Tracer Bullets and Advantages over Prototyping

In new projects your users requirements may be vague. Use of new algorithms, techniques, languages, or libraries unknowns will come. And environment will change over time before you are done.
We’re looking for something that gets us from a requirement to some aspect of the final system quickly, visibly, and repeatably.

Advantages:

  • Users get to see something working early
  • Developers build a structure to work in
  • You have an integration platform
  • You have something to demonstrate
  • You have a better feel for progress

Tracer Bullets Don’t Always Hit Their Target

Tracer bullets show what you’re hitting. This may not always be the target. You then adjust your aim until they’re on target. That’s the point.

Tracer Code versus Prototyping

With a prototype, you’re aiming to explore specific aspects of the final system.
Tracer code is used to know how the application as a whole hangs together.

Prototyping generates disposable code.
Tracer code is lean but complete, and forms part of the skeleton of the final system.

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