Friday, June 09, 2006

Python at UC Riverside

I interviewed a candidate for a QA position a couple of days ago; he had a bachelor's degree in Comp. Science from UC Riverside. I was happy to find out that Python is the main language taught there, along with C++. They participated in an XP-style project based on Python and Pygame. What's not to like?

One thing though that I don't really get is that they didn't seem to put emphasis at all on unit testing. They had short iterations, customer feedback, pair programming, but no unit tests. How can you teach XP without stressing the importance of unit tests? To me "XP with no unit tests" is an oxymoron, up there with "making soup in a sieve", or even -- dare I say -- "work on the Cheesecake project to keep the cuddly teddy-bear of an effbot happy" (extra Cheesecake points to anyone who can spot the multiple oxymorons in the last phrase.)

Update 06/11/06

Peter Fröhlich contacted me via email, and told me that, in all probability, the XP class I mentioned is one that he taught when we was at UCR. Peter pointed out that unit tests were mentioned in the class, and students were encouraged to use them, but were not forced to do so. I stand corrected in my assessment above. This shows that fact checking should be a practice more widely used by bloggers! :-)

I'm also happy to report that Peter uses Python in the classes he teaches at JHU too. I just wish more people in academia would follow his example.

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