Yet another reason why the software craftsmanship movement sucks

Here’s the description of the talk:

“In this talk Robert C. Martin outlines the practices used by software craftsmen to maintain their professional ethics. He resolves the dilemma of speed vs. quality, and mess vs schedule. He provides a set of principles and simple Dos and Don’ts for teams who want to be counted as professional craftsmen.”

The video sounds like it was recorded next to a cocktail party.  You can always hear what Uncle Bob says, I never had a problem with that.  Just keep that in mind if you listen to it.

Now, as often happens, the ‘blurb’ doesn’t exactly describe what he talked about, but that’s okay.

The issue is with the phrase “professional ethics.”

It’s bad enough when a set of programming practices is shoved down people’s throats as being “the right thing” in a narrow-minded, elitist fashion.  Now, apparently, there are some consultants who have decided that they are ethical experts.  That’s just fantastic (do you smell that?  that’s sarcasm).

I suppose stealing clients money counts as professional ethics (since in most cases that’s what TDD can get you, and don’t get me started on Scrum).  Right.

To use a reference almost no one will get, he reminds me of the philosopher W.V.O Quine.  He was a very influential, very intelligent philosopher who had a lot to say about a lot of things, but one of the topics he discussed for which he was most famous was meaning within the philosophy of language.  He had a very strict behaviorist theory of how people learn language, and that theory informed a lot of what we wrote about.

The problem, of course, is that behaviorism is demonstrably false in just about every field, but especially when it comes to language and meaning.  So, it didn’t matter how intelligent he was or how sophisticated his other work was, it rested on a false premise.

This “not using TDD is unethical” garbage is not just false, but total crap.  It’s harmful, especially since Uncle Bob has some (otherwise largely well-deserved) influence.  It’s sad to think of how many people who will be led astray by this stuff.

posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 9:31 PM Print
No comments posted yet.

Post Comment

Title *
Name *
Comment *  
Please add 7 and 6 and type the answer here: