Scott Hanselman

Educating Programmers with Placemats - NDepend Static Analysis Poster

June 02, 2007 Comment on this post [9] Posted in Learning .NET | Musings | Programming | TechEd
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NDepend metrics placemats 1.1.pdf - Adobe ReaderStuart Celarier works here at Corillian (a division of CheckFree) and is not only a Senior Engineer, but a "Placemat Visualization Expert." Just kidding, but handouts are just one of the things that we believe makes an effective presentation.

Presentation Rule: When possible and appropriate, ALWAYS offer a handout. Folks can read faster than you can speak.

Stuart has taken a lot of what makes up our architecture at Corillian and started creating 11x17 Visualizations in the form of what I've been calling Placemats. They're the kind of thing that could teach you all about our design, then you could eat on it. :)

He hangs these mini-posters up all over the company, along with pens, and encourages folks to scribble on them. Someone who knows more than we will walk by, notice a mistake or whatever, and fix it. He's on version 28 of some of these posters - It's poster_OrigMinardCollective Knowledge with an Open Source-style, disseminated in mini-poster form. Anyone can propose a patch, just by scribbling on the poster. Stuart then comes around and collects the changes. So much cleaner than "Reply To All" or even SharePoint. Perhaps not as profound as the most famous visualization: Napoleon's March, but we try.

HOW TO SPREAD THE GOOD WOOD: Get the word about whatever you're interested in getting the word out about. When possible, make posters. Hang them everywhere. Let them soak in. Let folks scribble on them for a few months. Laminate them. Make T-Shirts. Rinse, Repeat.

We're huge fans of NDepend over at Corillian, and working with it more each day. I've done a Podcast on Static Analysis with NDepend and written up a pretty long article about NDepend and what it can bring to software development at your shop. We're just scratching the surface.

In order to get the word out about NDepend (which is a pretty complex thing, especially the underlying Comp.Sci. concepts around software complexity) Stuart created this NDepend Metrics Placemat, suitable for printing at 11x17. 

If you're at TechEd, go see our colleague Patrick Cauldwell along with Stuart "Celery Stew" Celarier at the NDepend Birds of a Feather at TechEd. They'll be passing out high-quality color prints of this poster. The BOF is at lunch, so bring food:

BOF09: Exiting the Zone of Pain: Static Analysis with NDepend, scheduled for Tuesday, June 5, 2007 at 12:00 PM, in Room S331 A.  We'll be discussing how and why to use static analysis tools like NDepend.  I'm especially interested in hearing not just how people use tools like NDepend, but who uses them (in their organization) and how often.

Here's the PDF for your download, use and abuse. Thanks to Patrick Smacchia, creator of NDepend for his help and review:

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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June 02, 2007 20:46
Hey Scott,
I haven't checked out NDepend yet, so I could be missing something, but I think the placemat is interchanging LCOM with LOCM (or vice versa).
June 02, 2007 22:00

It would be awesome if you did a DNRTV with NDepend. I've played with it, but it seems that to get value out of it, you have to climb a steep learning curve. A visual would be very useful.

June 03, 2007 3:07
I've tried out nDepend twice now and gave up after about 30 minutes. It's UI just doesn't make any sense to me, I feel like there's too much going on and it overloads my brain. Maybe the third try will be the one where it clicks.
June 03, 2007 9:11
I work for a company that doesn't even believe in unit testing - what amo do I have for nDepend???
June 03, 2007 14:12
@Jeff - You ned to find a new!
@Wade-o/frizzo - Good idea. I'll look into making a screencast. Do also check out the (no voice) screencasts at Also take a look at Lattix, a similar tool.
June 03, 2007 17:57
I definitely agree that more podcasts/DNRTV about it would be great.
June 04, 2007 2:41
Thanks you for this post and sharing the placemat. I agree with you that NDepend is a great tool, I recommend it to all the .Net developers I know. The placemat is great, thank you!

June 04, 2007 18:41
"how to spread the good wood?" Interesting choice of words . . .

Is that a spelling error, cuz I hate spelling mistakes. ;-P

June 11, 2007 14:39
@TimK, you're right. I fat fingered it: Lack of Cohesion of Methods should be LCOM, not LOCM. Great catch, thanks for calling that to my attention.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.