Inheriting Code

Anthony Eden (DNSimple)
Location: Room 307 - 308 Level: Novice
Average rating: ***..
(3.37, 46 ratings)

It is inevitable that at some point in your career as a developer you will inherit code developed by others. Trying to understand code developed by someone else can often lead to stress and frustration, but it doesn’t have to. This talk will provide you with tools and techniques to help understand and begin working with code from other developers quickly and easily.

I will cover the steps required to get Rails apps that you have inherited from other developers up and running while remaining sane. I’ll also show ways to ensure you have a running test suite (or how to go about creating one if there are no tests or poor coverage), provide guidance on how to find the hidden beasts within the code, and provide tips to communicate effectively with management around issues in inherited projects.

By the end of this talk you’ll have an arsenal of skills to help deal with the challenges of taking an application that is not yours from setup to deployment without losing your mind in the process.

Photo of Anthony Eden

Anthony Eden


Anthony Eden has over 14 years of software development experience and currently develops Ruby applications for fun and profit. Anthony is the creator of ActiveWarehouse, a data warehouse plugin for Ruby on Rails, JRuby HTTP Reactor, a non-blocking HTTP client built on Apache’s NIO libraries, as well as numerous other open source projects. Anthony currently resides in the South of France and works as a freelance developer while building and operating DNSimple.

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John Petersen
06/11/2010 6:18am EDT

I think sessions like this are tailor made for case studies and specific examples. Granted, you only have 50 minutes – still – you need to work with what you have. To some degree, much of this matter was covered in the talk on how to rate a rails app. Whether you are offering expert advice or inheriting the code base, the same type of steps have to be applied.

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Anthony Eden
06/09/2010 3:57pm EDT

Thanks for the feedback Diego. I take it that you are referring to the lack of code examples. I’ll definitely keep that in mind the next time I work on a related presentation. If you had something else in mind to make it less light, then please do let me know.

Diego Caliri
06/09/2010 11:09am EDT

too light

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Anthony Eden
06/08/2010 10:48am EDT

Thanks for the feedback Michael. I hope that means that you’re already doing all of the things to leave a solid legacy for your future self already. :-)

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Michael Gee
06/08/2010 10:37am EDT

Anthony was very clear and well spoken. Though, since I’m only inheriting my own code, repeatedly, I didn’t leave the talk with actionable advice.

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Anthony Eden
03/15/2010 12:45pm EDT

I don’t think so. That presentation appears to be more about how to improve your own development skills by repeating good techniques that you learn from other developers, whereas my presentation will provide ideas on how to take code that you’ve inherited and deliver new and refactored code without fear.

Rafael Magana
03/15/2010 12:17pm EDT

is this much like the “Don’t Repeat Yourself, Repeat Others” presentation?

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