Archive for November, 2005

John Vlissides passed away

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I’ve just read from Martin Fowler blog that John Vlissides died a few days ago. This is really sad and bitter.

If you are developing software for a living you typically know who he was and how important his contribution to software design has been in the past.


From sidewalk to sanctity

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Yesterday evening Rai1 (most important channel of Italian public television) has transmitted a fiction about last years of Pope John Paul II. Of course it has got the biggest share of yesterday’s prime time.

Try to guess who is the actor acting the part of Karol Wojtyla: got it? It’s Jon Voight!

I was just thinking how curious is Jon Voight’s career, from Midnight Cowboy to the Pope… 🙂

2nd Italian Agile Day

Friday, November 25, 2005

On December 16th 2005 there will be the 2nd Italian Agile Day in Milan. I’ll make some noise about TDD in the afternoon with a live demonstration called “TDD: how to handle explosive code without being hurt”

Acceptance Test Patterns

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Recently I have spent some time writing many acceptance tests (AT) in a row for a project while working at Quinary. Usually I spend not too much time with the customer, helping her writing a few AT for each iteration. It can be 30′ or 1 hour a week on average, rarely more than that (and only at the beginning of the project or a new release). Working that way you end up writing AT in little bursts.

This time it was different. We were using Fitnesse like a tool for writing executable specifications (more on this in further posts). It is not interesting here to discuss why we were doing that, but in the end it meant writing tens of AT without even a single line of code. The project itself was just a brainstorming about a possible product, therefore there was no intention (yet) to really code anything. But writing executable specs helped understanding the different areas and functionalities that we eventually need to address.

Whatever the reason, I now have many AT, some of which are really similar to each other. Even more: some of those tests are slightly equal, they look to be different instances of the same pattern. For example: whenever we have forms used to enter new entities (ala DDD), there is always a test that tries to insert duplicated data, check that it fails and check the actual error.

This is just a simple example, but it already contains all the elements that are typical of a pattern language, expressed in the vocabulary of functional elements.

While I’m pretty sure that this concept isn’t really new, it seems that it is different from what specified for example with the BuildOperateCheck pattern: this pattern works at the Fit level, and it is so general to comprise almost any Fit test that doesn’t follow the other well-known pattern represented by flow-style actions in FitLibrary.

To put it simpler, what I’m trying to say is that there seems to be emerging patterns at the functional level, working at a lower level than general-purpose Fit/Fitnesse patterns. It may also be that specific domains will have their own (even more) concrete patterns.

This opens interesting possibilities.