Like regular life, a programmer’s life is constant learning. And sometimes you’d wish you had known things earlier.
A few quotes from the article:
Test constantly while coding. Personally, I think the single most important contribution of the Agile movement to programming is communicating the value of developer testing (generally, unit testing). I am not an advocate of TDD and feel that many of the critiques directed at it are valid. But I am a passionate believer in unit testing. Of all the practices here, this is the one that would have served me best in my salad days. The ability to check in code knowing that it’s unlikely to contain silly errors and overlooked conditions allows me to have a much clearer idea of what progress I’ve made. I don’t have to worry nearly as much that there is still an extended debugging cycle of unknown length ahead of me. I now compile with the expectation the code will work the first time, rather than entertaining the fond hope that it might.
Fully automate the pipeline. This seems like unremarkable advice. But it got me to continuous delivery before that concept had a name. I automated build, test, deploy. I also automated updates to the website, to the Javadocs, to just about everything I could possibly update as part of the regular build. While this took a lot of time to write out (using Ant), the payoffs are continual. By having automated everything (well, except for some manual tests) I can build with high confidence in the generated software, even if a given feature is incomplete. I don’t worry at all about fragility. In the future, I expect to automate things even more: I want to write more scripts that simulate all the possible installation options and make sure they all work correctly or provide accurate error messages. Right now, I’m pretty sure they do, but I don’t know for certain because of the absence of this step from the automated pipeline.