On November the 15th, coders from around the world gathered in their respective countries to take part in the Global Day of Coderetreat. This is an annual event that follows the Coderetreat format.
The Coderetreat format gives developers focused practice time around the four rules of simple design, away from the pressure of getting things done. Constraints are added to the exercises to help highlight different areas of software development. It is also an excellent day to learn a new language as all exercises are performed in pairs, bringing together a diverse range of software developers.
The programming exercise for each Coderetreat is Conways Game of Life. This is an excellent problem that suits the day well. It has a few simple rules that are easily explained and understood. This allows people to easily come to grips with the problem and spend more time thinking about solutions to the problem rather than the problem itself. We ran six sessions during the day. Each was 45 minutes long.
The first session started off with no constraints. This is a good way for people to get to grips with the problem and get used to pair programming if they are not familiar with it. Towards the end of this session we added the additional constraint that the grid used in the Game of Life must now consist of triangles rather than squares. Adding in extra constraints to this first session is a good way to get people to think about the direction they took to solving the problem and how flexible their approach was to changing requirements.
The remaining sessions had additional constraints imposed at the beginning rather than at the end. These consisted of things like, not using primitives outside of class boundaries, only using immutable types, extreme TDD, among others.
As this was a global day of Coderetreat, we also had some video calls with other locations around the world including Melbourne, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. It was good to see others around the world participating in the same event.
Coderetreat is a really excellent event and I would encourage you to attend or hold a Coderetreat event yourself.
This year the event was hosted by the excellent folks at Xero and food and drinks for the day were provided by us here at Raygun.
If you’d like Raygun to sponsor your tech focused Meetup event, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do for you.