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Zen and the art of Code Lifecycle Maintenance

Robert Pirsig’s 1974 bestselling classic, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was not about Zen - or Motorcycles - although both made an appearance. The subtitle gives you more of an idea: “An Inquiry into Values” - but it was only later that the main concepts in the book, along with the sequel, “Lila” came to form part of “A Metaphysics of Quality”. 

Quality, it turns out, is very hard to define. Software Quality is no different. When someone talks about software quality, what do they really mean? How do we measure it? How can we improve it? How do we know when we have it? We have no shortage of incomplete candidates for these definitions. But over the years I’ve been working to establish what I think are the most important aspects of software quality, how they work together (and sometimes against each other) and how we need all of them (even if they sometimes come as a set). In Pirsig’s semi-autobiographical novel, we are taken on a motorcycle journey from the east to west coasts of the USA. Our journey will take us through the territories of tests, types and static and dynamic static analysis - all with no mention of east or west const.


Phil is the original author of the C++ test framework, Catch2, and composable command line parser, Clara. As Developer Advocate at SonarSource he's involved with SonarQube, SonarLint and SonarCloud, particularly in the context of C++. He's also the organiser of C++ London and C++ on Sea, as well as co-host and producer of the and No Diagnostic Required podcasts. 

More generally he's an advocate for good testing practices, TDD and using the type system and functional techniques to reduce complexity and increase correctness. He's previously worked in Finance and Mobile offers training and coaching in TDD for C++.

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