Pols' Perfect Purchaser

Andy Pols tells a great story about just how great it can be to have your customer 1) believe in testing and 2) completely engage in your development activities. Nice.

Subtext continues to amaze

I just watched the video describing the latest incarnation of Subtext. The video shows how the liveness, direct manipulation and example–based nature of this new table–based Subtext makes the writing and testing of complex conditionals easy.

If you develop software in a way that makes heavy use of examples and tables, you owe it to yourself to know about Subtext.

A Catalogue of Weaknesses in Python

You may have read somewhere that "Patterns are signs of weakness in programming languages", and perhaps even that "16 of 23 [GoF] patterns are either invisible or simpler [in Lisp]", from which  some conclude that dynamic languages don't have/need patterns, or some such.

Interesting, then, that a recent Google dev day presentation (pdf, video) provides us with a list of terrible weaknesses great patterns in Python.


Steve Freeman ponders if maybe the reason that I find statistical properties that seem to resemble those of natural languages in the code of jMock is because jMock was written to be like a language...

Some Spa 2008 Stuff

Chris Clarke has made a post here exploring the ideas that Ivan Moore and I presented at our Spa 2008 workshop Programming as if the Domain Mattered. Ivan has written up some of his learnings from the session here. I'll be doing the same myself soon. 
Chris makes this most excellent point:
I wish people would be a bit braver and use the code to express what they are trying to do and not worry about whether the way they are doing it is against Common Practice. Remember, the majority of software projects are still failures, so why follow Common Practice - it isn’t working!

In other news, my experience report on the effects of introducing checked examples (aka automated acceptance/functional/user/whatever "tests")  gets this thorough write up from "Me" (who are you, Me?) and also a mention in this one from Pascal Van Cauwenberghe.

Thanks, folks.

Design Patterns of 1994

So, Mark Dominus' Design Patterns of 1972 has made it back to the front page of proggit.

He offers a pattern-styled write up of the idea of a "subroutine" and opines that:
Had the "Design Patterns" movement been popular in 1960, its goal would have been to train programmers to recognize situations in which the "subroutine" pattern was applicable, and to implement it habitually when necessary
which would have been disastrous. Also:
If the Design Patterns movement had been popular in the 1980's, we wouldn't even have C++ or Java; we would still be implementing Object-Oriented Classes in C with structs
Actually, I think not. Because we did have patterns in the 1990's and, guess what, programming language development did not cease. Not even in C++.