Yesterday I attended the Oslo XP Meetup. More than 20 people gathered at Scuba bar to watch a series of lightning talks - that is, maximum 10 minutes. There were seven sessions of very high quality - I really enjoyed all the presentations. Here is a quick summary of each presentation as I remember them:

Marius opened the evening with a talk about JavaScript. He claimed that it is probably the most important language around. It is used everywhere, and is currently driving the direction of how the web evolves. Maybe he has a point? Although it is hard do love a language which usually looks so ugly, he did point out several tricks to improve the quality of your javascript code.

Thomas talked about use cases and how they tend to grow into a massive pile of hard to maintain information. As an alternative he reported success from a project using Selenium to record scenarios and thereby reducing the need for some of the details in use cases. Thomas has also written a blog article about this subject.

Dagfinn, one of the authors of the PHP in Action book, presented some interesting ideas around Fake services. How to test an application without having to also run all the services that the application depends on. Is it high level mock objects we are talking about?

After the break, I did a 10 minutes presentation of TDD in CPP which is basically just Uncle Bob’s Bowling Game Kata converted to C++ and QUnit.

Trond had some amusing observations about the absurd mathematics behind the so-called risk matrix. Trying to categorize risks a matrix by estimating probability vs consequence gives some strange results if you try to actually do the maths. The basic idea is that you will see that the degree of probability does not really matter much in the end. A high consequence risk will always be red, while a low consequence risk will always be green.

Aslak presented some best practices about building software in agile projects. He called them “Build Patterns”, and it was about the need for having both a fast and slow build process, how to use a flag to focus the project team on a broken build, the need for a common check-in procedure for the developers.

Finally, Kjetil talked about three trends in the agile world. Even the Norwegian government is now asking for agile developers and projects, techniques from different methodologies are mixed together as they now can stand for themselves, and the word Agile is about to loose its meaning. The presentation triggered a few interesting discussions afterwards.