Noel Rappin Writes Here


The Point of it All

In true blog form, a declarative statement: Hear ye, hear ye! Any so-called Agile team that ever tries to translate “points” into actual units of time is presumed dysfunctional until proven otherwise. You’ve done it, I’ve done it, we’ve all done it. Doesn’t make it a good idea. In the spirit of my last post, allow me to over-explain. A typical Agile project handles estimation by splitting the project up into smallish user stories and assigning each one a point value, typically between one and five, though different teams have different standards.

For Example

Having shifted from editing on the book back to actual writing for a few new chapters, I’m back to obsessing about examples. (The book, of course, is Rails Test Prescriptions coming soonish to a bookstore or computer screen near you. Tell your friends.) I feel like I spend way more time obsessing over whether I’m picking good examples than the question actually merits. Or to put that another way, I’m pretty sure there’s a difference between a good example and a bad example, I’m much less sure there’s a difference between a great example and a good example.

RSpec and Mock Design Question

Here’s a little RSpec design question. As I’ve probably mentioned in various spots, I don’t naturally take to the RSpec massively-mocked style of testing. However, I’m currently on a Rails project that is using that style – unit tests don’t touch the database, functional tests don’t touch the models. It seems to be working for them, they certainly seem to have stuck with it over the course of this rather complex application.


Pragmatic wants November to be PragProWriMon, something of the non-fiction alternative to NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. It’s a great idea. The best way to actually write anything is to get in the habit of sitting down and typing. Conversely, the best way to stop writing something is to break the habit, even for a couple of days. There are other places to go for inspiration on sitting down and writing (I’m kind of partial to Merlin Mann’s epic about making the clackity noise).

Writing Tools

I hate Microsoft Word. That’s not the only thing that caused me to want to do this book this way, but it’s in the top five. That’s what we in the writing biz call “a grabber”. Right? Feeling grabbed? The usual complaints about Word aside — it’s bloated, the UI is hopelessly busy, managing complicated layouts is nigh impossible… um, it’s possible I’m not leaving those complaints completely aside. Let me try again.

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