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Radical political views of all sorts seem to shape our lives to an almost unprecedented extent. But what attracts people to the fringes? A new study from researchers at University College London offers some insight into one characteristic of those who hold extreme beliefs—their metacognition, or ability to evaluate whether or not they might be wrong.

“It’s been known for some time now that in studies of people holding radical beliefs, that they tend to… express higher confidence in their beliefs than others,” says Steve Fleming, a UCL cognitive neuroscientist and one of the paper’s authors. “But it was unknown whether this was just a general sense of confidence in everything they believe, or whether it was reflective of a change in metacognition.”

He and his colleagues set out to find the answer by removing partisanship from the equation: they presented study participants with a question that had an objective answer, rather than one rooted in personal values.

They studied two different groups of people—381 in the first sample and 417 in a second batch to try to replicate their results. They gave the first sample a survey that tested how conservative or liberal their political beliefs were. Radicalism exists on both ends of the spectrum; the people at the furthest extremes of left and right are considered “radical.”

After taking the questionnaire, the first group did a simple test: they looked at two different clusters of dots and quickly identified which group had more dots. Then they rated how confident they were in their choice.

People with radical political opinions completed this exercise with pretty much the same accuracy as moderate participants. But “after incorrect decisions, the radicals were less likely to decrease their confidence,” Fleming says.

Unlike political beliefs, which often have no right or wrong answer per se, one group of dots was unquestionably more numerous than the other. But regardless of whether or not there was an objective answer, the radicals were more likely to trust their opinion was correct than to question whether they might have gotten it wrong.

This finding—which the team replicated with tests on the second group of participants—suggests that the metacognition of radicals plays a part in shaping their beliefs. In other words, they actually can’t question their own ideas the same way more moderate individuals can.

It’s not currently known whether radical beliefs help shape metacognition, or metacognition helps shape radical beliefs, Fleming says. That’s something his team is still trying to unravel. But their work already has potential social implications, he says.

There is a body of work out there—small, but growing, Fleming wrote in an email—showing it may be possible to help people gain better metacognitive skills. This might enable individuals to get along better and make shared decisions.

“Widening polarization about political, religious, and scientific issues threatens open societies, leading to entrenchment of beliefs, reduced mutual understanding, and a pervasive negativity surrounding the very idea of consensus,” the researchers write. Understanding the role that metacognition plays in this polarization may help us step back from it.

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Should Animals Have The Same Rights As People?

In December 2013, four captive chimpanzees in the state of New York became the first nonhuman primates in history to sue their human captors in an attempt to gain their freedom. The chimps’ lawyers, members of a recently formed organization known as the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), were asking a judge to grant their clients the basic right to not be imprisoned illegally. The NhRP could soon file similar lawsuits on behalf of other great apes (bonobos, orangutans, and gorillas) and elephants—beings that have all been shown to possess highly developed cognitive capabilities.

The NhRP’s campaign is, not surprisingly, controversial. For many, the very idea of nonhuman personhood is an oxymoron. Others argue that human rights come with societal responsibilities, such as paying taxes and obeying laws, that no nonhuman could ever meet. Still others feel that current animal-protection statutes offer sufficient security without all the legal and philosophical headaches inherent in extending human rights to another species. The judges of the New York lawsuits ultimately dismissed them all on the grounds that the plaintiffs aren’t people. The appeals are ongoing.

Still, the simpler and more profound truth about the NhRP’s arguments is that as recently as 10 years ago, they would have been laughed out of any courtroom, derided for being shamelessly anthropomorphic. But now an ever-expanding body of observational, neurological, and genetic evidence about animal intelligence and behavior is forcing us to reconsider the age-old boundary between ourselves and other creatures.

The question of where we stand in relation to animals has preoccupied humans since the dawn of consciousness. The earliest tales told across cultures, among them the creation myths of the Nuer tribesmen of Sudan and the Old Testament’s story of Adam and Eve, all pivot around the sudden severance of a perceived unity between ourselves and other creatures. And the resulting sense of separation has kept us from viewing animals as anything but lesser versions of ourselves.

11: The number of brain regions found to correspond between humans and macaques (out of 12 total).

Early Western thinkers such as Aristotle—composer of one of the first guides to the animal kingdom—wrote of a “chain of being” in which animals, because they lacked reason, were naturally ranked below us. In medieval times, animals became largely abstracted into allegory. The great apes were depicted as “wild men of the woods,” chasers and rapists of women, and thus the very embodiment of our baser, primal selves. In the ecclesiastical courts of the Middle Ages, meanwhile, animals such as pigs, which roamed freely in villages where they often maimed or killed unattended children, were given full trials and even assigned their own lawyers. The guilty party would then be dressed in human clothing and publicly tortured and put to death in the town square: a symbolic ritual meant to reestablish humankind’s dominance over animals and restore some semblance of order to an otherwise disorderly world.

A more objective view of animals began to emerge during the Renaissance, but it wasn’t until the late 19th century that the first truly scientific study of animals appeared, authored by none other than Charles Darwin. Although he is known almost exclusively for his theory of evolution, Darwin devoted the better part of his life after the publication of The Origin of Species to researching and writing The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Published in 1872 (the same year as the first issue of Popular Science), the book paved the way for a series of scientific works on animal sentience and emotion. In the absence of modern research techniques, they were, to say the least, often highly speculative. In one book, the author accords dogs the awareness of “indefinite morality” and asserts that reason begins with crustacea. But these manuscripts also laid the groundwork for the field of comparative psychology, the study of animal behavior. For nearly a century, comparative psychologists developed an intuitive understanding of the shared biological and behavioral bonds between species. Now science is confirming those suspicions in remarkable ways.

Some years ago, I found myself standing inside a large walk-in cooler filled with different animal brains, all of them the property of Patrick Hof, a neuroscientist at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. There, adrift in glass containers of formaldehyde was a constellation of cerebrums: human, chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, spider monkey, bison, and bat. On shelves in the back, Hof kept seaborne brains: dolphin, porpoise, orca, and beluga. Beneath them, a sperm-whale brain rested at the base of a Rubbermaid garbage pail. A gooey white disk, it was roughly the size of a café table.

Monkey Selfie

Can an animal own the rights to a work of art that it creates?

Hof studies all the brains he can get his hands on in order to better understand the organ’s evolution. Along the way he has discovered numerous common features, not just within the human brain and those of our fellow primates, but also in a number of other mammalian species that the NhRP could soon be representing in court.

Not long ago, the different brains in Hof’s cooler were as disparate and inscrutable on a cellular level to scientists as the stars were to early humans. Now there isn’t a brain they can look at without considering the common neuronal matter shared by all mammals. Advanced neuroimaging and tissue analyses of the brains of cetaceans, for example, have revealed a very different cerebral construction than our own (owing to the vastly different environments in which the two brains evolved), and yet they exhibit similarly complex cortices and limbic systems. Those areas in human brains are the very ones involved in emotion processing, thinking and perceiving, and language. Hof has also found in both cetacean and elephant brains the presence of highly specialized neurons known as spindle cells. Once believed to appear only in humans, spindle cells are possibly associated with self-awareness, empathy, and a sense of compassion­­—the kinds of functions long believed to be exclusively our own.

Within the 106-page memorandum filed by the NhRP on behalf of its first nonhuman plaintiffs, nine leading primatologists filed affidavits testifying to the cognitive capacities of chimps, our nearest biological relative. “These include,” the memo states, “their possession of an autobiographical self, episodic memory, self determination, self-consciousness . . . empathy, a working memory . . . their ability to understand cause and effect and the experiences of others, to imagine, to innovate and to make tools. . . . Like humans, chimpanzees have a concept of their personal past and future . . . they suffer the pain of anticipating never-ending confinement.”

The memo also includes an observational study of a chimpanzee in a Swedish zoo who regularly hides an arsenal of stones within his enclosure—ammunition that he uses to throw at zoo visitors whenever the mood strikes him. Other studies show that chimps consistently outperform humans in computer-symbol recognition tests. Comparative genomic analyses, meanwhile, prove chimps share nearly 99 percent of our DNA. Human and chimp blood is interchangeable, allowing for transfusions in either direction as long as blood types match. And a number of brain studies now indicate, among other common characteristics, an abundance of spindle cells, more than in any other species of great ape besides human.

Shared brain structures and complex behaviors may come as little surprise with regard to other primates. But finding them in creatures so seemingly different from ourselves is revelatory. Elephants and whales, for example, the giants of their respective domains, not only have comparably large and complex brains relative to our own; they also evolved them millions of years before humans came along. Both live in multitiered, largely matriarchal societies in which extended groups of mothers, daughters, aunts, and friendly “allomothers” rear and educate their young. They have their own sophisticated languages and songs and, in the case of certain cetacean species like the sperm whale, separate dialects specific to different clans. Both species use tools and foraging techniques and pass that knowledge to other generations, and both grieve their dead—all characteristics of another phenomenon we have long exclusively reserved for ourselves: culture.

It only follows, then, that these creatures also suffer, as we do, from their culture’s collapse. Elephants that have witnessed the slaughter of their parents by poaching or culling and lost the support of their extended family group exhibit the same erratic and often detached behaviors as African war orphans who’ve suffered the loss of their families and the destruction of their villages. Post-traumatic stress disorder, in other words, cuts across species.

Elephants and whales not only have comparably large and complex brains relative to our own; they also evolved them millions of years before humans came along.

The most recent science, however, has freed us from that perspective. It no longer matters whether we can truly know what a chimp’s day is like, or an elephant’s, or a whale’s. All the available evidence proves that they have rich days of their own and minds enough to lose. Especially for those creatures currently on the NhRP’s prospective clients list, it isn’t their likeness to us but their remarkably parallel complexity that must give us pause and command a new regard—certainly a philosophical one and perhaps a legal one as well.

Few cases better reveal the power of science than those put forth by the NhRP on behalf of nonhumans. New instruments and techniques are overturning our understanding of the universe and our place in it. In a sense, we’re discovering that the search for complex beings like ourselves has been forever pointed in the wrong direction. Rather than seeking answers in a distant star system, we can find them in billions of years’ worth of evolutionary biology. As for the intelligent aliens we’ve so longed to meet—they have been right here beside us all along.

This article was originally published in the January 2024 issue of Popular Science, under the title “Animals Like Us”.

Chimp Diversity

Understanding How Google Views Your Website With Chris Long

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For episode 186 of The Search Engine Journal Show, I had the opportunity to interview Chris Long, Senior SEO Manager at Go Fish Digital.

Long talks about how Google views your website, why it’s important for you to understand the difference between how you and your customers might see your website, and so much more.

Why would Google actually want to view your webpage differently and why should we really care how Google views it?

Chris Long (CL): At Go Fish Digital, we take a look at SEO in two different lenses.

The contextual lens

How is user experience at the site?

How is the site designed?

What’s the content look like?

The architectural lens:

How is Googlebot crawling your site?

How is it interacting with your site?

And the reason is simple… Even as SEOs, we do have confined parameters that we’re analyzing sites by.

Generally, when even I’m analyzing a site, I’m using a Chrome browser, a lot of times desktop view, but we know that’s not the parameters that Google is using to crawl the site necessarily.

Instead of a desktop view, for example, Google is using a mobile view to analyze the vast majority of sites.

And to ensure that we know what content Googlebot is encountering, we have to understand that Google view.

You can think that Google has a complete, open crawl of your site at a really basic example.

But then if you take a look at the chúng tôi which is one of the parameters that Google is confined by, if you’re blocking crawls of certain sections of your website or limiting Google’s ability to actually be able to read your CSS or JavaScript, then you put a variable in place that restricts Google from getting a complete view of your site.

And even though users might be able to go in and see your site completely fine, Google is using a different set of parameters.

And we need to be aware of what those parameters are to really, fully get an idea of how Googlebot is able to crawl and interact with our website’s content.

What are the things that Google might view differently?

CL:  One example is just desktop-first, mobile-first.

A lot of times users or SEOs, you’re analyzing from a desktop device. It’s probably the most efficient way for you to analyze the site.

But we know that Googlebot smartphone is now the primary user agent of a lot of sites. And that’s going to impact its ability on how it actually sees your website’s content.

For instance, we had a client, they were an ecommerce client that had a really, really robust secondary navigation set up on desktop.

That secondary navigation linked to these really important product pages. We thought it made that content more accessible to Google via the desktop navigation.

We thought it may be potentially improved the user experience, and then potentially sent a lot of link equity to those pages as well on desktop views.

But then when we switched to the mobile view, we found that that desktop navigation, that secondary navigation that linked to all of those key products, it didn’t really exist, right?

And everything was fine until Google, about a year or two ago, released their mobile-first update. And then we saw that client’s organic traffic just significantly decrease.

And the reason being is that Googlebot smartphone wasn’t able to see all of that content that was in that secondary navigation. Those links were less accessible and had less equity being pushed to them.

And then the experiment we were able to perform was that one of the only changes we made to the site was adding that secondary navigation functionality back to mobile devices.

We almost immediately saw organic traffic rebound to its original levels, where they were at before Google switched to a mobile-first crawling. That’s just one really, really basic example.

It’s that oftentimes the parameters Google is going to use to crawl your site is going to be from that mobile lens.

Another really good example is geotargeting. We had a client who offers a variety of their products in all 50 states.

What they had this dynamic content they’d insert to users. So if you were in Pennsylvania, you would land on their site and the page would say, “Hey, here are these Pennsylvania products for you.”

And they would do that for all 50 states, right? But the issue became is when Googlebot crawls your sites, what types of content is it getting served?

What state is Google getting served? And we originally hypothesized California, right? Because Google is crawling from California-based IPs.

However, when we actually ran that content through things like Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool, we were seeing that, for some reason, Google was geotargeting the content as Michigan-type of content.

And the issue became is this client offers a large amount of products, but the product selection varies by geography.

So Google is only able to read the Michigan content but the client doesn’t offer a ton of content in the Michigan area, then that’s going to impact a lot of different things.

It’s going to impact content quality.

Google sees two different products when there’s 100 offered.

Google might say, “This is a low-quality page. I really don’t want to show that page in the search engine.”

Well, that’s something that a lot of people might come across if you’re thinking about practical examples.

It’s a little harder with the mobile/desktop because, not for nothing, I think a lot of people now are pretty much designing or developing for mobile.

How do you get around the fact that you might be showing only one location to Google?

CL: There are a few different avenues you could approach it and a lot of it depends on the time and resources that you have and the effectiveness of that implementation.

The simplest approach, would be doing some A/B testing.

Figure out:

Is geotargeting improving our user experience?

Are we gaining more conversions that way?

How much is this actually helping us?

And if you find out that the results aren’t that beneficial really, no clear winner, then potentially just remove the geotargeting. The simplest solution that might require the lowest input.

The second solution would be trying to figure out some sort of implementation where, when Google crawls your site, it’s getting an all-locations page so users can still get their geotargeted content.

However, if your site recognizes that it’s Googlebot’s IP calling your site, that content served is non-geo-specific. Google can then see all of your website’s content…

It’s always good to bring multiple solutions to the table. And a lot of times there’s an ideal solution.

But also, sometimes you need to work with solutions that are practical in terms of the time and resources that are available to you.

Do you feel like there’s good use cases for geotargeting today? Or should people just really avoid it?

CL: I think that’s going to completely depend on the client scenario and what they’re specifically doing.

Probably I would agree with you overall that avoiding it is probably the default scenario, right? Because it does impact user experience, and maybe even negatively.

Maybe users don’t necessarily want to see just a specific location if you’re making them jump through extra hurdles just to see all of their website’s content.

Are there any tools out there that can help determine the differences between different devices or geotargeted locations and how Google views it versus how you’re viewing it?

CL: There are two ways I try to analyze how Google is actually interpreting the sites, our page’s content. And that would be:

Using a Tool Like the Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool

This is going to give you a pretty accurate picture of how Google is actually analyzing a site’s content.

So if you are doing something like geotargeting, using that tool you might be able to see which state is Google actually considering this content to be geotargeted toward?

And it gives you that, gives you on a visual element, as well as you can actually inspect the actual code that the Mobile-Friendly testing tool is providing.

Using Site Searches

If you’re interested to see, “Hey, is Google able to read this content?,” or what content is on the page?

And the proof is in the pudding there, right?

You can even actually specifically see, “Hey, is this content included on the page?”

If it’s not, is it because Google is missing our mobile content?

If it’s geotargeting, what state is Google’s index providing?

This podcast is brought to you by Ahrefs and Opteo.

To listen to this Search Engine Show Podcast with Chris Long:

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Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

Why I Have Such A Good Feeling About E3 2011

Why I Have Such A Good Feeling About E3 2011

Starting on Monday, the biggest gaming event of the year, E3, will kick off in Los Angeles. Each year, the event is home to major announcements, new games, and all kinds of gaming-related news that will have a direct impact on our lives in the coming months and years.[Image credit: Fabio Santana]

This year, as with previous years, rumors continue to crop up about what will and will not be announced at the event. And most gamers that enjoy playing titles on consoles, portables, and PCs, will be watching closely to see if those rumors come true.

Like those folks, I will paying quite a bit of attention to what happens at E3. I’m especially excited to hear more details on Sony’s upcoming portable, the NGP. I also want to hear about Nintendo’s next console. Combine that with more details on Mass Effect 3 and all the games that we don’t even know about yet, and it’s safe to say I’m quite excited about what might come out of the show.

Aside from excitement, I also have a good feeling about this year’s E3. Some years, all the hype surrounding the event is never realized, due to somewhat boring announcements and few titles that actually impress those in attendance. But this year will be different. I simply have no reason to believe that E3 2011 will be anything other than an impressive, exciting event.

And the main reason for that is Nintendo’s upcoming game console. Although details so far are slim, I think the console could catch on in a big way with both casual and hardcore gamers. After all, rumors suggest the device will boast the same motion connectivity casual gamers love, but feature the graphical prowess that hardcore gamers are after. It seems that Nintendo is finally ready to accept that the casual-game market, while profitable for a time, might not be as good for its operation as it originally thought.

But my high hopes for E3 go beyond Nintendo’s upcoming game console.

See, I enjoy playing games from time to time. But I’ve lost all interest in my PSP, and Nintendo’s portables have never really appealed to me. Games on the iPhone, while addicting for a while, tend to fall short over the long-term.

I think the NGP can solve that issue for me. As long as Sony can deliver on its promises and offer the device at a reasonable price, I’ll be happy. It won’t be like carrying the PlayStation 3 around with me, like rumors suggested following the NGP’s announcement, but it will be close. And that alone gets me excited.

So, perhaps I’m hardware-obsessed, but I think the NGP and Nintendo’s next console will steal the show at E3. And with the help of so many compelling games sure to be shown off and announced at the event, I see no possibility of the show being a disappointment.

SlashGear is at E3 2011 this coming week – stand by for all the news from the biggest gaming show on the calendar!

Excel Football Dashboard Extreme Makeover

Here is the ‘Before’ photo:

Every number in the league table above is hard keyed except for the ‘Totals’ rows! EVERY NUMBER.

Not only that, each week he had to manually rearrange the order of the teams as rankings changed, and update the colour coding for the teams that moved up or down.

No wonder it took 2 hours to update every week.

All that manual work is an Excel crime!

When we heard about this we thought it was a prime candidate for an ‘Excel Dashboard Extreme Makeover’.

So I put on my Dr Dashboard mask and nipped and tucked his league tables into shape.

And here is the ‘After’ photo:

Note: The after photo shows the current season’s teams and divisions which are slightly different to the before photo from last season, but I think you get the gist. It’s much better, right?

In complete contrast to the original league table every number is now the result of formulas that automatically recalculate. EVERY NUMBER.

Not only that, the teams are automatically sorted based on their new rankings and the colours and symbols also automatically change with the help of Conditional Formatting.

It now takes Darryl 10 minutes to update. In reality it could take 2 but he uses one finger to type.

It’s Excel heaven! Actually, it’s the way Excel was intended to be used.

Anatomy of the Dashboard

Hopefully you’re not squeamish because I’m going to take you into the gizzards (as my kids say) of this new league table dashboard so you can see how it works.

Note: Even if you’re not interested in football, there are some great lessons here on different tools you can use in Excel and how to tie them together to make a dynamic and informative report.

So back away from the mouse and keep reading 🙂


Download the workbook and follow along. Use it for your own league tables, reverse engineer it and see how it works, or print it off and make a paper plane, whatever tickles your fancy!

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Source Data

Like I said, previously all of the data was hard keyed except for the ‘Totals’ row which was only there for checking that he’d keyed everything in correctly. It was good to see that he’d built in cross checks.

With the new league table he simply enters the fixtures and scores for the week into a source data sheet for each division. The Premier division looks like this:

You might be thinking, phew that’s a lot to key in, but in reality he already has almost all of this data for the fixtures draw. Formulas in the Result Home and Result Away columns return the W, L or D (win, loss, draw), so nothing to enter there.

By the way, the W, L or D feeds the Match History conditional formatting in the league table. More on that in a moment.


The league tables are fed by two sets of workings in columns to the right; one for the current week (columns AG:AR) and one for the previous week (columns AT:BD partially outside of image):

In columns AH to AM and AR I’ve used SUMPRODUCT formulas, but you could also use SUMIFS and COUNTIF(S) to return the results.






A – Goals Against SUMPRODUCT or SUMIFS


GD – Goal Difference is simply column AL – AM, and the PTS (Points) are referencing the values in cells AP2:AR2 located above the workings tables.

I’ve used the RANK function (column AQ) to rank the teams in the League Tables from top to bottom.

Note: because there could be ties I’ve first calculated a ‘Unique PTS’ in column AP which is weighted to avoid a tie on Points (PTS). It does this by also using the Goal Difference (GD) and an alphabetical ranking in the calculation.

The League Tables

The Rank result is then used in a VLOOKUP formula with CHOOSE to return a sorted list of teams in column A of the league table.

Tip: we use CHOOSE to get around the limitation of VLOOKUP not being able to lookup to the left. You could also use INDEX & MATCH.

Fonts and Conditional Formatting

Now, you might have wondered earlier why we need workings for the current week and previous week…well that’s because we need to show which teams have moved up, down or stayed the same from one week to the next.

I’ve done this with some wingding fonts in column B, and Conditional formatting is used to highlight the team’s row red if they moved down, blue if they moved up and black if they stayed the same.

Match History

The match history is also conditional formatting.

An INDEX and MATCH formula looks up the ‘Result’ columns on each division’s source data sheet and brings in the W (win), L (loss) or D (draw) for each week. Conditional formatting colours the cell green (W), red (L) or grey (D).

The challenge with this formula is that because the order of the teams shuffles each week the Match History also needs to shuffle to stay aligned to the team’s new position in the league table.

Zebra Stripes

Did you notice the Conditional Formatting Zebra Stripes on the source data sheets?

The blue and white alternating lines allow you to easily see the records for each week’s fixtures grouped together in banded blue/white lines.

You can learn how to do Zebra strips in varying numbers of rows here.

Group Buttons

I have used Group Buttons to hide the spare rows for each division. This allows the dashboard to be re-used from one season to the next and allow for changes in the number of teams.

I prefer to use Group Buttons to hide/unhide rows and columns as I find it quicker to toggle between them being hidden or unhidden.

More on how to group and outline data here.

Want More?

Do your reports take hours to update like Darryl’s did?

If you’d like to learn how to create dynamic reports like this that take just a few minutes to update, then check out my Excel Dashboard course where I teach these techniques and more.


Thanks to Roberto for helping me make my Match History formula more elegant.

Extreme Programming (Xp) In A Nutshell

Extreme Programming (XP)

Placed in the late 1900s, software development and programming concepts saw a considerable change in the way and approach of the entire schema. The development of computer software was changing as more leaner and pocket-sized methods gained popularity, and developers began applying explicit unitized models. There should be a reduction in wastage with the increase in demand for efficient systems, and thus, the era of methodologies for efficient software development came to rise. Object-Oriented Programming soon replaced procedural programming, and the waterfall model made way for Agile to take over the lead. Japanese quality control frameworks were quickly gaining momentum. Then emerged the concept of something previously used in bits and pieces but now a full-fledged methodology for solving software programming and development woes, Extreme Programming!

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What is Extreme Programming (XP)?

Implementation of extreme programming enhanced software quality and responded more efficiently to the changing business requirements caused by scaling of companies or external factors.

XP is a methodology under the Agile umbrella that encourages frequent version releases in short development cycles. It would inevitably increase productivity significantly, and the regular releases would pave the way for incorporating newer requirements.

Extreme Programming (XP) has “customer satisfaction” at the heart of its framework and “teamwork” as the muscle power. Collaboration is necessary for extreme programming (XP) to succeed as it takes iterative steps toward producing software for clients/customers. At every stage along the way, it focuses on fulfilling the client’s needs rather than delivering the entire belt.

Part of Agile Software Development

Agile software development is the undertaking way of development, but most importantly, most people forget to acknowledge that teams, that is, people, need to be Agile to succeed. The methods and processes implementation only ensures that there is a fixed framework in which teams can be flexible, scalable, and more definitively creative.

Agile provides a great platform to implement changes and feedback in each development cycle that passes by, thanks to the concepts of iteration and sprints, as seen in the case of Scrum.

When it comes to Extreme Programming (XP), it considers all the opportunities that can result in improvements made to the product at the end.

Traditional Development versus Extreme Programming (XP)

While traditional development focuses on the process and considers it when it comes to the completion of the cycle, extreme programming focuses on the requirement.

Extreme Programming (XP) takes the best practices installed in traditional development to the outer limits. The stretching with extreme programming (XP) is excellent for flexible and elastic projects.

5 Values for a Successful Project

Extreme programming (XP) involves the five important ways or values of heading toward a successful software project:

Communication – This software development methodology requires intimate contact between the managers, clients/customers, and developers. To ensure the smooth functioning of the software project, the team implements effective communication and utilizes other project management tools within it to facilitate the project life cycle.

Courage – With dramatic changes in customer requirements, the developers must courageously undertake the challenges that crop up at the last minute or contradicting modifications applied to the project at any time.

Implementation of Feedback occurs through constant unit testing, and the results are evaluated and accordingly implemented within the project development chúng tôi team presents a demo to customers as soon as the development cycle is completed to incorporate feedback, with customers being at close quarters.

Respect – Each development cycle brings with its success to a new milestone, and it only exemplifies the contributions put into processes undertaken.

Simplicity – extreme programming (XP) is most efficient when the design is kept simple and implementation planning is clear and effective. A lot of extreme programming rides on the simple rules it has in place.

Planning-Feedback Cycles

Collaboration in the team and daily connection to the business for optimized product development form the backbone of extreme programming (XP), while user stories form the basis of XP planning. Jot down these user stories on cards. Manipulating these cards can bring to life the project scope and plan.

These XP planning are created with three levels or tiers.

Future months

Next iteration

Current iteration

Plans are always temporary; before the end of the last program, make the recreation of methods. They change as and when there is even a slight change in the project or its schedule. The iteration starts at the occurrence of evolution. You gain feedback from the customer; you revisit your plan. You stand ahead or behind schedule; you review and change your plan.

Through planning, the most appropriate designs for the product to be delivered come into effect. Use Extreme programming (XP), Test-driven development (TDD), and refactoring for effective and efficient designing.

Already having the essence of Agile, refactoring is an essential and crucial design tool involved in the planning process. Refactoring involves making design alternations and adjustments in accord with the altered needs. With refactoring comes the concept of testing in a unitized and acceptable manner.

Each step in the sequence can be iterative and looped as and upon the initiation of the change sequence and a recreation of a new plan for each initiation. Each step also has a particular duration, and there is a schedule for the rest of the feedback for each stage of the product.

Coding to Pair Programming – seconds

Pair Programming to Unit Testing – minutes

Unit Testing to Pair Negotiation – hours

Pair Negotiation to Stand-up Meeting – one day

Stand-up Meeting to Acceptance Testing – days

Acceptance Testing to Iteration Planning – weeks

Iteration Planning to Release planning – months

With the level of iteration sought after, it becomes mandatory for the developers to ensure and assure that code is of optimum quality. Reporting bugs is a strict no-no for developers following the extreme programming methodology for software development.

What is Pair Programming?

As the central resource to the extreme programming methodology is people and not processes, people run the concept of pair programming. Adding productivity and quality to the table, pair programming goes something like this:

“The code sent into production is created by two people who work together on the code to be created while sitting on a single computer.”

The benefits of this concept of pair programming are as follows:

Enhanced software quality – while there is no addition in functionality with two people sitting together or apart, concentration on a single computer adds to the quality of the code rendered.

Cost savings for later stages – with the high-quality code already rendered, the impact it has on later stages is enormous, and there are savings in the cost with each iteration.

Pair programming, as it involves two distinctive individuals working together at equal tables, it becomes essential for them to coordinate at a higher level, irrespective of the level of experience. It’s a social skill that takes time to learn, and it needs two dedicated professionals that want to make a difference in the world of software development.


While we know that the rules put to work in the world of Extreme Programming (XP) are based on the principle and value of Simplicity, having a good view of these rules makes up an excellent methodology within software development techniques.


Within planning, the project manager and his team look at the requirements thoroughly and adhere to the following rules:

Jot down User stories.

Release planning should result in a release schedule

Split the project is split

Releases need to be frequent but small

Iteration planning should start the iteration


Managing the tasks allotted and the duration for each peculiar task is the role of the project manager. It’s essential that the project manager is mindful of the risks and adherence of each stage undertaken by the team members and steers the workforce and resources accordingly to fulfill the concept of extreme programming (XP). Here are some of the rules that need to go through a PM:

The team should receive an open workspace to extend their imagination

The schedule allotted should be realistic and carefully paced

Each working day should commence with a stand-up meeting

Collaboration and teamwork are major components and need the utmost encouragement

Measure Project Velocity during each change incorporation

Move around People.

Steering extreme programming (XP) is quintessential and initiates planning at each opportunity for change.


Designing is the stage that carefully follows planning and determines the handling of requirements at the project’s initial phase. A good design reflects the thought process and creativity and calls for fewer iterations, thus, ensuring high levels of quality at the very start of the project. Being a reflection of the planning stage, here are a few rules to keep in mind during the implementation of designs in extreme programming (XP):

Simplicity is key

Do not introduce functionality at an early stage

Refactoring is essential at every step to provide efficient and effective product designs

Use Spike solutions to reduce the number and intensity of risks in the software project


Once the design is in place, it’s time to get all hands on deck and give the go-ahead for creating and generating code that will enter production for testing and delivery. Coding is the stage that demonstrates the actual functioning of the project methodology and encourages iteration most effectively. Here are quick rules to be mindful of when in the coding stage:

Customer needs to be in the loop at all times during product releases

Code must adhere to coding standards and practices adopted worldwide

Code the unit test as the start

Production code should undergo pair programming for high quality

Integrate principles often and should be done by one pair only at a particular time

Share accountability, and promote intensive teamwork

Pair programming should take place on one computer

Preferable seating of the pair should be side by side


With the code ready and rolling, testing is a seal of the smooth functioning of the code lines. Testing forms as a seal stamp, ensuring software preparation for consumption. Following are the rules put in place for testing within Extreme Programming (XP):

A code should contain unit tests.

A release would require codes to pass these unit tests

Create tests for the detection of bugs

Acceptance tests should have a high frequency, and results should be published.

Users shouldn’t detect any bugs within a code.

When to Use Extreme Programming (XP)?

Extreme Programming was born due to the need to work around a project that carried a lot of changes at many junctures in time. It became necessary for the methodology adopted to be iterative and straightforward at its core. The following are the situations that can ask for the use of extreme programming (XP):

Customers don’t have a good idea about the system’s functionality

Expect Changes are dynamic to change after short intervals of time

Business is steeply rising

Resources allocated are the bare minimum; no huge staff

Need a considerable increase in productivity

Risk needs high levels of mitigation

High provisions for testing

So, here’s extreme programming (XP) for you in brief and simple words. This methodology has reported success in all software development undertakings and has had a great success rate throughout its implementation history. Born out of standard and simplistic requirements, extreme programming (XP) is now slowly gaining recognition as a methodology.

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