Episode 28

29: Beyond Legacy Code with David Bernstein and Woody Zuill


March 11th, 2016

59 mins 16 secs

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About this Episode


Ryan Ripley, David Bernstein, Woody Zuill


Ryan Ripley (@ryanripley), David Bernstein (@tobeagile) and Woody Zuill (@WoodyZuill) got together to discuss legacy code, what it means to be a great programmer, test driven development, and how the principles that we adopt drive our practices.

Software development is one of the few activities that requires us to use both halves of our…
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At the center of our discussion was David’s new book: Beyond Legacy Code

This book now has a prominent place on my desk next to Uncle Bob Martin’s classic book  Clean Code. David starts the reader off with the current state of software development and why many of the problems that we observe and experience still persist today.

He calls this “The Legacy Code Crisis” and does a brilliant job of making the case for agile software development practices.

Legacy code is code without confidence. @tobeagile
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The second part of the book covers 9 practices that “extend the life and value of your software”.

The 9 practices are:

  1. Say What, Why, and for Whom Before How
  2. Build in Small Batches
  3. Integrate Continuously
  4. Collaborate
  5. Create Clean Code
  6. Write the Test First
  7. Specify Behaviors with Tests
  8. Implement the Design Last
  9. Refactor Legacy Code

Each practice is explained clearly along with why each practice is important. The “why” is critical. It’s easy to explain the mechanics of TDD, but also showing the value that the practice provides makes the book appropriate for programmers, managers, and executives alike.

My favorite aspect of this book is that David’s explanations and insights are infused with the values and principles of the agile manifesto.

His prose is engaging and feels conversational. It’s a pleasure to read David’s thoughts on these topics as he is clearly knowledgeable and passionate about agility and creating humane systems of work.

I love this book and cannot recommend it highly enough.

As Woody Zuill noted on the podcast: “If I had what it takes to write a book, I would like to have written this book.

And then…we called it a night.

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