Extreme Programming for Web Projects

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Overview

Web development teams have been operating in the dark for far too long. The lack of proven development methodologies for the Web environment has resulted in a constant struggle for developers to produce quality Web-based projects on time and within budget. The field is multidisciplinary in character, involving both technology and graphic design: Web-based project development must address the issue of company image, must function on multiple platforms, and must incorporate multiple media into one complete package.

Extreme Programming for Web Projects shows how the Extreme Programming (XP) software development discipline can be adapted and applied to the Web-based project development process. This book demonstrates how the hallmarks of XP--continuous integration, short iterations, paired programming, automated testing, and extensive client involvement--are particularly well suited to the unique demands of Web-based development. Based on years of real-world experience, the book offers proven best practices that enable developers to deal efficiently and effectively with the challenges they face and, ultimately, to produce Web-based projects that meet and/or exceed customer expectations.

Readers will find information on vital topics such as:

  • How the XP team approach enhances communication between Web technology and graphic design professionals
  • How XP automated testing ensures a comprehensive approach to testing page layout, performance, and multiplatform operation
  • How XP's continuous integration and short iterations serve the Web development team's need for flexibility
  • How XP's emphasis on client involvement throughout the project improves oftentimes adversarial client relationships
  • How XP can facilitate the difficult task of estimating the time and cost of project completion
  • How XP functionality "stories" can be adapted for Web-based presentation stories
  • How XML, XSLT, and Cascading Style Sheets can help sites remain flexible and maintainable
  • How to use these guidelines for outstanding Web site design and coding techniques

As the Web industry continues to mature, there is a great need for methodologies that will ensure project quality as well as efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The fast-paced and flexible Extreme Programming methodology offers an excellent starting point for Web developers to improve their working processes and employ best practices.

0201794276B08282002

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Few projects need the benefits of Extreme Programming as desperately as web projects. But web projects are different from the software projects XP was built for. Web page architecture isn’t object-oriented. HTML designs can’t be unit-tested. Extreme Programming for Web Projects shows how to tweak XP for the Web, without compromising any of its simplicity, feedback, communication, and courage -- or its powerful results.

The authors’ tweaks include slightly different roles (for instance, the authors add a strategist, whose job it is to guide customers unfamiliar with XP and writing the “user stories” at the heart of XP development). Unlike conventional XP, Web XP accepts that team members must specialize and pairs them across specialties (interface programmers with graphic designers; customers with testers).

But much of XP survives largely intact. For example, XP calls for extensive day-to-day on-site customer involvement; the authors of this book embrace that idea and show you how to manage it. (Already you can see where the “courage” comes in!) Perhaps best of all, they outline an approach to design and coding that makes heavy use of XML and XSLT to overcome the problems that make conventional web development so troublesome.

If you’ve ever delivered a web project late or busted your client’s budget, or took a huge financial hit to avoid doing so, or watched a promising customer relationship turn hopelessly adversarial, you need this book -- now. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780201794274
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Series: XP Series
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Doug Wallace is the founder and president of Agile.Net, a consulting company that designs and develops Web sites and e-business applications using Extreme Programming and other Agile methodologies. Previously, he was manager of New Media at Passport Online and director of New Business Development and Strategy for Infinet Communications. He writes on e-business for Marketing Magazine and is a frequent guest expert on Canada's Cable Pulse 24 Money Morning television program.

Joel Aufgang is CTO for Agile.Net and an early adaptor and pioneer of XML and C# in the production of complex Web sites and systems. Prior to joining Agile.Net, he worked on many Web and software projects in both Canada and internationally and cofounded Monkeys and Typewriters, an XML and Web development consulting firm.

Isobel Raggett has been involved in Web site design and development since the beginning of the industry, and has been at the forefront of adapting lightweight methodologies to Web site development. She has worked on many Web projects, as general manager of Agile.Net and production manager for Passport Online, as well as developed her own popular fashion site.

0201794276AB08282002

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Read an Excerpt

Estimating the time and the costs of Web projects has been my obsession for more than five years. Starting with wild guesstimates and little success, I was quickly attracted to the analysis practices of the Rational Process. I spent weeks with customers doing Use Cases and Activity Diagrams, trying to define the scope of a project. However, these specifications told me nothing about the work effort involved and led to huge fights with customers over the changes they inevitably wanted.

Three years ago I went to the Software Expo in San Jose and heard Martin Fowler talk about a new set of practices called XP, or Extreme Programming. I was hooked. XP let me acknowledge the futility of estimation. It taught me about the interconnectedness of price, time, scope, and quality and about the importance of letting the customer make continuous trade-offs between the four. XP changed the rules of how I, as a project manager, engaged with customers and overnight it improved my customer relationships and my bottom line.

If estimation was my obsession, then development was my curse. Every project seemed to be going fine and then stalled at 90 percent. It would take us three months to do 90 percent of the work and six months to do the last 10 percent. Once completed, the sites we were building were a nightmare to maintain, and I lost many good programmers who would rather abandon ship than babysit a mass of unintelligible, brittle code. Developing sites in iterations and using unit tests made a lot of sense but didn't translate naturally to Web development. While the pure coding server-side issues melded well with XP, we had client-side issues, graphic design issues, and serious conflicts in trying to use a practice meant for object-oriented systems on inherently non-object-oriented Web page architecture. If Web projects were going to use XP, then XP would have to change and so would the way Web sites were structured and developed.

Over the last two years, we have experimented with practices to get the most out of XP in a Web development environment. We have extended our practices to include graphic designers, interface programmers, copywriters, and the rest of the diverse team that goes into building a Web site. We have developed new design patterns for Web site creation using

We highly recommend that readers of this book first look at Kent Beck's original XP book, Extreme Programming Explored, to see the origins of the XP practices described here and to better see where his and our practices differ.


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Table of Contents

Foreword.

Preface.

Acknowledgments.

I: XP AND WEB PROJECTS.

1. Why the Web Industry Needs XP.

Trying to Be All Things to All Customers.

Projects Not Delivered on Time or on Budget.

Adversarial Customer/Developer Relationships.

Unsuccessful Projects.

The XP Solution.

Web Development versus Software Development.

Teams.

Support for Multiple User Environments.

Testing.

Rapid Deployment.

Customers.

Quality.

XP Web Development.

2. Project Estimating.

The Pitfalls of Estimating.

Equations.

Fixed-Price Quotes.

Past Projects.

The Parameters of Estimating.

Time.

Price.

Scope.

Quality.

An XP Estimating Strategy.

Less Risk on Fixed-Price Quotes.

Better Time Tracking.

3. Customer Trust.

Promises Unkept.

Financial and Estimating Problems.

Failure to Deliver.

Poor Quality and Communications.

Building Trust.

A Customer Bill of Rights.

The Customer Bill of Rights as a Selling Point.

4. The Release Plan.

Customer Goals.

Strategies for Achieving Customer Goals.

Technical Constraints.

Appropriate Web Technologies.

The Release Plan Document.

II. WORKING ON WEB XP PROJECTS.

5. The Project Team.

Typical XP Project Roles.

Web XP Project Roles.

Customer.

Strategist.

Developer.

Interface Programmer.

Graphic Designer.

Server-Side Programmer.

Mentor.

Project Manager.

Tester (Quality Assurance).

Pair Programming.

Interface Programmers and Graphic Designers.

Customers and Testers.

Testers and Graphic Designers.

Customers and Everyone.

Continuous Integration.

Checking in Work.

Keeping on Track.

Transitioning the Team to XP.

6. The Development Environment.

The Work Space.

Seating Arrangements.

Desks and Chairs.

Hardware and Platforms.

A Shared Repository.

Discussion Spaces.

Walls.

Food.

Locating the Customer.

Work Timing.

Avoiding Burnout.

Setting Velocity.

Time Tracking.

Breaking the XP Rules.

7. Working in Iterations.

Stories and Deliverables.

The Iteration Strategy Session.

Writing Stories.

Estimating Stories.

Success Metrics.

Selecting Stories.

Iteration Planning and Estimating.

Discussing Stories.

Assigning Stories.

Revising Estimates.

Determining Content Requirements.

Risk Analysis and Management.

Iteration 1: Preparing for Development.

Iteration 2: Avoiding Risk.

Iteration 3: Spikes.

The Iterations Ahead.

8. The Graphic Design Process.

The Pitfalls of Ignoring the Customer during Design.

Graphic Design Iterations.

The Creative Brief.

The Competitive Analysis.

The Mood Board.

Look and Feel.

The Design Specification.

The Page Layout.

Matching Tasks and Iterations.

III. XML AND WEB XP.

9. XML—A Better Way.

HTML.

HTML Problems.

HTTPUnit.

XML to the Rescue.

Basic XML.

XSLT.

10. XP Web Development Practices.

XML in Web Development.

The First Law of XML Web Development.

Using the Schema Document.

Using the XSLT Style Sheet.

Separating Content and Formatting.

Continuous Integration.

The XML Site Map.

Navigation.

Site Map Structure.

Using the Site Map.

Unit Testing with XML.

Output Methods.

Testing Options.

XSLTUnit.

Deploying the XML Site.

IV. WEB XP BEST PRACTICES.

11. Planning.

High Risk versus High Cost.

The XP Alternative.

Iterations.

Keep to Two-Week Iterations and Independent Stories.

Plan Iteration Strategy.

Plan for Width Before Depth.

Make Customer Input Easy and Controllable.

Keep Track of Tasks.

Keep the Customer Involved in Delivery.

User Stories.

Stories Should Be Written in a Language That the Customer Understands.

Stories Should Provide the Customer with Something Tangible.

Stories Should Take between One and Two Weeks to Complete.

Stories Must Be Testable.

Project Velocity.

Estimating Velocity.

Why Is Velocity Important?

Changing Velocity.

The Team.

Relevant Experience.

Diversity.

Skills Transfer.

The People Skills of the Project Manager.

Communications.

Adapting XP.

12. Design.

Simplicity.

CRC Cards.

Naming Conventions.

Prototypes.

Starting Slowly.

Changes.

Refactoring.

13. Coding.

Coding Best Practices.

Learn to Love an Onsite Customer.

Write Code to Agreed Standards.

Code the Unit Test First.

Use Paired Development.

Leave Optimization Until Last.

Avoid Overtime.

14. Testing.

Unit Testing.

Unit Tests for Web Projects.

Multiple Browsers.

Choosing Browsers.

Managing Assets.

How to Get Started.

References.

Further Reading.

Index. 0201794276T09112002

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Preface

Estimating the time and the costs of Web projects has been my obsession for more than five years. Starting with wild guesstimates and little success, I was quickly attracted to the analysis practices of the Rational Process. I spent weeks with customers doing Use Cases and Activity Diagrams, trying to define the scope of a project. However, these specifications told me nothing about the work effort involved and led to huge fights with customers over the changes they inevitably wanted.

Three years ago I went to the Software Expo in San Jose and heard Martin Fowler talk about a new set of practices called XP, or Extreme Programming. I was hooked. XP let me acknowledge the futility of estimation. It taught me about the interconnectedness of price, time, scope, and quality and about the importance of letting the customer make continuous trade-offs between the four. XP changed the rules of how I, as a project manager, engaged with customers and overnight it improved my customer relationships and my bottom line.

If estimation was my obsession, then development was my curse. Every project seemed to be going fine and then stalled at 90 percent. It would take us three months to do 90 percent of the work and six months to do the last 10 percent. Once completed, the sites we were building were a nightmare to maintain, and I lost many good programmers who would rather abandon ship than babysit a mass of unintelligible, brittle code. Developing sites in iterations and using unit tests made a lot of sense but didn't translate naturally to Web development. While the pure coding server-side issues melded well with XP, we had client-side issues, graphic design issues, and serious conflicts in trying to use a practice meant for object-oriented systems on inherently non-object-oriented Web page architecture. If Web projects were going to use XP, then XP would have to change and so would the way Web sites were structured and developed.

Over the last two years, we have experimented with practices to get the most out of XP in a Web development environment. We have extended our practices to include graphic designers, interface programmers, copywriters, and the rest of the diverse team that goes into building a Web site. We have developed new design patterns for Web site creation using XML, Cascading Style Sheets, and XSLT to impose an architecture that better supports continuous integration and the separation of content, graphical design, and functionality.

We highly recommend that readers of this book first look at Kent Beck's original XP book, Extreme Programming Explored, to see the origins of the XP practices described here and to better see where his and our practices differ.

0201794276P09112002

Read More Show Less

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