Sharpen Your Knives

You’ve heard the old adage about the lumberjack who—in order to cut a tree in an hour—will take 45 minutes to sharpen the saw? This old analogy really needs updating: Not many of us are all that familiar with the logging industry.

I like to instead use the metaphor of the chef who sharpens her

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Exceptional Circumstances

In our BDD course, we use a real example of an online library patron portal. Course participants are provided with a number of (often vague) business rules regarding whether or not a book loan can be renewed. Some have to do with the state of the book (e.g., has another patron requested a “hold” on

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Testing the User Interface

I often get questions about testing “the user interface” or “the front end.” This comes up in all our technical Agile classes (Behavior Driven Development, Essential Test-Driven Development, Certified Scrum Developer), or most frequently during

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Good Design, part IV: The Role of Tests

We’ve seen how refactoring becomes the primary design activity on an Agile team. Diligent, confident refactoring is possible to the degree that the code is tested through an automated test suite. If the tests don’t cover a portion of the code, a defect may be introduced when that code is altered. If the tests are

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Good Design, Part III: Refactoring

Remember this?

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Good Design, Part II: Code Smells

Last month we talked about good software design and introduced the notion of code smells. Code smells are names given to those instinctual thoughts you have whenever you look at a chunk of less-than-elegant code. Some are subtle, and some really stink.

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Good Design

I’ve learned not to assume a team has experienced a variety of software design skills. Some are writing elegant functional-paradigm code in archaic, challenging languages. Others are writing strongly-coupled, heavily-commented, and procedural static methods in Java or C#.

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How TDD is More Than Simply Unit Testing

I was recently asked about the difference between unit-testing and Test-Driven Development (TDD). Specifically, why—if the end results are the same—would I recommend TDD over writing unit tests after coding?

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