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

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Coding

Coding is an art, and XP acknowledges that. Your success at XP depends largely on your love of coding. Without good code, the exponential cost of change as shown in Figure 2-1 is inevitable. Let’s look at some specific ways that XP helps keep code simple.

Tip

One of the most frustrating misconceptions about XP is that it is a chaotic approach to software development that caters to hackers. The opposite is true. XP works best with meticulous, detail-oriented programmers who take great pride in their code.

Simplicity

Just getting code to work is not good enough, because the first solution you come up with is hardly ever the simplest possible solution. Your methods may be too long, which makes them harder to test. You may have duplicated functionality, or you may have tightly coupled classes. Complex code is hard to understand and hard to modify, because every little change may break something else in the system. As a system grows, complexity can become overwhelming to the point where your only remaining option is to start over.

Tip

When compared to beginners, expert programmers typically implement superior solutions using fewer lines of code. This is a hint that simplicity is harder than complexity, and takes time to master.

Simple code is self-documenting because you pick meaningful names, your methods are concise, and your classes have clearly defined responsibilities. Simple code is hard to achieve, and relies on knowledge in the areas of object-oriented programming, design patterns, ...

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