Articles

Partially open computer showing a bright screen Software Development: An Industry of Amateurs

David Bernstein says the software industry is an industry of amateurs. It's a young field, and he doesn’t think it's yet graduated into a true profession. Here, David contrasts the software industry with other, more established fields, and he talks about what software professionals need to do in order for the industry to become accepted and esteemed.

David Bernstein
Sticky tags that say "Hello, my name is," photo by Jon Tyson What's in a Name? Build Better Software by Naming Classes and Methods Clearly

One of the most important things to pay attention to when writing software is how we name our symbols. Data and behavior should be named in a way that represents the essence of what we're trying to do. Naming affects understandability and reflects code quality, so use names that clearly communicate your intentions, and refactor those names when your intentions change.

David Bernstein
Changeable code The Value of Test-Driven Development when Writing Changeable Code

Writing changeable code makes it easier and more cost-effective to add features to existing software. Writing changeable code doesn’t take longer, but it does require paying attention to certain things when building a system. It's important to have a good suite of unit tests that support refactoring code when needed, and test-driven development helps you create independently testable code.

David Bernstein
Pencil to paper Document Why as Well as What: Finding the Purpose of Your Software

Code can express what we want to accomplish, but it’s a little more difficult to express why we’re doing something in the first place. The people who maintain code are often not those who originally wrote it, so documenting why helps set a context and gives clues as to what the author was thinking when they came up with a particular design, making developers' jobs easier.

David Bernstein

Better Software Magazine Articles

Do You Really Want to Be a Manager Do You Really Want to Be a Manager?

The majority of managers are promoted due to their software development expertise. But becoming a successful manager requires a drastic change of focus. There is a set of expectations to consider before making that leap to the “dark side.”

Ron Lichty MW Mantle
Playing Games to Improve Software

You may not have heard about gamification, but instructional designers are now using game principles to help with retention of learned material in many forms of training. Ross Smith and Rajini Padmanaban believe that developers' UX and app design can benefit from gamification.

Ross Smith Rajini Padmanaban
When Software Smells Bad

Most software needs to be "maintainable" and have high "internal quality." But what does that mean in practical terms? Code smells form a vocabulary for discussing code quality and how well suited code might be to change. The smells also provide good indications as to what to refactor and how.

Leveraging A Learning Culture

Mistakes happen. It's how you respond to them that matters. Teams might react to a bug with panic and blame, leading to a quickly hacked fix and possibly more issues. Taking time to investigate and learn leverages problems into process and practice improvement and a higher quality product.

Lisa Crispin

Interviews

Melissa Benua discusses continuous integration Employ Continuous Integration Processes to Make Your Code Work: An Interview with Melissa Benua
Video

In this interview, Melissa Benua, senior backend engineer for PlayFab, explains the new way of life that continuous integration brings. She imparts practical advice for creating builds and running automation on the fly without spending hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars.

Jennifer Bonine
Mobile software developer Josh Michaels Mobile Development and Aggressive Testing: An Interview with Josh Michaels
Video

Josh Michaels is an independent software developer who makes apps for the iPad, iPhone, and Mac under the company name Jetson Creative. In this interview, Josh discusses mobile development, testing aggressively, and keeping users happy. 

Jonathan Vanian
Joe Justice inventor of the Extreme Manufacturing project management method For Maximum Awesome: An Interview with Joe Justice
Video

Joe Justice is a consultant at Scrum Inc. and inventor of the Extreme Manufacturing project management method. He also is the founder of Team WIKISPEED, an all-Scrum volunteer-based, "green” automotive prototyping company.

Cameron Philipp-Edmonds
Maintaining the Programming Mob: An Interview with Woody Zuill
Video

"Fun" and "kindness" aren't the first things that come to mind when thinking of the mob, but in software development—they're mandatory. Woody Zuill discusses how mob programming takes a very agile and collaborative effort at delivering great software on time, and with the respect of everyone on board.

Noel Wurst

Conference Presentations

Mobile Dev Test Threads, Queues, and More: Async Programming in iOS
Slideshow

To keep your iOS app running butter-smooth at 60 frames per second, Apple recommends doing as many tasks as possible asynchronously or “off the main thread.” Joe Keeley introduces you to some basic concepts of asynchronous programming in iOS. He discusses what threads and queues are, how...

Joe Keeley
When Code Cries: Listening to Code
Slideshow

What is the best way to learn a new programming language or improve coding skills with the language you already use? Cory Foy has developed a new method for learning—and teaching—new programming languages and improving programmer expertise on their current languages. 

Cory Foy, Cory Foy, LLC
Program Management: Collaborating across the Organization
Slideshow

To be most effective when managing a large program, the component projects should limit their batch size, create networks of people, and report status in a way that works for the entire program. For those of you who are not quite ready for agile, Johanna Rothman explains how to use staged...

Johanna Rothman, Rothman Consulting Group Inc.
Reducing the Cost of Software Testing

The demand to deliver more software in less time is increasing. Give in to the pressure without thinking, and you end up facing burnout, stress, business risk, and, most likely, even more demands. Refuse, fight the good fight, and it is likely the business will replace you with someone else.

Matthew Heusser, Excelon Development

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