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Who's to blame

Posted by daniel on August 5, 2003 at 8:02 AM PDT

If software is a craft, shouldn't pride in your work be a motivating factor? What does it take for you to feel responsible for your work and to do it to your utmost? Who else needs to know which particular part was yours for you to be motivated to produce the best results possible?

In Extreme Programming (XP) there is a notion of no code ownership. The idea is that all production code is written in pairs. The pairs are dynamic so that your partner this afternoon is likely to be different from your partner this morning. If code that you are working on needs to be fixed, then it is your responsibility to fix it.

In his weblog entry @author:Bob the Builder, Meeraj Kunnumpurath writes that in his experience this doesn't work. In his environment they found it necessary to have every developer use the @author tag in the classes they developed. The ten worst and best components along with the authors were displayed on a board. Meeraj said that the motivation to not appear on the Hall of Shame resulted in better code, pride in their work, and responsibility.

He writes:

Code that is not owned encourages poor coding practices that lead to totally un-maintainable code and ultimately utter anarchy. This isn't anything specific to our industry, whatever craft you do, it is extremely important to take pride in your work. It is important to let people know it is your piece of work. It is not about promoting finger pointing or blame culture. It is about having pride in your work. It is also a mark of responsibility. It is about taking ownership and having the motivation to produce better results.

Let him know what you think in the talkback to his blog .Follow-up: as was pointed out in the talk back below, the author isn't allowing talkback on his blog. Feel free to add to the discussion here, instead.

The other featured Weblogs include Will Iverson's entry A Saga of Palm Java Development. Will is wrestling with the decision of whether to use Java or C/C++ for Palm application development. J2ME technology evangelist Bill Day responds to reader feedback in Sun, Apple, and J2ME, Oh My!. At the core of his entry is the discussion over whether Sun or Apple should be responsible for providing the J2ME development environment for Mac OS X.

In the Also Today section, we feature a tip on Producing MIDI Sound using the appropriate Java APIs. It doesn't take much to supplement your application with audio cues using the javax.sound.midi package. The second link is to a spam fighting utility called Mailinator. The idea behind this web application is simple: the best way to eliminate spam is not to give your real address in the first place.

From the Java Today News Page, news editor Steve Mallett, has gathered the following News Headlines .

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