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Methods & Tools - News, Facts & Comments Edition - November 2007

*** News ***************************************************************

Microsoft Wants to Get Up the Software Development Food Chain

Microsoft recently announced at its fifth annual SOA & Business Process Conference a new vision and roadmap to simplify the effort required to design, build, deploy and manage composite applications [1]. The code name for this project is "Oslo". This new vision is loaded with all the current software development buzzwords like service-oriented architecture (SOA), business-process management (BPM) or model-driven development (MDD / MDA). In its press release Microsoft mentions that it "work to deliver a unified platform integrating services and modeling, moving from a world where models describe the application to a world where models are the application."

This new roadmap is related to the Software Factory [2] vision. Microsoft has a clear strategy to extend the reach for its software development tools division. Currently, Microsoft is mainly considered as a programming tools (languages, databases) vendor. This new vision wants to implement a complete model-to-code environment. It is also a goal to be present the Web services (SOA) space. The current initial trend to applications that mix content from different providers (also know as mash-up) has good chances to grow as companies will provide specialized services (mapping, computation engines, etc.) that will be integrated to the final solution for the end-user. Managing this new open architecture while guaranteeing security is a main challenge that will determine the expansion of Web services.

Even if nothing should be available before the end of next year (Visual Studio 10), this is clearly a menace for revenues of companies that are active in the application modeling area, moreover in the Microsoft eco-system like Borland or Sparx Systems. This initiative could be seen as a move from Microsoft to prevent its customers from buying product in these technologies (SOA, BPM, Workflow) from competitors like IBM, Oracle or BEA Systems. However, I think that this roadmap is mainly a bad news for smaller companies that wanted to provide independent solutions in the .NET world, even if we can remember many announces of ambitious architecture that have never materialized in working products.





* M&T Industry Press Releases Channel

You can view the last product and company press releases from software development tools vendors on

*** Numbers ************************************************************

* Evaluating agile adoption

Our current poll wants to know at what stage is the adoption of agile methods (XP, Scrum, FDD, etc.) in your organisation.

Go to our Poll section to participate and to see intermediate results.

You can also see the results of a similar poll conducted at the beginning of 2005.

*** Read for You *******************************************************

Agile Honesty

Question: You mentioned trends that are driving agile programming: reliability, low cost of change, increased return on investment. Why is the market moving away from the waterfall style to agile development? Or is still just a small portion of developers that are using that method?

Answer: Well, it is a small portion of developers that are doing agile, but I think it's growing quite quickly. I don't have numbers to back that up, but that's the sense that I get if you look at the growth of conferences and so on. I think what's driving agile development right now is that it's possible to be much more honest, transparent and accountable if you have short cycles and you decide that that's what you want to accomplish. There's a huge latent market for software development that's just flat-out honest.

Q: There have been these studies that you're familiar with that talk about the fact that most software projects are failing. Is agile really a remedy for that, or is the jury still out?

A: Is agile a remedy for failing software projects? I think a lot of software projects should fail, and the problem is you just don't know which ones until you're pretty well into it. So is agile a remedy for it? No. I think software projects are still going to fail because there still [will be] the promising ideas that don't work out in practice. One thing that agile development can give you is to make sure those projects fail faster, sooner, cheaper, so you can get on with the next thing.

Q: We've seen the phrase "cowboy coding." What's the difference between agile and cowboy coding?

A:Cowboy coding [is something] which I've enjoyed at times in my life, although not the consequences. ... In cowboy coding, you go off and you do heroic stuff, and you feel good about yourself because you figure there's nobody else in the world that could have possibly pulled out something like this. XP-style development is courageous; it shares that with cowboy coding. You're going to go and do stuff, there's a bias to action in XP. But cowboy coding is completely opaque, and XP is transparent. Cowboy coding is a solitary activity, and XP is a team activity. Not just programmers working together, but customers, managers, testers. So I think there are contrasts. ... The superficial similarity that a lot of people latch onto is that you get going and you do stuff. So you're cutting code very early. You're cutting code not because you're afraid of not cutting code. You're cutting code because it's what generates real feedback.

A: [...]what I see happening with that word agile is it's just getting washed out. Under the glare of exposure, it's fading. It doesn't mean as much now as it did before.

Q: So what does it mean?

A: I saw a quote from Microsoft today about how they wanted to become a more agile organization. At that point, what does it mean to be agile? I mean, my definition is that you accept input from reality, and you respond to it.

Source: Kent Beck, "Extreme Programming inventor talks about agile development", Interview with Paul Krill published in ComputerWorld

This interview is very interesting and has a very "agile" tone for me in the sense that it displays no "silver bullet" attitude, but rather an honest account of what agile can bring to the software development world.

*** Conferences ********************************************************

* Agile Development Practices Conference December 3-6 2007, Orlando, USA

New Agile Development Practices Conference - Coming to Orlando Don't miss the chance to attend the first conference for software professionals investigating or implementing agile development practices, processes, technologies, and leadership principles. Explore the latest trends in agile development approaches.


* EuroSTAR 2007 December 3-6 2007, Stockholm, Sweden

The 15th EuroSTAR conference on Software Testing Analysis & Review takes place this year during 3-6 December in Stockholm, Sweden. EuroSTAR is Europe's premier software testing conference, bringing together many of the world's greatest testing minds. An action packed four days of professional training awaits you at EuroSTAR 2007.


* JavaPolis 2007 December 10-14 2007, Antwerp, Belgium

This December the center of the Java universe will be at MetroPolis in Antwerp (Belgium), as Java developers from around Europe come together for the annual BeJUG Conference, JavaPolis. Don't miss this opportunity to connect with other Java developers, spend a week getting the kind of Java inspiration you won't find anywhere else.


* Software Practice Advancement 2008 March 16-20, Bedfordshire UK

SPA Conferences bring together experts and practitioners across a variety of industries, from around the world, to share the latest thinking in software development. At SPA we don't follow the latest fads, instead we help you identify the real advances that will enable you to build better software. Special discount available until 30th Nov.

*** M&T News ***********************************************************

* New Agile Software Development Portal

This site is a repository for resources concerning agile software development approaches (Extreme Programming (XP), Scrum, Test Driven Development (TDD), Feature Driven Development (FDD), DSDM, Lean Software) and practices (refactoring, pair programming, continuous integration, user stories). The content consists of articles, news, press releases, quotations, books reviews and links to articles, Web sites, tools, blogs, conferences and other elements concerning agile approaches. Feel free to contribute with your own articles, links or press releases.


* Software Development Articles

Some of the last interesting additions to

* Java EE meets Web 2.0

This article explains the disparity between the Java EE and Web 2.0 approaches, explores the benefits of asynchronous designs, and evaluates some solutions for developing asynchronous Web applications with the Java platform.

* Inside the Microsoft AJAX Library

This article introduces the Microsoft AJAX Library and the JavaScript library for ASP.NET AJAX 1.0.

* Voyage in the Agile Memeplex

An interesting reflection on the Agile phenomena trying to identify the multiple aspects of the agile culture and to separate the hype from the important concepts. It recommends to look at the agile practices with a more cooler head and always consider the context where they are applied.

* Learning Styles and Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing is widely done in software testing. However, it is performed in many different ways. This paper discusses our initial work into examining a testerís learning style as an indication of the types of actions she might use while doing exploratory testing.


* Future Issues of Methods & Tools

In future issues, you will find articles on:

  • Requirements for Outsourcing
  • Type of Reviews
  • Metrics for Code Review
  • UML versus Domain Specific Modelling
  • Exploratory Testing
  • OpenUP
  • Requirements Reuse
  • How Quality is Assured by Evolutionary Method
  • Getting and Keeping Control over your Project
  • Risk management, the Evo way
  • Optimizing the Contribution of Testing to Project Success


The content of this publication cannot be reproduced without prior written consent of the publisher
Copyright (C) 2007, Martinig & Associates

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