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Review of Extreme Programming Adventures in C# by Ron Jeffries

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is neither a guide to XP, nor a tutorial for C#; rather it is a description of Ron's efforts to produce a working program that provides real customer value whilst learning a new language. The program in question is an XML notepad, with the aim of making it easier for Ron to edit his website, and Ron guides us through it in the humorous manner common to all his writing. Ron being Ron, the project is undertaken in an eXtreme Programming style, though the limitations of the book project mean that he hasn't employed all the practices "as written"; he is his own customer, and he doesn't always manage to find a pair, for example. As you follow Ron through the project, with the aid of the lessons he pulls out, you get a better understanding of the way he develops software, and are given an opportunity to judge how it compares to what you would have done. You might also learn a little C# along the way, as Ron explains each new language feature when he first uses it, though this is not the key focus of the book.

The project is not just one big success story; Ron shares his mistakes with us so that we may learn from them. The book is interspersed with "lessons", where Ron reflects on the preceding section and tries to identify important points, either things that he felt worked well, or things the mistakes he made, and what he thinks could be done to try and avoid similar mistakes . Also throughout the book are sentences marked "sb", for "sound bite". These are short phrases which summarise a point, like "It's Chet's fault" (don't focus on finding who's at fault when things go wrong, rather focus on fixing the problem), or "You Aren't Gonna Need It" (focus on what needs doing now, rather than what you think you'll need for later). It is these lessons and sound bites which provide the "message" of the book — Ron's belief that incremental development, done test-first, with simple design, continuous refactoring and a focus on producing value for the customer is an effective method of producing high quality software.

If you like Ron's other writing you'll love this book. If you've never read Ron's stuff before and are interested in learning a bit about how he applies the principles of XP (and maybe a little C#), it's worth reading; you might even enjoy it.

Highly Recommended.

Buy this book

At Amazon.co.uk
At Amazon.com

Posted by Anthony Williams
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