OO, FP and XP training (extremely long)

bryan rasmussen rasmussen.bryan@REDACTED
Fri Dec 9 22:31:05 CET 2005

well I recently had my first agile development class, although this
was just a high level agile concepts class.
the thing that I felt after a bit was too much OO, too much UML. I
felt sort of like, OO and UML have problems. Therefore to solve their
problems this method has been developed that will allow them to run a
few more years with these technologies. This was also my feeling about
Aspect Orientation though. Given the high level overview of the class
I guess I developed a high level degree of cynicism.

Bryan Rasmussen

On 12/9/05, Jay Nelson <jay@REDACTED> wrote:
> [The meat about Functional Programming is at the bottom, you need to
> read the set up to understand how I arrived at my conclusions.]
> At work we are mainly a C++ / C# shop now with most development being
> geared towards .NET.  We previously were a UNIX / C++ shop with
> excellent scaleability, reliability and redundancy.  Needless to say,
> scale is being challenged by the move to interactive GUI-based
> applications on Windows XP coming from UNIX servers.
> As part of this multi-year transition we have embraced the principles of
> eXtreme Programming (XP) and agile development.  Our team has used an
> external consultant in the last few weeks to coach us, although we have
> been using the Test Driven Development (TDD) approach for a year now.
> One of the demos that they gave was a live process of developing a
> bowling game scoring application to show how refactoring works in
> practical terms.  The lecturer ran through the typical OO design anyone
> would come up with which involved 4 or 5 classes and inheritance, and
> then held it to the side while he developed the code with prompting from
> an audience using TDD.  The end result was a for loop with two if
> statements and no classes.  This caused a little discussion as to why he
> ended up with the result he did (TDD forced him to write only the
> necessary code) and his reflection on why "the power of OO was not
> needed in this case".  After being challenged on this in the past, he
> wrote the full OO implementation and ended up with over 400 lines of
> code, confirming his suspicion that no OO was a simpler implementation.
> However, still convinced that OO was a good thing, he believed for more
> complicated programs it was warranted and aided in development*.
> In our actual pairs programming with the coach observing, he often
> wanted to simplify the code we have built up over the last year.  One of
> the things that surprised me was that he wanted to eliminate Getters and
> Setters and just use public member variables.  Another difference was
> that all member functions be declared public since that made them much
> easier to test without proxy methods.  He also advocated removing
> inheritance in many cases and replacing it with object factories,
> cooperating classes and interfaces that exposed only the required public
> methods.
> -----
> *My immediate question was, "If this is so obvious with a toy problem,
> why isn't the complexity of the code multiplied many times when scaled
> up to a larger problem?".
> -----
> It was enlightening to see the change that TDD is bringing about from
> the standpoint of the experts in the field (our coaching organization
> has been a long advocate and publisher of some seminal texts on the
> subject).  Here is my take from the exercise:
> 1) IDEs are very important in changing the way you program
>     - Verbosity is great, type a few letters and allow completion
>     - Refactoring, renaming is much easier
>     - Don't ever worry about overhead, avoid all duplicate code
>     - Rely heavily on the editor to point out errors without compiling
>     - Declare types so that the IDE signatures are more readable, rather
> than type safety
> 2) TDD changes the way you code
>     - Test first means most functions are best made public
>     - Constant refactoring makes the code units smaller
>     - Make sure you refactor the tests just as diligently
>     - Freely modify anything, the tests protect you
>     - Classes are essential to override external behavior
> 3) Interfaces are much more important than classes
>     - Use object factories and only access via interfaces
>     - Use interfaces as replaced facades when testing
>     - Mock objects allows dynamic swapping of functionality
> 4) All meetings and planning are evil
> In general I shuddered at a lot of the "best practices" that violated my
> old training in OO about protection of data and encapsulation.  This was
> after all one of the big advantages of OO.  I came to the following
> general conclusions (feel free to challenge or augment them):
> A) TDD subverts staticly typed languages
> The main purpose of static typing is to allow the compiler to notify the
> programmer of errors before allowing the execution of code.  If you have
> a bunch of tests that break, it can be more thorough than just a static
> type check of variables and signatures.  This equates in my mind to
> preference for run-time validation with real data.
> The second advantage of static typing is compiler optimization, but with
> XP, programmer optimization is more important.  Performance is only
> considered if the acceptance test that specifies a performance level
> does not pass.
> B) Engineering principles and experience hinder development
> TDD and XP are all about making the team more effective -- faster with
> fewer software errors.  The methods used boost the worst performers a
> lot and hinder the best performers to a lesser degree.  (I suspect the
> very best programmers are slowed down by more than the boost of the
> worst, but there are so few world-class programmers that most companies
> have never met one.)   Any anticipation based on previous experience is
> eschewed for fear it results in over-engineering when a simple solution
> works.  Start with the simplest case that passes the test and gradually
> refine it -- the process of refinement incurs refactoring which will
> produce the desired solution with the simplest design.
> While this works in practice for most problems -- it is very easy to
> refactor code to speed it up -- architectural problems do not fall out
> so simply.  Refactoring a data flow that involves multiple systems which
> did not consider performance (or, say, hot code loading) cannot just be
> refactored to introduce a solution.  Deep thought and insight are needed
> to produce an innovative solution.  But a fast, reproducible, straight
> forward approach gets you into the marketplace competing with
> like-minded companies quickly.
> C) No one understands the system
> Everyone works in pairs on every part of the code.  Writing code is a
> flurry of making a test case fail, writing a simple solution, increasing
> the test case and refactoring.  The tools simplify this so that extra
> arguments can be added to a function in one place and it will be updated
> everywhere -- even if you don't know where those changes happen.  I
> stepped away after hours of coding  several times without understanding
> anything we coded, but knowing that it passed the tests and therefore
> was functionally correct.
> Everyone is interchangeable.  Mindless code generation and copious unit
> test studying produce a localized understanding quickly that leads to
> enhancements and bug fixes being done rapidly.  Ask anyone a deep
> question about the philosophy of the system, the general performance
> characteristics or whether there is a clean approach to expanding its
> range of scope and you will be met with blank stares and requests for
> specific test descriptions.
> D) XP developers are coding Functionally, not using OO
> Gradually the constraints of class encapsulation are being removed.  All
> methods and member variables become public to ease testing, interfaces
> are used to make the IDE work again rather than give a meaningless list
> of every data item in the system (not to restrict code access, since the
> unit tests prove which functions are accessed).  Global variables and
> global functions harken back to the days of APL, one of the first
> functional languages.  The use of cooperating classes rather than
> inheritance is concurrency oriented and relies on function modules
> (interfaces) to access the ghost classes.
> When XP developers believe they are taking advantage of Mock Objects or
> proxy classes, they are really doing late binding of function
> interfaces.  When unit tests run, they are simulating the dynamic scope
> of execution and use run-time validation.  When acceptance tests are
> executing they have built an entire scaffolding that should be part of
> the language and always enforced during execution.  UBF-B is a general
> solution that doesn't require all the test instances to be written.
> My bold predictions:
> 1) Agile development will lead to OO languages being replaced by FP
> languages.
> 2) Agile development will hit a wall that will require a "new innovative
> development process" when average programmers use it for concurrent
> programming without a language like erlang.
> 3) Businesses will quickly compete in markets and with a level of
> software complexity that they previously couldn't, but will find
> themselves stuck with a product and user base that is not understood
> well enough for strategic planning purposes.
> 4) "Lone wolf" teams and programmers will be more innovative, but they
> will be copied more quickly by average teams.  The sheer volume of code
> needed to compete will overwhelm the small organizations and force
> innovation out of the market.
> 5) Big paradigm shifts will be necessary to rebalance industry
> competition; mundane evolution of versions will be possible by all
> companies.
> 6) IDEs will hide the complexity and level of insight equally, making
> "hand coded" programming a specialized black art that is equated to
> hotrod enthusiast engine tinkerers.
> 7) Big businesses will continue to make money touting large complex
> systems worked by a team of programmers; startups will continue to find
> niches that they can subvert with new approaches that they sell to the
> big businesses.
> jay

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