Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Mon, 01 Nov 2004

OOPSLA essays track

The program chair for OOPSLA 2005, Richard P. Gabriel, wants to shake things up. As part of that he's going to institute an Essays track, and I will be program chair for that track. I'm hunting for people to serve on the committee.

The essays don't have to be original research, the usual OOPSLA fare. Instead, they'll be of two types.

  • Richard describes one as "the first draft of your Turing Award lecture". The Turing Award, as the highest honor in computer science, comes with the obligation to produce a speech, usually of the sweeping nature expected from an elder in the field. We're looking for essays of that sort: a survey of breadth and experience, telling the field something about itself, making tacit assumptions and habits explicit.

  • Essays from outsiders who are deeply experienced in a different field, have some knowledge of ours, and can come to us and say, "It's so odd that you do X, because we in field Y do that sort of thing completely differently". These essays should shake us out of our ruts.

To that end, I'd like to get committee members from both inside and outside the field. When they come from inside, I'd like them to have serious knowledge of some outside field. I welcome suggestions.

## Posted at 09:38 in category /oopsla [permalink] [top]

Show, don't tell

As an editor for Better Software magazine, I sometimes give authors the old fiction-writers' advice "show, don't tell". The writer Robert J. Sawyer has written a nice, short essay on it (though I think the first example overdoes it).

I particularly like this essay because it itself shows how the maxim applies to nonfiction writing. Sawyer begins with an introduction to the idea, sketching out the rule. Then he shows a series of negative and positive examples, presenting both and then offering commentary. He shows, then tells.

P.S. As always, I need writers for some department articles. They are:

  • From the Front Line: a story of a (software development) problem you faced, what you did about it, and what you generalize from the experience. This is an especially good slot for novice writers. I enjoy helping such people, and I believe them when they say I do a good job of it.

  • Bug Report: the story of some software failure. The prototypical Bug Report describes the failure and delves down into its root cause.

  • Tool Look: your experience using some tool. This isn't a full-fledged tool evaluation. The idea is to pique the reader's interest in a tool you think useful.

For more, see my magazine FAQ.

The official timing for the next open slot has a first draft due November 15, but I have some slack to slip that.

## Posted at 08:50 in category /misc [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




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