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Re: PG: Hackers and Painters

On Fri, 2003-05-16 at 13:00, Andrew Pimlott wrote:
> I said after the part of my message you quoted that XP folks don't
> put much stock in design.  I think what you wrote demonstrates what
> I meant.  You see value in fixing bugs, optimizing, adding features,
> etc.  But you don't seem to see value in the sort of conceptual
> unity that is the product of a single (sometimes, but not normally,
> more) mind.  My experience has taught me that this is of immense
> practical value.  (Arguing the relative values of such things in a
> meaningful way is probably impossible without more common ground.)

I did not intend to suggest that design was unimportant.  The
relationship between design and XP practices seem to be problematic. 
I've read a few articles by XP advocates that seem to equivocate about
the role of upfront design.  Perhaps a subject for another thread...

I see value in clear and elegant code.  I work with a group of people
who share the same basic values.

I don't see any reason to suppose that conceptual integrity means that a
single person owns the code.  I would also hope that any crucial design
issues would be captured in the code somehow.  If code is meant to be
read, it ought to be read in context.  I like comments for this purpose.

> But it is unrealistic to expect that everyone on the team will
> understand the thinking behind a piece of code better than a primary
> owner.

If you don't have a primary owner, then you don't expect to have someone
who has special knowledge of the code "in the head."  Instead, you work
hard to capture any necessary knowledge in comments or developers docs
that accompany the code.  I imagine that any sufficiently large or
long-lived software artifact has more than one owner over time.