Published Tick-the-Code Material
Happy Are The Software Engineers.. (article)
My first ever published article is called "Happy Are The Software Engineers.." and it appeared in Better Software magazine in December 2006. The article describes briefly how complete concentration can create the feeling of happiness especially if the task at hand is meaningful. I wanted to highlight that working for software quality is meaningful and with Tick-the-Code you can achieve complete concentration.
Simply put, happiness is Tick-the-Code.
Tick-the-Code Inspection: Theory and Practice (paper)
My first ever scientific paper is called "Tick-the-Code Inspection: Theory and Practice" and it appeared in the peer-reviewed publication of ASQ (American Society for Quality) called Software Quality Professional.
As the name says, the paper reveals all details of Tick-the-Code up to the 24 coding rules. At the moment this paper is the most comprehensive written source for information about Tick-the-Code.
Tick-the-Code Inspection: Empirical Evidence (on Effectiveness) (paper)
My second paper is called Tick-the-Code Inspection: Empirical Evidence (on Effectiveness). It was prepared for, and first presented at, Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference 2007. The paper presents measurements taken in Tick-the-Code training courses so far (about 50 sessions with over 300 software professionals). The results are revealing. The main point of the paper is that software engineers could keep their software much simpler and avoid making many of the errors software projects are so notorious for.
In the Appendix of the paper, you'll find all the active rules of Tick-the-Code at the time of writing (summer 2007).
Tick-the-Code - traditionally novel technique in the fight against bugs (article)
Pirkanmaan Tietojenkäsittely-yhdistys (Pitky ry) published my article in their member magazine Pitkyn Piiri 1/2008. It is called "Tick-the-Code - uusvanha tekniikka taistelussa bugeja vastaan" and it is only available in Finnish.
An Example Rule Introduced
There are 24 active rules in Tick-the-Code. Each one of them helps to locate either omissions, redundancies, ambiguities, inconsistencies or assumptions in the source code. Individual rule violations might seem minor, but when you let them accumulate long enough, you'll be in trouble.
Marked rule violations are called ticks. Try the following rule on your production-level code and see how many ticks you can find. Then analyze each tick and see if you can't improve the maintainability of your code.
The rule sample changes weekly, so in a mere 24 weeks of diligent visits, you can have yourself the complete set of Tick-the-Code rules. However, there is an easier way and you'll be rewarded with laminated rule cards to top it all up. Get trained! Contact Qualiteers if you want to know more.
"Call subroutines where feasible."
Modularity is based on routines and methods. There are several valid reasons to create a routine: to hide details, to isolate or reduce complexity, to introduce abstraction, to avoid duplicate code, to simplify complicated boolean expressions, to limit effects of change to name but a few.
Remember that length adds complexity, so short sequences of code make good candidates for routines.
Tick-the-Code Inspection: The Book (book, working title)
Since 2006, there's a book on Tick-the-Code on the works. Currently the book project is on ice, as I study and gather more material and field experiences to include in the book. The book will be the most comprehensive written source on Tick-the-Code.
Excerpt from the book
The excerpt changes weekly. Each excerpt is still a draft version and might change before ending in the book.
The feedback meeting could turn out to be a waste of time. Just the word 'meeting' is sure to produce connotations of inefficiency in the minds of some readers. Long feedback meetings with many participants are clear indicators of an inefficient inspection process. Usually one checker talks, the author listens and the rest of the checkers try to stay awake.
If the feedback meeting turns into a dialogue, there is no saying when it will end. Once the author starts to discuss each and every point with the checkers, time and money really starts to burn. A checker reveals a finding, the author counters with his opinion and other checkers join in with their opinions. Findings based on opinions and taste are generally not a sign of an optimal inspection process precisely because of this time-wasting controversy tendency.
Slow reporting of findings wastes time too. As we've already noticed, you might not even be able to read your own cryptic markings. A totally acceptable and valid finding is lost, if you cannot make the author understand what you mean. Some things are more difficult to explain than others, and implicit or common sense guidelines sometimes lead to almost inexplicable findings that unnecessarily waste everyone's time.
Tick-the-Code inspections have no meetings at all. Chapter 2. "Symptoms" lists possible problems with more complex inspection processes. Simplicity rules.