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XP success story: Sabre takes extreme measures   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Computerworld) Using extreme programming practices, Sabre Airline Solutions has reduced bugs and development times for its software products.

Sabre Airline Solutions had many years of experience with its AirFlite Profit Manager, a big modeling and forecasting package that many airlines use to wring more income out of flight schedules. Even so, Release 8 of the software was four months late in 2000 after final system testing turned up 300 bugs. The first customer found 26 more bugs in the first three days of its acceptance testing, and subsequent joint testing by Sabre and the customer uncovered an additional 200 defects. www.computerworld.com/softwaretopics/software/story/0,10801,91646,00.html

Selling XP   25 Sep 04
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Alistair Cockburn has a very interesting paper on "The Costs and Benefits of Pair Programming". Of course Pair Programming is not the only "extreme" aspect of extreme programming but Alistair’s article contains some very interesting metrics (seems a lot less "extreme" after reading Alistair’s article). members.aol.com/humansandt/papers/pairprogrammingcostbene/pairprogrammingcostbene.htm

Forth Database   25 Sep 04
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Richard S. Westmoreland postd this to the Forth-ML.
 In years past, we have implemented some extremely complicated databases in
 Forth.  The first was done in the mid 1970's for the company Cybek in NJ,
 and it was used in some extremely complex applications.  FORTH, Inc. also
 did some very complex databases for other companies, one of which was still
 in use last time I checked, at www.calmuni.com.  That one was a
 2-dimensional database, with a huge bit matrix in the center used to
 calculate overlapping bonded indebtedness.  A few years ago my contact  there
 told me that a state agency had just spent several million $$ trying to
 replicate it using modern database tools, but the result was too large and
 too slow to be usable.

 In the late 1980's we added class-based techniques to it, which many people
 liked (although I personally preferred the earlier, simpler version).

 It's hard to describe the whole approach in a newsgroup post, though.  It
 certainly didn't resemble SQL!

Test First, by Intention   25 Sep 04
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A code and culture translation from the original Smalltalk to Ruby Original by Ronald Jeffries, translation by Aleksi Niemela and Dave Thomas. www.rubycentral.com/articles/pink

In this document we show you the Ruby version of the Smalltalk code published in the pink book.

Test-Driven Writing   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Stefan Schmiedl)
 >An activity that I /do/ still have trouble with, however, is writing.
 > When faced with having to compse anything more substantial than an
 > email response, I feel the fear start to creep in and I get myself all
 > tied in knots.  Even after I start to put some words down, I often
 > find myself getting stuck because the thing isn't flowing and the task
 > of finishing seems overwhelming.

Yup, writers block definitively, as John Roth diagnosed already. But if you’re able to describe it in such flowering detail as above, there’s no need to have it.

 > So on my way home last night (after another frustrating couple of
 > hours trying to get some thoughts on paper), I was thinking about how
 > I could make my prose writing come as easily as my code writing.  I
 > started wondering if I couldn't somehow employ a TDD-like cycle in my
 > writing process.

I am often writing articles with my business partner, who’s<br>especially good at collecting lots of nice stuff on the web. The first thing I have do with the "drafts" I get from him, is to find the<br>structure fitting best to the available data. This is currently donein a Mindmap using freemind (freely available at sf.net, IIRC). For some<br>time I also tried vimoutliner (www.vimoutliner.org) for this, but found that for this process, the two-dimensional display of a mindmap is better suited to my brain.

When the outline is finished, I start to grow the flesh on the bones. That’s relatively easy, as I confine my work strictly to the current paragraph.>

The next step is easy, if I have the time: I let the stuff settle for a few days, then go over it once more and clean up the unbelievable mess I created then. If I don’t have the time, I need to play about two hours nethack, which erases my brain just as well…

So the steps are:

 - data collection
  - gradually by experience
  - by force (coauthor delivery)
 - data organization
   - mindmap
   - outline
 - draft
   - follow the map
   - work local
 - refactor or polish
   - grammar, spelling, rhetoric
   - present line of thought more clearly

I think that there’s a difference between code and prose showing here. You expect your code to give certain results for a given input, and you are free to not care about the implementation at all. With prose, implementation is almost everything. So the cost of providing a "working release" is higher with prose than with code. At least for me.

 >find myself getting stuck because the thing isn't flowing and the task
 >of finishing seems overwhelming.

Writing is like every other kind of art. It is never finished. Feeling better now?

Writing is like dealing with animals. Don’t be afraid of it, and it won’t hurt you.

Your fellow author in pain, S.

Ender's Game and Software Development   25 Sep 04
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Very interesting entry by /\ndy Hunt. Ender is in reference to a novel by Orson Scott Card called ‘Ender’s Game’. Its part of a series of three books, all of which are well worth reading. www.toolshed.com/blog

Re: Forth, Befunge, Whitespace, or Malborge: which is hardest to write buggy code in?   25 Sep 04
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(Source: comp.lang.forth)
  >>Here is a version of Forth that runs under Windows, written in Whitespace:
  >
  >>
  >>I can't get it to run.  Do you think my browser has clobbered the code?
  Hmmm. I did exactly as the web page[1] suggests: "What do you do? Simply
  print it out and delete the file, ready to type in at a later date.
  Nobody will know that your blank piece of paper is actually vital
  computer code!"  I sure hope that I didn't mistake my only copy of the
  source code for an ordinary blank page!

  Perhaps writing my Befunge[2] compiler in Malborge[3] and then making it
  to a Forth[4] compiler written in Whitespace[1] wasn't such a good idea...

 References:
 1 http://compsoc.dur.ac.uk/whitespace/
 2 http://dmoz.org/Computers/Programming/Languages/Befunge/
 3 http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/query-pr.cgi?pr=28147
 4 http://www.cbel.com/forth_programming_language/

Forth "versus" Whatever   25 Sep 04
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From comp.lang.forth
 >>Which brings me to an excellent 'forthism' I once read in a
 >> newsletter.  It stated:
 >>
 >>     "You can do anything in Forth - but you must be prepared
 >>     to do it yourself."
 In a recent discussion in c.l.functional, about why popular languages
 are popular, I summarized the relationship between Lisp and Forth
 more-or-less as follows:
 "From the Lisper's perspective, every other language is a cute subset
 of lisp; whereas from the Forther's perspective, every other language
 is a cute extension of Forth."

The Real Point of Oracle10g Manageability   25 Sep 04
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Curt Monash has written a very good article about Oracle 10g. The article argues that the real focus is on manageability, which makes perfect strategic sense. TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is king. And with hardware getting cheaper, software getting cheaper, and custom programming being outsourced to cheap countries, administrative costs are an ever bigger part of TCO. Whats more, manageability is historically a major competitive challenge for Oracle; 10g is designed to neutralize that issue.

Paris Metro firm to run Wi-Fi buses   25 Sep 04
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(Sourc: register) Wireless Internet access will soon move beyond railways and onto the roads if RATP, the company which runs the Paris Metro and the capital’s bus services, has its way.

The organisation will next week show off a Wi-Fi enabled bus at the Paris-hosted Public Transport Exhibition 2004. It will also launch a public trial of the technology, on the number 38 bus, which runs between North and South Paris. Buses on the route have already been equipped with Wi-Fi, RATP said. Travellers will be able to connect their (suitably equipped) PDAs and notebooks with the bus’ on-board access point. However, Internet connectivity is only provided at Wi-Fi speeds when the vehicle passes within range of a fixed hotspot - at a major terminus, for example. For the rest of the journey, connectivity is maintained through a GPRS link. link

 

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