

It's also harder to break things without knowing it, because all of the previous unit tests that must pass before you're finished.

This makes bugfixing easier, too, especially with multiple people on a project. A couple of weeks ago, I fixed a bug in Everything, creating another in the process. Darrick fixed the bug I created, recreating the bug I fixed. If I'd written a test to detect the bug I'd found, Darrick would have noticed it and come up with the correct solution immediately. (As he's a smart guy, he picked right up on it before I brought it up. But this could have been much worse.)

Currently, I'm trying to introduce some XP principles into Jellybean development. Only time will tell how successful we are there. I'm not yet confident enough with Test::Unit to know how to write good tests for some of the hairier bits there.

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Re: Re: Extreme programming... in perl?
by puck (Scribe) on Jan 10, 2001 at 01:54 UTC

    I hope you will write up your experiences about applying XP to Perl in a couple of months time. I'm currently just starting to play with Smalltalk as this is the XP language.

    However, if we can apply the techniques to Perl easily (and it works) then this would be very cool.

    Cheers! (And I'm off to look at Test::Unit...)

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