Saturday, 12 January 2008

Inka Layout, take three

The next release if Inka is being delayed, again and again. I decided to rewrite the layout engine. I already wrote about that ( see here, for example).

In short, first I tried Need Driven development: implement it step by step, mocking out the next step before implementing the current. This became a disaster: too much upfront design for me. Without seeing the whole picture, I was never sure that it works, much less that it works the way it should.

My second attempt was much better. At least it began better. I implemented a quick and dirty solution first, then added a few more integration tests and made my solution a bit more complex, then began to refactor. The refactoring stage took forever though. I still haven't finished it in the last release, so I was too shy to publish the code. With only integration tests in place, I wasn't seeing the correct direction of refactoring, so I was doing it blindly, and it took ages to figure out why this particular test broke when I did this simple refactoring.

Now it's the third attempt, and I've already abandoned version 3a. But I don't want to talk about it yet, until I see the results. I should say that the trunk version is the same as used in the last release, since I decided to put the new experimental version in a separate branch.

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