Tales from a Trading Desk

Noise from an Investment Bank

July 2005 - Posts

FDD - Is it Agile?

Today on the way to work I skip read Paler and Felsing's Feature Driven Development before I returned it to the office. I was struck by how anti-agile the book is, although I do see that Nebulon promotes Agile FDD, and XP/TDD can be found on the FDD portal.  The book did have some interesting things to say on "Attracting, Recognizing, and Keeping Good People" (page 25).  But the anti-agile viewpoint did begin to appeared from page 42 onwards, where class (code) ownership was presented as a superior alternative to collective ownership - Paired programming, continual integration TDD being associated with collective ownership.  There was also no talked about TDD, only Unit Testing. 

An overview of FDD can be found on Peter Coad site.  In a nutshell, FDD consists of five processes:

  • Develop an overall model
  • Build a feature list
  • Plan by feature
  • Design by feature
  • Build by feature

A comparison of FDD vs XP can be found here,  with fixed price FDD discussed here.  I'd agree with Tesugen that FDD does too much modelling before actual coding begins, from an XP perspective.

So in summary maybe it was the early morning skip reading that clouded my view of FDD, since FDD based on the links I provided above does appear to accept XP, TDD etc.

Posted: Jul 29 2005, 07:45 AM by mdavey | with 1 comment(s)
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Windows Vista build 5112 Installed

I've just spent the last 45 minutes installing Vista on my Dell desktop, and my Compaq nx9010 portable.  I have to agree with Erik with regards the install process.  The two steps are worthless.  Overall I am impressed with the performance for beta 1.  Much much better than the early builds, and the PDC builds from 2003. 

The only install issue I had was with the compaq.  The wireless network was correctly found and installed, but the National Semiconductor DP83815 PCI fast Ethernet adapter wasn't picked up.

I notice Vista comes with a new Windows Boot Manager.  Boot time itself on the compaq is about the same as XP.  I like that fact that you are now told what services the OS is waiting for on bootup.


  • The new Start menu in-place sub-menu
  • Inclusion of parental controls
  • IE 7 - although as Paul says, its not going to set the world on fire. It really is that boring, and initially you do miss how to do tabs
  • UAP


  • The Longhorn sidebar has died
  • Indigo/Avalon sounded cooler than WCF/WPF

I see Graham is having fun with XP games at the London .NET user group

Posted: Jul 28 2005, 09:38 PM by mdavey | with 6 comment(s)
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Apart from installing Windows Vista today (list of feature here), I'm also going to look at io - a prototype-based programming language (notes). As Ade pointed out to me yesterday, the language has no keywords.  Talking of languages, whilst googling io I came across Mike's language page.

Update: Introduction to IO

Plasticbag and nutshell, Scrum makes it into the Financial Times

Looks like there is an article on Scrum in the Financial Times today.

A co-worker at my current client is reading "Tim O'Reilly in a Nutshell" - the book is a collection of his writings, which might or might not flex the mind a little.

I see Joel is attempting to answer the age old question,  "best programmers?".

Plasticbag asks another very good question, "Where are  all the UK start-ups?"

Where is my Windows Vista beta 1 invitation?

I've been a beta tester for various flavours of Microsoft Windows for a number of years, always submitting defect reports, so I was expecting an invitation for Vista.  Over the last few months I've received invitations to MSN Mobile beta, Windows Server 2003 "R2" beta etc, but no Vista invitation.  Given that the beta is out today, I'm not happy.

Update: Looks like I can get it from MSDN as of 3rd August

Update: Well Vista is already available (28/7/05) on MSDN, although the download not surprisingly is slow.  Interesting to see that Windows Server Longhorn was also released.

Posted: Jul 27 2005, 09:09 AM by mdavey | with no comments
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A neighbour started Kodime a few years ago.  Looks like the company is doing rather well now.
Agile 2005 Conference - Agile in Capital Markets
Looks like my Finetix colleagues are going to have fun at the Agile 2005 Open Space. Appears that the conference keynote rather good.
Posted: Jul 26 2005, 08:01 AM by mdavey | with no comments
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Agile 2005 Conference

A few colleagues are blogging from the Agile 2005 conference this week.

Posted: Jul 25 2005, 08:32 AM by mdavey | with no comments
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The team I am currently working on is about to undertake some C++ work.  In true TDD style we're looking at CppUnit as a way to write unit tests. I was probably hoping a bit too much to be able to download the package (1.10.2) from SourceForge, load the solution into Visual Studio .NET 2003 and expect the build to compile and run. Luckily the only issue I really had to resolve was the copying of cppunitd.lib into the lib folder.  Once fixed, the code and samples built (assuming you ignore the various warnings the compiler generates) and I could run HostApp.  Unlike the Java or .NET unit testing frameworks that use reflection to discover the methods to run, CppUnit requires the use of macros:

class BaseTestCase : public CPPUNIT_NS::TestCase
  CPPUNIT_TEST( testUsingCheckIt );
  virtual ~BaseTestCase();
  virtual void setUp();
  virtual void tearDown();

Posted: Jul 22 2005, 08:46 AM by mdavey | with no comments
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I'm skyepe'd
My Plantronics headset arrived yesterday, so I obviously had to try it with Skype.  Yeh, I'm rather late to the Skyepe party, but overall I was impressed with the quality of the calls.  I called a cell phone in New York, a land line in northern England, and a computer in the office in New York.  The Plantronics headset appears to be well made, however my one complaint is that the length of wire from the splitter to the jacks isn't long enough - I really need it twice as long, since I wanted to put one jack into my sound card, and one jack into my speakers (the speakers have a headset socket). 

I also had a quick play with Audacity. The biggest problem I had was pickup up background noise from people in another room.  I suspect for podcasts you almost need a sound proof room, or need to filter out background noise somehow.
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