AFH 029: Beyond Legacy Code with David Bernstein and Woody Zuill [PODCAST]

Hosts

Ryan Ripley, David Bernstein, Woody Zuill

Discussion

Ryan Ripley (@ryanripley), David Bernstein (@tobeagile) and Woody Zuill (@WoodyZuill) got together to discuss legacy code, what it means to be a great programmer, test driven development, and how the principles that we adopt drive our practices.

At the center of our discussion was David’s new book: Beyond Legacy Code

This book now has a prominent place on my desk next to Uncle Bob Martin’s classic book  Clean Code. David starts the reader off with the current state of software development and why many of the problems that we observe and experience still persist today.

He calls this “The Legacy Code Crisis” and does a brilliant job of making the case for agile software development practices.

The second part of the book covers 9 practices that “extend the life and value of your software”.

The 9 practices are:

  1. Say What, Why, and for Whom Before How
  2. Build in Small Batches
  3. Integrate Continuously
  4. Collaborate
  5. Create Clean Code
  6. Write the Test First
  7. Specify Behaviors with Tests
  8. Implement the Design Last
  9. Refactor Legacy Code

Each practice is explained clearly along with why each practice is important. The “why” is critical. It’s easy to explain the mechanics of TDD, but also showing the value that the practice provides makes the book appropriate for programmers, managers, and executives alike.

My favorite aspect of this book is that David’s explanations and insights are infused with the values and principles of the agile manifesto.

His prose is engaging and feels conversational. It’s a pleasure to read David’s thoughts on these topics as he is clearly knowledgeable and passionate about agility and creating humane systems of work.

I love this book and cannot recommend it highly enough.

As Woody Zuill noted on the podcast: “If I had what it takes to write a book, I would like to have written this book.

And then…we called it a night.

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Resources, Plugs, and More

Ryanhttp://ryanripley.com

Davidhttp://www.tobeagile.com/

Woodyhttp://zuill.us/WoodyZuill/

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Tim Bourguignon

    Great inspiring discussion. It made my drive yesterday way more enjoyable. The comment about TDD aiming at testing behavior and not Methods drove it home for me. Something clicked. It’s the argument for TDD that I never managed to verbalize. I’m ready for more XP-lobbying at work on monday. Thanks a lot!

    • Tim, we love hearing that something on the podcast helped someone the next day at work. I really appreciate you sharing this with us. It took me a long time for that point – behaviors, not methods – to sink in. Best wishes in you XP advocacy adventures! –Ryan

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