Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Art of Agile Development

I think I will always enjoy books put out by O'Reilly. The Art of Agile Development is no exception. This book was thought provoking and fun. The authors, of which there were two, tried many different ways of transferring their knowledge. I really respect their use of narrative style; it keeps you guessing (there is role playing be forewarned!). The book is a nice overview of agile philosophies (most heavily in favor of XP) and makes no claim that it is the de facto. They even go so far as to stress that you are invited to break the rules that the book lays out -- Explaining that an agile developer is one that asks the question why and that they will forever pursue mastery. I had a couple of "ah ha!" moments thanks to these guys (James Shore & Shane Warden). Thanks gents!

I have no intention of writing a full review but I will say that this is a great book for whetting your appetite for agile techniques. It's also filled with a wealth of references to further study.

They open up a section on Simple Design with:

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Truly brilliant and a fantastic parallel to the topic! Love it!

I like the way they described TDD:

"Imagine TDD as a small, fast-spinning motor. It operates in a very short cycle that repeats over and over again. Every few minutes, this cycle ratchets your code forward a notch, providing code that -- although it may not be finished -- has been tested, designed, coded and is ready to check in."

If this sort of explanation is up your alley, then give the book a try, as it's what you can expect.

Lastly, I really appreciate that they pour in personal "in the trenches" examples. These help solidify the relevance of the various concepts.

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