Here are some things we (re)found worthwile reading this week.
You Always Tell Stories to a Five-Year-Old and Other Lessons from a Storyteller by Kent Beck contains a number of techniques for storytelling. The title reminds me of another time Kent was talking about storytelling (XP2001 I think). I was telling another participant that I wasn’t good at storytelling, and gave an example. The other person said: hear, you just told a story. In Kent’s words:”Tell stories. Listen to stories. Ask the elders for a story. Ask the five-year-olds. Ask yourself. Oh, and lesson seven: you always tell stories to a five-year-old. When we choose to listen to a story, we discard our defenses, even if only for a moment. Stories reach a place deep inside us. Stories connect us.
Crystal Clear Crystal is a way to creat your own methodologies developed by Alistair Cockburn. I recently took it out of the bookcase, because someone wrote a very good blogpost about it (that I can’t find at the moment). Crystal methodologies has an overview and links to presentations. Well worth a read if you want to understand more about methodology and better ways do developing software.
18 Lessons from 13 years of tricky bugs by Henrik Warme is a useful reminder of things that went wrong, for him, and for me as well. On quick reading I smugly thought ‘null pointers don’t bother me, I’ve got purescript or haskell’. On a second thought, data coming in always can have missing data, so testing and programming defensively against it is not a bad idea - hegagons for the win.
Writing a book in an agile way by Emily Webber. I was at her workshop at agile in the city, London today. This is a summary of her process. I asked her if she consciously chose not to use Leanpub, and she did - feedback was more important than money, she said. So she published it as a wordpress blog first, to get feedback. (YMMV, Alan Kelly just said in an unrelated talk that, with leanpub, it is easier to get money than a sentence of feedback from people).
Being Agile About Documenting and Communicating Architecture By Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, reflecting on a workshop at XP2016.
“if design descriptions are important to your company and your product or project, make it known. Explain why design documentation is important, respond to questions and challenges of that commitment, and then give people the support they need to create these kinds of descriptions. Let them perform experiments and build consensus around what is needed.”
Writing good documentation is hard, if there is value in it, make an effort. I’m developing on my own at the moment, I find documentation is valuable there, especially for tools and ideas I use occasionally, it makes it easier for me to find my way back in.
Vim 101: Search and Replace on Multiple Files by Alex Young. Just something practical, that we needed for a bit of redesign on a product that we just shipped to the first set of private beta users. Open all the files in vim, search, replace, compile, run tests and go.
Welcome to Larry Page’s Secret Flying-Car Factories by Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone.
From 1970s technology that is still useful to things one could read about in the 50s,60s,70s and 80s and then disappeared from populara culture: Flying Cars.