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Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change
by Kent Beck
Addison Wesley Publishing Company, 1999. Paperback. 224 pages.
ISBN 0201616416 (buy at Amazon.co.uk)
Bought on 17 March 2001 at Amazon.co.uk for £19.91
Kent Beck's eXtreme Programming eXplained provides an intriguing high-level overview of the author's Extreme Programming (XP) software development methodology. Written for IS managers, project leaders or programmers, this guide provides a glimpse at the principles behind XP and its potential advantages for small to mid-sized software development teams.
The book intends to describe what XP is, its guiding principles and how it works. Simply written, the book avoids case studies and concrete details in demonstrating the efficacy of XP. Instead, the author demonstrates how XP relies on simplicity, unit testing, programming in pairs, communal ownership of code and customer input on software for to motivate code improvement during the development process. As the author notes, these principles are not new, but when combined, their synergy fosters a new and arguably better way to build and maintain software. Throughout the book, the author presents and explains these principles, such as "rapid feedback" and "play to win," which form the basis of XP.
Generally speaking, XP changes the way programmers work. The book is good at delineating new roles for programmers and managers who Beck calls "coaches." The most striking characteristic of XP is that programmers work in pairs and that testing is an intrinsic part of the coding process. In a later section, the author even shows where XP works and where it doesn't, and offers suggestions for migrating teams and organizations over to the XP process.
In the afterword, the author recounts the experiences that led him to develop and refine XP, an insightful section that should inspire any organisation to adopt XP. This book serves as a useful introduction to the philosophy and practice of XP for the manager or programmer who want a potentially better way to build software.
Topics covered: Extreme Programming (XP) software methodology, principles, XP team roles, facilities design, testing, refactoring, the XP software lifecycle, adopting XP.
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