Thursday, 26 February 2009

My Favourite Keyboard Shortcuts

That was the title of a session I proposed for today's first-ever Software Craftsmanship Conference, at the BBC's attractive Media Centre in London's White City. To my surprise, the session was accepted. It worked quite well despite attracting only about half a dozen participants. I certainly learned a good deal from it!

The output of the session has been posted on the conference Wiki. However, you'll have to be logged in to see it, as the wiki is private to conference participants. I don't know if Jason Gorman plans to change this now the conference is over.

The top tips (as a result of a quick spot vote at the end) were:

The three-step refactoring tango: Jason's recipe for method extraction where one or more parameters are themselves method calls. In Eclipse, it goes ALT-SHIFT-L (extract local variable), ALT-SHIFT-M (extract method), then ALT-SHIFT-I (inline local variable as method parameter).

Expand/shrink current selection: In Eclipse, ALT-SHIFT-up/down arrow or in IDEA, CTRL-w/W. With the cursor on a given word, the word is selected. Repeated applications of the same keyboard combo selects progressively larger portions of the source file (up to and including the entire file). Using the opposite key combination reduces the size of the selection all the way back to 0.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Test-Driven Web Development on Spring and Hibernate

Adam Shimali and I will be piloting our TDD course at SPA2009 on the Sunday afternoon. Three two-hour samples of a full two-day course for free - and you get a 10% discount off the cost of the full course for yourself or a colleague.

The course is very hands-on. If you bring a laptop (Windows or MacOS) we can provide you with the complete Eclipse development environment installation on a CD or memory stick - you'll be good to go in about five minutes. It will help if you've done a bit of Java programming before, but even this is not essential as you'll be paired with someone experienced.

There's still time to book for SPA2009, but don't delay!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Agile and Lean - complementary or conflicting?

Dave West has contributed an article entitled A Marriage Made in Heaven?. I found it very instructive to read that as well as the comments attached to it. To my mind, there are things that the software community can learn (and has learned) from lean manufacturing, but in many respects software development is much more of a joint creative act. As Dave says, Peter Naur as long ago as 1985 equated programming with collaborative theory-building - in other words, it has much in common with research at the forefront of physics or mathematics, where results are difficult to predict and effort is almost impossible to forecast.

Monday, 16 February 2009

BALPA refuses to co-operate with ID card scheme

Well done, the British Airline Pilots Association. It has refused to co-operate with the odious National ID register, as reported in The Times. I especially enjoyed reading BALPA's clear views on the insidious methods the Government has chosen to bring in the ID cards:

"It is clear that the Government's staged introduction of biometric identity cards first to overseas students, then to migrant workers and then for aviation workers, represents a way of picking off what are seen as easy targets."

It'll be interesting to see what the Home Office chooses to do next. They can't afford to be seen to back down in the face of such a challenge to their "authority", yet they can't force airlines to sack valuable staff. So I expect that a technical pretext will be found for not requiring the airline pilots to carry the cards after all, and the department will go after another softer target first.

It is beyond me why the Government keeps on trying to introduce this scheme. The Tories and LibDems have both pledged to scrap the whole thing as soon as Labour is voted out of office, which only gives them a couple more years at most to push it through. Sadly, the stubborn and unimaginative lot currently in power are likely to waste hundreds of millions of pounds of our money on this folly before it is finally sunk.