Agile Arguments

Readers share their thoughts on Agile development and changes to Windows Workflow Foundation.

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Agile Arguments
Billy Hollis' The Pragmatic Developer column ("Is Agile Rock or Disco?" January 2009) brings an interesting point to light: Will Agile survive the times?

However, I think the author missed a different, critical point: Agile is a mindset and not a process. Truly Agile development is adaptable, and therefore it can work with non-seasoned developers.

Ted Malone,
Colorado Springs, Colo.

I'd like to further a point Hollis made in his article: It's hard to do any development without good developers. Instead of trying to figure out how to make do with not-so-good developers, we need to figure out how to turn those with potential into good developers, and how to encourage the rest to find a more suitable field in which to work.

The so-called "software crisis" -- a shortage of good developers compared to the amount of software that needs to be written -- is an issue of supply and demand. There's an inherent undersupply of good developers, but there's also an oversupply of demand as many clients just want variations on the same thing. If it's more profitable to be a good developer, those good developers will also create frameworks and tools to help address the demand-side problems as well.

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WF: Change for the Worse?
I suppose out of all the possible changes that might trouble me in Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) 4.0 -- as discussed by Kathleen Dollard in her Ask Kathleen column ("Windows Workflow Changes Direction," January 2009) -- the loss of the code activity is the most upsetting. This makes the possibility of making "lightweight" WF activities that accomplish relatively simple tasks more difficult than necessary. By removing this piece of functionality, Microsoft has effectively shackled the developer to creating activity libraries. While that has its place, this seems like the pendulum swinging way too far in the other direction.

And frankly, I disagree with Dollard that moving completely to declarative creation of workflows is a good thing. Performance improvements are great, but performance improvements that cause the loss of very useful functionality are just wrong.

Marcelo Lopez, Jr.,

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