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Orcs Goblins and .NET

I enjoy reading and writing. I hope you enjoy at least the former. I have moved my blog to Brendan.Enrick.com.

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Defining Progress in Software Development

One thing I probably say too often when working on code with other people is, "That's a new error. We're making progress." I take a bit of crap from a coworker of mine because of this. He thinks it is quite funny that new error messages are what I consider to be progress. After tracking down a bug creating some exception, it is nice to get a different message. This is of course as long as the newly written code didn't create the new error message. The idea when I say this is that I have removed a roadblock and gotten to the next one.

Perhaps we can make some analogy here about a hurdle runner jumping over a hurdle only to get to another one. Someone might say that it is bad that he is at another hurdle, but I prefer to say that it is great because he has made progress and is closer to reaching the finish line. Maybe he has one hurdle left, maybe twenty. It doesn't matter really as long as he is closer to the goal.

So leave me alone about the new error message thing being progress..... Ed.

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Published Wednesday, October 15, 2008 4:15 PM by Brendan

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# re: Defining Progress in Software Development @ Wednesday, October 15, 2008 5:13 PM

You have a class named FooBarClass.  After trying to compile it, your compiler tells you that there exists an error in a method, Foo.  You delete Foo and your error goes away, but your compiler tells you that there exists an error in a method, Bar.  You delete Bar and this error goes away, but you don't have any methods left in your class.  So, you delete FooBarClass and the project compiles perfectly.  By your definition, that is progress, but it really doesn't work for me.

So leave me alone about the new error message thing being progress..... Brendan. ;)

Ed

# re: Defining Progress in Software Development @ Thursday, October 16, 2008 3:14 PM

Well if there were no errors after deleting the methods that means that nothing was calling either method, and if removing FooBarClass didn't cause any new errors then that means that nothing was using FooBarClass. I establish from this that progress was made because unnecessary code has been removed from the application.

I believe that refactoring out unused code cleans the code base and can be considered progress.

Brendan

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