Wednesday, 4 December 2013

London Code Dojo 29

Monday was London Code Dojo 29 and this time we were in Shoreditch in office. Not the most productive dojo but I learnt some philosophical lessons about myself and my code!


The kata for the night was "Rock Scissors Paper" but this time there was a twist in that we had to implement HTTP servers to play the game. The idea was that you would have two "player" servers which responded to requests with a move. On top of this you would have a "referee" server presiding over a game and deciding who won.

The specification was a little bit vague beyond this and we wasted a fair amount of time getting to grips with the problem. Overall I felt the added complexity of dealing with HTTP hindered the learning experience. I paired with Ian and what code we did manage to produce is here:


Understand the scope of the problem

Getting a grasp of the problem at hand is incredibly hard in almost any situation beyond the very simple. Accepting the fact that you are unsure on how to proceed and having an "iteration zero" for setup and learning is invaluable. On the flip side this needs to be balanced with over-designing the problem...

Dealing with new technology REALLY slows you down

I have rarely dealt with writing RESTful services in Java from scratch and approaching the problem was difficult. I reckon we lost a good half an hour getting our heads around whether we had to deal with HTTP errors and what level of testing to start with.


Discover a solution with small steps
When pairing with someone new, even if you are both used to approaching a problem top-down with overarching integration tests, it can be more productive to take some small steps to begin with. This way you can get used to each other's TDD quirks and flesh out any misunderstandings. 

Focus hard on learning

As with most things, it can be very easy to get caught up in what you are doing and lose sight of why you are doing it. In dojo's I am still far too focussed in the problems and not thinking hard enough on good practice. Perhaps next time I will make a plan for how I am going to learn and see if I can strictly stick to it...