Tuesday, 14 November, 2000

Extreme Programming

I'm amused by the relatively recent increase in the number of cowboy coders who claim to embrace Extreme Programming (XP).  These seat-of-the-pants coders who cringe at the thought of creating a design document of any sort, who think coding standards are overly restrictive and testing unnecessary, latch onto a few buzzwords picked up in somebody's two-paragraph introduction to XP and all of a sudden become experts on software development methodology.  Then, conveniently ignoring almost every rule and principle of XP, they continue to hack away at their programs.  Goofy.

If you're looking for a good lightweight software design method, you should give Extreme Programming a look.  It's not for everybody, but small teams of 10 or fewer programmers who are working in fast-changing or high risk areas can certainly benefit.  But it's a serious method, customer driven with real release schedules and primary emphasis placed on testing and evolutionary delivery of working code.  Don't let the cowboy coders who claim to embrace XP turn you off.  Spend a half hour exploring the Extreme Programming site and see for yourself if it's worth trying on your project.