October 17, 2007
A development slant take on an old saying...
Instead of "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail." (Abraham Maslow)...
Try "If the only tool you have is a portal server, you will see every web application as a portlet"... and probably add 20% to your project as a result of needless complication to design, implementation and development environments.
IMHO, portal servers (everything implementing JSR-168) are a technology still waiting for the right problem to come along. Unfortunately, too many companies have brought the sales pitch and fork over big $$$ for the IBM and BEA suites and are using it for all web application development, irrespective of how devoid of portal-specific requirements the problem domain is.
September 19, 2007
Tips for Active Pairing
On my current project, the dev team is attempting to adopt pair programming as a standard practice. I've only been moderately successful at this and one of the issues faced is that the non-driving part of the pair (the Navigator) wasn't really sure what they should be doing when not driving. As a result, I saw a lot of "passive pairing" where the Navigator was really just kicking back and watching the Driver code until it was their turn at the keyboard. To emphasize the sort of behaviour I expect from an engaged, active Navigator, I created a BVC on the wall of the dev room. I've reproduced it here in case it proves useful for other people encountering the same questions.