Bare-Knuckle Web Development

Can you go faster with less weight?

We have all learned the benefit of reusing application servers like JBoss, ORMs like NHibernate or dependency injection frameworks like Spring that "solve all the plumbing code for you", but how real are these benefits really? Most developers struggle using techniques like test-driven development and refactoring effectively in their day to day project. Many developers spend a majority of their day finding out which magic incantations will make your framework solve your requirement.

Yes, frameworks probably will reduce the size of your code base. But will their reduce the time it takes to develop that code base? And perhaps even more pressingly: How certain are your estimates when you know that a the majority of your work is to find out exactly which few lines of code you need to change by debugging, reading documentation and searching for answers on stack overflow?

When I was first learning math, my dad told me that I didn't to use a calculator before I could do the math without it. In the same tradition, this talk builds on the premise that you shouldn't use a framework that you can't do without: I will create, live, a realistic web application without generators, without frameworks and without bullshit. Instead, I will use test-driven development to ensure steady progress to a solution with no magic.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

The talk is an interactive demonstration of the creation of a very simple web application. During the talk, I will discuss with the audience as I create the application. I will make occasional jumps in the creation to speed up things, but will try and make sure that the audience gets a real insight into the (lack of) effort involved.

Learning Outcome

  • What really goes on inside web applications
  • How to create an application from scratch
  • How to write unit tests for realistic applications
  • The cost and benefits of frameworks
  • How to think when writing an application from scratch

Target Audience

Developers and architects

schedule Submitted 4 years ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Deepak Dhananjaya
    By Deepak Dhananjaya  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Johannes, I always believed in building it from scratch, only when i sensed it would take more time, did I switch to think about available libs or frameworks. I really connect to what you are saying, also would like to share with you what I sense:

    People may have questions on "re-inventing the wheel", when time is a crunch. Would you like to share your responses to such questions?

    Deepak

    • Johannes Brodwall
      By Johannes Brodwall  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Whether reinventing the wheel is a bad thing depends entirely on the quality of your wheel!

      I have spent days trying to figure out why my application server fails to start, what query parameters I need to get Hibernate to perform properly, find out why my annotations aren't injected properly, discovering what JSTL-tags map to a HTML SELECT statement, finding that missing dependency that caused the ClassNotFoundError or googling for that cryptic exception.

      My contention is that after one week, you can have a fairly decent web application up and running using servlets, jdbc and a little elbow grease. Or you can have just barely managed to get all the frameworks to play together. Until the next cryptic error message and endless search on Google.

  • Sachin goel
    By Sachin goel  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Johannes - I am taking it point by point as i believe in reusing. Couple of suggestions:

    1- can you pls update proposal to reflect one/more frameworks which your hands on will suggest we "dont need to use" - this will help review team to relate to whats being covered.

     

    2- what do you think is a reasonable lot of audience which you think can get along with you on this hands on session?

    Thanks

    Sachin

    • Johannes Brodwall
      By Johannes Brodwall  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      1. Good suggestion, I've updated the second paragraph to mention some of the sort of tools I'm aiming at.

      2. The talk is mostly applicable for people who're working on code as their primary job or who are working closely with people who are. At Agile Prague, about 1/2 of the audience at the conference were in a position to follow the details of the talk.

  • Doc Norton
    By Doc Norton  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Johannes:

    I am curious about the logistics.

    • Is this going to be all editor or a mix of slides and editor?
    • Will you be able to make your way through the demo without an internet connection?
      • What about library updates (bundler/maven)?
    • Have you done this exercise before?
      • Can you cover all the material, privide the learning, and code your examples in the 45 minutes provided?
    • Johannes Brodwall
      By Johannes Brodwall  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Doc

      Good questions. It will be a mix of slides and editor, but with focus on the editor. I will have downloaded the Maven dependencies or created the Nuget project before the talk starts, so there's no need for an Internet connection.

      I've done variations of this for years. The examples that has been most like the proposed talk were at the XP Days Ukraine 2012 conference (there's a link to video in the proposal) and Norwegian Developers Conference 2013. I'm doing a 30-minute variation the upcoming Tuesday at Agile Prague.

      Writing a functioning application from scratch while explaining it takes about 75 minutes. I will do jumps with Git and skip certain areas to adapt to different lenghts of time.

  • Tathagat Varma
    By Tathagat Varma  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Johannes - the topic of your proposal is not matching Beyond Agile track. Could you substantiate in case we are missing the point, or look at othr tracks for better fit?

    -TV

    • Johannes Brodwall
      By Johannes Brodwall  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Perhaps Agile-lifecycle fits better? The talk is about how to apply TDD and agile architecture thinking to real project technologies.

  • gnuyoga
    By gnuyoga  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    @johannes

    Even i do believe in the KISS ( Keep it Simple, Stupid Philosophy ) and i personally tend to build things and connect using pipes ( or Queing Services ) :) 

    I did go thru http://www.slideshare.net/jhannes/2012-1116-x-pdaysua-web-spike-kata and find the concpets very relevant as of today. Now i dont feel bad not learning hibernate in detail ;) 

    What made me stop and think is "Phonebook webapp" discussed in presentation is a demo app and might be easy to build using this approach. How about sharing your expertise of building a really really complex web app built using this approach. Any real feedback from architect/developers who worked on this approach will be awesome to know. 

    • Johannes Brodwall
      By Johannes Brodwall  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      The concepts, solutions and approach has been used in various ways in several enterprise applications. Slide 32 and out (quite confusing without the narrative!) go through the three projects where I got to apply the ideas to the fullest. These applications include one web application, one Swing application (details are very different) and one SOA-service application. (Amusingly, two of these applications use Hibernate, but in a much simpler approach than what's common today)


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    Workshop
    Intermediate

    Inspect & adapt is an important agile practice. Inspection helps us to see the reality beyond our filters. Better awareness of reality helps us to more effectively re-plan our work and modify our existing way-of-working.

    There are multiple benefits of this practice, but in this workshop we focus on how it can lead to continuous improvement in productivity.

    Inspect and adapt can be used while carrying out regular work activities across the entire agile life cycle. However our focus will be on the Scrum ceremonies and common artifacts.

    In this workshop, through discussions and exercises, we explore Innovative ways to expand our capability to carry out inspection & adaptation, without adding any extra overhead.

    During the session you also get a few simple yet powerful tips which can be practiced immediately once back from the conference.