Sometimes it seems that we simply go from one extreme to another. Once upon a time developers didn’t bother to write tests. Everything was tested manually. When changes were made the whole thing would need to be manually tested again. Sometimes we used test scripts, other times we just played around trying to break functionally. And then we couldn’t remember what we had done to break it! Managers would roll their eyes in frustration when developers talked about writing unit tests.
Sometimes we forget how much old software is out there. We talk about the software industry still being young and perhaps quite immature, but actually, word processing software started reaching offices in the early 1970s - over 40 years ago. The first version of PowerPoint was released in 1987, public use of the internet began in 1989 and then exploded during the 1990s. Looking back it is striking how much has changed in a short period of time.
On 19th March Gordon and I attended a 2 day agile coding retreat in St Austell, Cornwall. Hosted by Kevlin Henney and Jon Jagger the retreat was organised for developers to discuss, practice and improve their software craftsmanship, communication and creativity. Having personally never attended such an event before I was interested to see if there was an opportunity for me to hone my programming skills to ultimately improve my performance as a developer.