Agile approaches are nothing new to you, but have you ever heard about Extreme Programming (XP)? Today, among the Agile Software Development methods, the techniques in XP have become common and indispensable. The ultimate aim of XP is to develop software of the highest quality, at the lowest cost, with the fewest errors, with super productivity and maximum return on investment (the word Extreme). That’s an overview of XP in software engineering, but let’s find out more details below!
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What is XP extreme programming in software engineering?
XP extreme programming is a software development model that’s part of what’s collectively known as agile methodologies. Aiming to enable small to mid-sized teams to generate high-quality software and adapt to changing requirements, XP is based on values, principles, and practices.
The fact that XP places a strong emphasis on the technical components of software development distinguishes it from other agile techniques. Extreme programming in software engineering is specific in how engineers operate because doing so enables teams to produce high-quality code at a rate that is sustainable.
In a nutshell, extreme programming is about using excellent practices to their limit. Since pair-programming is good, let’s do it all of the time. Since testing early is good, let’s test before the production code is even written.
How extreme programming works in software engineering?
In contrast to other approaches, XP has conflicting views about how engineering should be done. XP is based on values and principles in addition to practices.
For teams, values provide direction. They serve as a high-level “north star” to direct your choices. Values, however, are too nebulous and vague to provide precise instruction. Saying that you appreciate communication, for instance, can have a variety of effects.
In certain instances, practices go against values. They define the specifics of what to do in a clear, practical manner. Teams can hold one another accountable to the ideals through practices. For example, the use of Informative Workspaces encourages open and straightforward communication.
Principles are industry-specific rules that connect ideals and practices.
Values and Principles of extreme programming XP methodology
As we all know, XP works mainly on its values and principles. Now let’s clarify these two to understand the mechanism of XP model in software engineering.
1. XP values in software engineering:
Communication, simplicity, feedback, courage, and respect are the XP values. In-depth analysis of each one is below.
- Communication: Lack of communication prevents knowledge from moving freely within a team. When an issue arises, it’s common for someone to have the solution already. However, a lack of communication stops people from being informed of the issue or participating in its resolution. As a result, the issue is resolved twice, creating waste.
- Simplicity: You should constantly try to perform the simplest thing that works, according to simplicity. It’s frequently misinterpreted as being the easiest thing ever, omitting the part that says “that works.” It’s also important to keep in mind how contextualized simplicity is. Depending solely on the abilities, knowledge, and experience of each team, what is simple for one team may be complicated for another.
- Feedback: Feedback is frequently “too little, too late” in more conventional, waterfall-style software development approaches.
- XP software engineering, on the other hand, welcomes change and encourages teams to seek out early and continuous feedback. XPers want to be made aware of any course corrections that might be necessary as soon as feasible. Feedback can take many different forms. The feedback from your colleague is essential when you’re pair programming. The same goes for the opinions of other team members regarding an idea, including the client, who should ideally be a team member.
- Tests are yet another invaluable source of input that extends beyond test outcomes. Feedback also includes how difficult or easy exam writing is. Your design is probably too complex if you’re having trouble developing tests.
- Courage: “Effective action in the face of dread” is how Kent Beck describes courage. You have many things to be afraid of and many chances to display bravery as a software engineer.
- Speaking the truth, especially painful truths like honest estimations, requires bravery. Both providing and receiving comments require bravery. Furthermore, it requires guts to abandon a failed solution that attracted significant investments rather than succumbing to the sunk cost fallacy.
- Respect: One of the core tenets of XP software development is that everyone is invested in their work. If there is no care and respect, no amount of technical excellence can save a project.
- Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, and that obviously includes those whose lives are impacted by a software development project. Everyone benefits when you and your team members respect and care about one another, the client, the project, and its potential users.
2. XP principles in software engineering:
Principles offer more detailed instructions than values. They are principles that shed light on the values, making them clearer and less ambiguous. For instance, based on the importance of courage, you can draw the conclusion that it’s best to handle a significant modification to the program all at once. Big changes are risky, as the Baby Steps concept informs us. You should therefore favor little ones instead.
- Humanity: It’s often forgotten that humans write software with humans in mind. However, designing things with consideration for human wants, abilities, and shortcomings results in goods that people desire to use. You may more readily consider the needs of others in a workplace that offers you the chance for success and progress, the sense of belonging, and basic safety.
- Economics: In extreme programming XP in software engineering, teams regularly consider the project’s financial needs and risks in order to take into account the economic reality of custom software development. For instance, rather than focusing on technical issues, they would develop user stories based on their business value.
- Mutual Benefit: When applying XP, you steer clear of solutions that favor one party at the expense of another. For instance, detailed specs might aid in someone else understanding it, but they prevent you from putting it into practice and cause a delay for your users. Automated acceptability testing is a mutually advantageous option. Your colleagues receive exact code requirements, users receive their features sooner, and you receive rapid feedback on your implementation. Additionally, everyone of you receives a safeguard against regressions.
- Self-similarity: If a given solution functions at one level, it might also function at a higher or lower level. For instance, at different levels of XP software development, getting early and frequent feedback is important.
The test-first approach is used by programmers to receive feedback from their work at the developer level. The continuous integration pipeline is used by teams to integrate, build, and test the code several times per day. At the organizational level, the weekly and quarterly cycles enable teams to receive feedback and make necessary improvements to their work.
- Improvement: In accordance with the improvement concept, teams aim for a decent enough initial implementation rather than perfection, and then continuously learn from and improve it based on feedback from actual users.
- Diversity: In viewpoints, abilities, and attitudes is advantageous to both you and your employees. Conflict is common as a result of such diversity, but that’s okay. When everyone upholds the qualities of courage and respect, conflict and disagreement are occasions for stronger ideas to emerge.
- Reflection: Great teams evaluate their performance and consider improvements. There are numerous options for such in XP model in software engineering, not only in its weekly and quarterly cycles, but also in each practice it supports.
Along with rationality, emotions must also be taken into account. Before using logic, your gut can provide you information. Talking to non-technical individuals can also do this because they can pose queries that lead to completely original ideas.
- Flow: Conventional software development approaches consist of discrete phases that take a long time and offer few opportunity for feedback and course correction. Instead, software development in XP takes place in ongoing processes with a steady “flow” of value.
- Opportunity: In custom software development, issues are unavoidable. Nevertheless, there is always room for development. You’ll be far more likely to come up with original, purpose-driven remedies that also serve to prevent them from happening again if you learn to view problems in this way.
- Redundancy: According to the redundancy concept, if a certain issue is serious, you must use numerous strategies to address it. Consider flaws. There is no one method that can stop every defect from getting into production. Therefore, stacking a number of quality measures is the XP in software engineering.
- Failure: When it leads to wisdom, failure isn’t wasted. Action is far more productive than inaction brought on by inability to make a decision among numerous options. Quick understanding of what doesn’t work follows action.
- Quality: People frequently believe that there is a trade-off between quality and quickness. Contrarily, pursuing quality enhancements is what accelerates your progress.
- Baby Steps: Major transitions carry risk. By implementing improvements in incremental phases at all levels, XP extreme programming reduces that risk. Programmers use test-driven development to create code in little chunks. Instead than only once every few weeks or even months, they integrate their work to the mainline multiple times a day. Rather than taking place in lengthy phases, the project itself happens in brief cycles.
- Accepted Responsibility: According to XP, accountability should only ever be assumed. Having the power to decide what you are responsible for should go hand in hand with responsibility. In the opposite way, too. If someone can make a choice without having to deal with the repercussions, that person shouldn’t be making that choice.
XP and other software development models in comparison
What distinguishes XP from other conventional, non-agile methodologies?
As a component of agile, XP extreme programming emphasizes accepting change rather than adhering to set plans. Instead of a large design up front, it’s about incremental design. By skipping lengthy phases, XP varies significantly from classic techniques like waterfall.
In XP, there is no planning phase; planning occurs at the beginning of each development cycle, which typically lasts only one week.
You test your application as soon as you can, before the real code is implemented, as opposed to testing episodes. You work in small chunks and integrate those chunks as frequently as you can rather than building features in isolation over the course of protracted implementation phases and then struggling to merge your contributions to the main line.
How Does XP Differ From Other Agile Methodologies?
Extreme programming XP in software engineering is different from the other agile approaches yet has many of its characteristics by nature. The majority of other development techniques state very little, if anything, about how to carry out the work. On the other hand, XP has strong opinions about it and emphasizes software engineering best practices.
When should we use extreme programing XP?
- The development of Extreme Programming (XP) was prompted by problem areas with shifting needs. It’s possible that your clients are unsure of what the system should accomplish. You can have a system whose operation is anticipated to alter on a regular basis. When this happens, XP will be successful while other approaches fail.
- Project risk issues were also addressed by the creation of XP. The danger is greater if your clients require a new system by a particular date. The XP practices are designed to reduce risk and raise the probability of success.
- A small team of XP programmers might be more productive than a big team on projects with changeable requirements or high risk.
- An expanded development staff is necessary for XP process in software engineering. Alongside the developers in the XP team are managers and customers. They all collaborate closely with one another.
- When XP projects are contrasted with other projects within the same business setting, all projects claim higher programmer productivity. But the XP technique never set out to do this. Delivering the necessary software at the appropriate time has always been the main objective. It might be time to try XP if this is what your project depends on.
Some practices of extreme programming XP
Finally, let’s go through some practices of XP.
Extreme programming Pros and Cons
- The key benefit of extreme programming is that it enables software development agencies to reduce project completion costs and timelines. Because XP extreme programming places a priority on providing finished items on time, time can be saved. Teams that employ extreme programming make significant financial savings by not creating a lot of documentation. Problems are typically resolved through team conversations.
- Another benefit of projects using extreme programming is simplicity. The developers who favor this style produce incredibly straightforward code that is constantly upgradable.
- In XP, the entire process is transparent and responsible. Developers make promises about what they will do and demonstrate progress.
- The positive aspect is also the constant feedback. It’s important to pay attention and adjust as necessary.
- Because of the frequent testing done throughout the development phase, XP helps to speed up the creation of software.
- Extreme programming helps boost staff retention and happiness.
- Extreme Programming, according to some experts, places more emphasis on the code than on design. Given how crucially vital good design is to software programs, this might be an issue. In the software industry, it aids in their sale. Additionally, the defect documentation isn’t always up to par in XP projects. The absence of defect documentation may cause similar defects to appear in the future.
- Another drawback of XP is that it does not quantify code quality assurance. It might result in bugs in the original code.
- If programmers are geographically dispersed, XP is not the greatest choice.
XP process in software engineering
The XP framework typically entails five iterative steps or stages of the development process:
- Planning: The customer meets with the development team during the planning stage to present the requirements in the form of user stories that explain the desired outcome. After that, the team estimates the stories and develops a release plan that is divided into the number of iterations required to complete the desired functionality piece by piece. So-called spikes can be created if one or more of the stories cannot be estimated, indicating the need for greater study.
- Designing: Although it is actually a step in the planning process, designing might be mentioned separately to highlight its significance. It relates to simplicity, one of the key XP characteristics that we’ll cover next.
- Coding: is the stage of the project where the real code is written using XP techniques like pair programming, continuous integration, and collective code ownership (the entire list is described below).
- Testing: The heart of XP in software engineering is testing. It is a routine activity that includes both acceptance tests and unit tests, which are automated tests to see if the built feature functions as intended (customer testing to verify that the overall system is created according to the initial requirements).
- Listening: Continuous feedback and communication are key components of listening. Customers and project managers are involved in describing the intended value and business reasoning.
Traditional project management techniques are no longer effective because software engineering operates in such a fast-paced environment. On the other hand, Agile frameworks are thought to be one of the most efficient ways to handle regularly changing development responsibilities, thus IT experts must find new approaches. One of the several Agile devlopment model used by IT firms is Extreme Programming (XP). But what sets XP in software engineering apart from other methods is the focus it places on technical aspects of software development.
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