Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How do you eat an elephant?


Conductors say the funniest things some times. Shaun uttered the above gem at a rehearsal recently, seemingly apropos nothing. The answer is, of course, one bite at a time. It turned out that he was trying to tell us that we would one day get to grips with the first movement of the C├ęsar Franck symphony in D minor, if we rehearsed it a bit at a time - yes, even the cellos.

The symphony I think I can cope with. (Those bits I can't play properly, I will be able to fake ;-)) Instead, my personal elephant is currently the Navigation changes for Moodle 2.0. Although it is described as Navigation changes, it is much, much more than that. Blocks / themes / filters / rendering / pagelib / navigation changes would be more apt, and that is at least an African elephant, if not a mammuthus sungari.

Fortunately, I have Shaun's advice to guide me, so I sharpened my metaphorical butcher's knife and started trying to dissect it into manageable chunks. Unfortunately I only got part way, because I started thinking about the filters bit of it, which I had previously designed in detail. Since it is more fun to write code than to write documentation, and because I had been reading a book about unit testing and test driven development, and wanted to try some, I got seduced. Still, it is a worthwhile feature and the implementation is going well. You can follow the development in MDL-7336.

Of course, once that is done, I must get back and finish the breakdown of all the Navigation work, especially as some of it needs funding, and so we need some estimates. That summarises what I have been working on in Moodle land recently.

By the way, the book I mentioned (xUnit Test Patterns) is excellent, if you want to read an 800 page book about unit testing. If you want a lighter introduction to the topic, Pragmatic Unit Testing, or the Unit Testing chapter of PHP in Action, are probably better bets.

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