Monday, 2 August 2010

Week in Review - 2010-30

Looking for some icons? Check out the fantastic work available @ webtoolkit4.me - there are some really good icon sets.

I'm always trying to find better ways of doing things and find incredible resistance to even the simplest of improvements - things that I would consider no-brainers end up subjected to business cases and long winded "evaluations of all the options". Well, the Pragmatic Programmers have released a book that might be exactly what I need:
Driving Technical Change

"Finding cool languages, tools, or development techniques is easy—new ones are popping up every day. Convincing co-workers to adopt them is the hard part. The problem is political, and in political fights, logic doesn’t win for logic’s sake. Hard evidence of a superior solution is not enough. But that reality can be tough for programmers to overcome."

Myself and a co-worker have a keen interest in developing our agile skills, and would also like to infect the rest of the team with our enthusiasm. So, we've held our first of what we hope to be regular lunch-time (couldn't possibly use company time for skills improvement) brown bag sessions - the first being "A practical application of TDD". It mostly went well, but as always people got distracted from the primary goal (TDD) by other secondary topics such as requirements. I've tried exactly this type of thing before, but never had an audience that is particularly interested. Lets see how well it works this time.

The next session we have planned is to watch awesome Kent Beck in his TDD screencasts. Perhaps we should have started with this one, instead of  trying to introduce a practical application myself. I found a review of the screen casts here: http://odoe.net/blog/?p=87 - Big thanks to Kent Beck for JUnit, Extreme ProgrammingTest Driven Development and more.

I also have to give a shout out to Area51! This is awesome - a place where you can propose, commit, and beta test a version of StackOverflow aimed at a niche market - and not necessarily programming related. You can propose a topic, and when enough people have committed to ensure it will thrive, it will be available for public beta - where we can all participate. Current topics include cooking, photography, maths etc. StackOverflow made Q&A much better than the norm, and having a place where the Q&A can branch out cover other topics is fantastic. I like the way these guys think - even the way they enable new sites/topics is different.

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