Cookbook for Code Sharing

If you’re in an organisation that grows or whose business is changing, you’ll soon want to add another product to the one or ones you’ve already got. Frequently, the new product idea has a lot of similarity to existing ones (because you tend to both come up with ideas in the space where you work, and because you’ll tend to want to play to your existing strengths), so there is a strong desire to reuse technology. First, to get the new product out, at least as a prototype, and later, assuming it is successful, continuing to share code in order to not have to reinvent the wheel.

Code sharing makes a lot of sense, but it is in fact a lot harder than it seems on the face of it. In what is quite possibly a more ambitious project than I will have the tenacity to complete, I’m going to try to set out some ideas on how to do code sharing in the kind of organisation that I have recent experience of: around 30 developers working on around 5 different products. The first one will be a bit theoretical, but the rest should be quite concrete with hands-on tips about how to do things.

Here’s the list of topics I’ve got planned:

  1. Share Code Selectively.
  2. Use Git.
  3. Use Scrum.
  4. Use Maven
  5. Use JUnit.
  6. Use Hudson.
  7. Divide and Conquer.
  8. Manage Dependencies.
  9. Communicate.

Over the next few weeks or months, I’ll try to write something more detailed about each of them. I would be surprised if I don’t have to go back to this post and update it based on the fact that my thinking around this will probably change as I write the posts.

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