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Programming By Intention

  • When we program by intention
    • We reflect on what we intend to do
    • We write the simple method first
    • We simply say that we're going to create the array of strings by first creating an ArrayList
    • Further that we intend to copy it into an array of Strings
    • We write the short version of the method
    • Then we write the two sub-methods

Key Concepts

Clarity is key in Programming by Intention -- a central idea in XP.

  • It means making your intent clear when you write code.
  • Have you ever had to work on a piece of code and found that it was hard to understand?
  • Maybe the logic was convoluted, the identifiers meaningless, or worse, misleading.
  • You say there was documentation?
  • Was it readable?
  • Did it make sense?
  • Was it up to date with the code?
  • Are you sure?
  • How do you know?


  • We don't have to remember so much. As soon as we know what we intend to do, we write it down.
  • We just refine it until the code is there.
  • The Code Emerges Well Factored? without not needing as much refactoring as by other methods.
  • We get better code in less time!"

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Page last modified on March 12, 2021, at 12:14 AM