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Posted by on Jan 30, 2011 in Development | 0 comments

Rewriting software is the single worst mistake you can make – apparently

This is one of a set of notes for talks I attended as part of DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper9, held at Microsoft Reading on 29th January 2011. They are mostly for my own records, but if you find them useful, good. If you have any questions about the content (unless it’s to tell me I’m irresponsibly wrong), I’d suggest contacting either the speakers or someone who knows more about the content than I do! You can also see the twitter hashtag timeline of the day – #ddd9.

Title: Rewriting software is the single worst mistake you can make – apparently

Speaker: Phil Collins

Slides: tba

Use mini-projects to check you’ve got things right. Do two or three. Use base libraries you’ve written for the real thing in mini-projects to see how well they stand up.

  • Make more lower level decisions. Get the base decisions right.
  • Make these decisions early.
  • Strong source control principles.
  • Code Slower. It’s not a rush and re-writing shouldn’t be done fast, you’ll miss important things.
  • Needed more whiteboards
  • Get Help!
    Specifically, Knowledge Transfer Partnership ( Grants,Help,Knowledge,People,etc available for proejcts that are “interesting”. (Rewrites are interesting because they mostly fail.)


  • Get your documentation in order
  • Test with mini-projects
  • Divide into seperate projects and conquer seperately
  • Start small with code, think big
  • Continuous Integration
  • More Whiteboards
  • Go Slowly

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