Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Software Craftsmanship

It has been a while since I sat down to write something, but that is because I have been caught up in learning. In March I presented at ETE in Philadelphia, and during my stay there I met a programming hippy Corey Haines. Corey was just like all of us, writing code for his day job, and like some of us enjoyed it. In December he lost his job, and with some money in the bank and a lot of free time decided to invest in himself. He began what became to be an adventure in pair programming, He now spends his days travelling the country, pair programming with anyone that will give him a place to stay and some code to work on. His journey is inspiring.

Now, this isn't a story about Corey, it is about software. In particular it is about good software. Corey, like many of us cares about the quality of his code. In his case he cares so much that he decided to pair with perfect strangers in order to increase his knowledge. While many of us can't afford to travel the country like Corey, or just find staying with strangers frightening, we find other ways to increase our knowledge.

So this is a story about writing good software. It is about craftsmanship. In December a manifesto was drafted. It was drafted by professional programmers that felt the Agile Manifesto didn't go far enough. They stated that working software was good, but well crafted software was better. That responding to change, while a virtue, isn't as good as steadily adding value. Out of this congress came the Software Craftsmanship Manifesto. It is a declaration of professionalism and quality, and I have put my name to it, along with thousands of others.

So what? So some coders put together a web page, called it a manifesto, and a bunch of other coders bought into it. I think it is more than that. I think our craft is changing, for the better. The best I have seen it described is in a presentation by Uncle Bob Martin. I recommend that you take a look, it is well worth the 60 minutes spend watching the video.


No comments: