DRY up your Cucumber Steps

Update (13th Jume 2012): This is an old, old post that still gets a lot of hits. I don’t recommend this practice anymore. Instead, I recommend composing Ruby methods that carry out these actions. For more details, please see The Cucumber Book. A while back, I asked the Cucumber team for the ability to call […]

“Total Programming” and the XP Team

Pair programming brings a great many benefits to a team that’s truly mastered it. Those of us who are lucky enough to have experienced working on a really effective XP team know about that almost magical thing that starts to happen when the barriers between different members of the team break down, egos and code […]

Your Private Methods are None of my Business

A common sloppy mistake I see programmers making is to forget to declare a method as private when it’s only being used inside a class. This seems to happen more in Ruby, or maybe it just bothers me more because we don’t have interfaces. Rails ActiveRecord validation callbacks are a classic example where people often […]

Logging HTTP Error Messages in Ruby and Rails

Rails comes with some default logging stuff built in, but if you’re used to the sophistication of the log4x frameworks, it’s pretty basic. One of my requirements is to be able to log exceptions that occur during an ActionController HTTP request, and have the configurable logging mechanism decide what to do with them – most […]

Is the Value Fetish Killing Agile Teams?

Last weekend I was at CITCON Europe, a great opportunity to meet some of the leading minds in the agile software movement. One intriguing new term I heard a few times was “value fetish”. Let me try to explain what I think it means, and discuss the implications for agile teams.

Bring Git Joy to Windows

Since moving off Windows as my development platform, git has probably been the greatest treat. A great, lightweight, self-contained and very well thought-out piece of software, it’s one of those rare tools that once you’ve used it for a while, you can’t image how you worked without it. A lot of great ruby tools are […]

Scrabbling up the Learning Curve

A few months ago I was at the peak of my powers. I was leading a team of ten C# developers building a huge project on Microsoft’s .NET platform. I had been working on the Windows platform for years, and there was rarely a question from the team I couldn’t answer quickly and confidently, drawing […]

Story Driven Development – Just Another *DD?

Bryan Helmkamp, who maintains the handy little library webrat, did a talk recently at GoRuCo 2008 which explains his experiences using RSpec plain-text stories to build ruby-on-rails applications in a manner he calls ‘Story Driven Development’: Before code is written, the team produces executable scenarios for a user story.