Accelerating Agile Development through Software Reuse


When performing test-driven searches in proactive mode, Code Conjurer is able to suggest candidate reusable components based on partial tests without disturbing the developers normal work and before much of the component has been implemented. It complements Extreme Programming by promoting the reuse of component implementations alongside the traditional approach of building them from scratch. We have, therefore, referred to this approach as Extreme Harvesting in previous papers [3]. Extreme Harvesting extends the extreme programming mantra of "design a little, code a little, test a little" to include "design a little, harvest (i.e. reuse) a little, test a little" as a possible route to successful application development.

Using Code Conjurer it is not only a venue for locating normal reusable components based on tests defined by the developer, it also possible to search for pre-existing tests, as well. When a developer begins writing a test, Code Conjurer can look for previously indexed tests and offer these for reuse.

When Code Conjurer is able to find components that match a developer's tests, it effectively "conjures up" reusable code from "thin air". The user does not have to deviate from his normal development work until a component has been found that does what he is trying to build. Even when no components are found that pass a developer's tests Code Conjurer is able to provide valuable information. By analyzing the search results using various clustering techniques it can create a characteristic picture of the group that includes the typical set of methods. For example, when searching for a matrix component based on an interface with just a multiply method, Code Conjurer can indicate that components with this method typically also support 13 other methods as well, such as swapRows(), transpose() or findPivot(int).

By unobtrusively adding test-driven search capabilities to mainstream development platforms such as Eclipse, Code Conjurer is able to genuinely speed up software development projects, whatever methodology is used. However, agile projects that specialize on small-grained components and writing test cases upfront, stand to gain the most from the tool. Code Conjurer is one small step for test-driven development, one giant leap for agile projects.

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