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Things I learned at CodeRetreat

I went to a local CodeRetreat event hosted at Lean Dog, an agile development studio in downtown Cleveland. I had a great time, and learned a few things. There were a great many more things there to learn than I was able to learn, but that just means I’ll have an equally great time at the next one.

We broke the day up into 5 sessions, working in pairs on a test-driven development exercise. At the end of each exercise we deleted what we coded and paired with someone else and repeated the exercise. It was interesting to see both how different pairs would approach the problem, and how I approached the problem differently with each successive pairing. One of the interesting things I got out of this was how my own thought process and approach to solving the problem improved each time. Even though just 45 minutes had passed, each successive attempt was markedly better than the last. I’m intrigued by this and will be less reluctant to throw out code and start over in the future. I also gained greater appreciation for how important it is to pick good names for your variables, objects, properties, and methods. Good names really make it easier to think clearly about both the problem and your code.

I’ve heard of, and seen examples of, test driven development before, but never done it myself. I got an introduction to NUnit, which I’ll definitely be making greater use of in the future, courtesy of Mark W. Schumann of criticalresults.com. I got to pair with Jeff “cheezy” Morgan, who demonstrated some very keen insights on the essence of TDD, and gave me a little exposure to the Ruby language.

I’m really happy I went, and can’t wait to find more events like this to take part in. Lots of thanks to Corey Haines and everyone at Lean Dog for putting the event together.

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