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Java Extreme Programming Cookbook by Brian M. Coyner, Eric M. Burke

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Chapter 2. XP Overview

This chapter provides a quick introduction to the key programming-related XP activities. These activities are the aspects of XP that affect programmers the most.

XP encompasses much more than programming techniques. XP is a complete approach to software development, including strategies for planning, gathering user requirements, and everything else necessary to develop complete applications. Understanding these strategies is essential if you wish to base an entire project on XP.

What Is XP?

XP is based on four key principles: simplicity, communication, feedback, and courage. This section introduces each principle, and the remainder of this chapter touches on each concept where appropriate.

Simplicity

Simplicity is the heart of XP. Applying the principle of simplicity affects everything you do, and profoundly impacts your ability to successfully apply XP. Focusing on simple designs minimizes the risk of spending a long time designing sophisticated frameworks that the customer may not want. Keeping code simple makes changing code easier as the requirements inevitably change. In addition, adopting simple techniques for communicating requirements and tracking progress maximizes chances that the team will actually follow the process. Most importantly, focusing on simple solutions to today’s problems minimizes the cost of change over time. Figure 2-1 shows that the intended result of XP practices is to tame the cost of change curve, making it increase much less over ...

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