Xbots - Robocode for Extreme Programmers


In 2002 Paul Simmons and I put together the “Robocode workshop” (we changed the name later to Xbots) for XPDay 2.

It gives programmers a chance to try out their teamworking and continuous integration skills in a competition. The competition makes it a good environment for learning how to stay on process under pressure.

How good are your automated tests?

A patchy test suite is a common occurrence on projects. The application is often only as good as its weakest area (though it may be weak in an area that is seldom used). The weakest area is likely to be worst tested.

Begin at the beginning

For years I’ve been talking about “working from beginning to end”. It’s a common pattern in systems I see that developers begin to code functionality from somewhere other than the entry point to a system (e.g. the GUI). This approach increases integration difficulties. If the programmers keep saying things are done when they don’t actually work, this may be what’s going wrong.

Morning stand-up meetings

The morning stand-up meeting is one of the well-known features of XP (though oddly not a “practice”). A few years ago I worked for Connextra, one of the XP pioneers in the UK, and over the years I’ve come to realize there was an important difference about our stand-ups - something I haven’t seen anywhere else.

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