Herding Code 128: Corey Haines on Global Day of Coderetreat (December 3)

On this episode of Herding Code,Ā Scott K, Jon, and KevinĀ talk to Corey Haines about the Global Day of Coderetreat event being held in 90+ cities on December 3.

  • Scott asks Corey to start by explaining his software journeyman thing, or as Scott calls it “couch surfing in return for coding.” Corey describes how he transitioned from a traditional software developer job to training and speaking.
  • Scott describes his experiences at a Coderetreat in Seattle – a series of 45 minute pair programming exercises with Conway’s Game of Life under a variety of constraints.
  • Corey explains how Coderetreat got started at CodeMash 2009 as a way to intentionally practice writing beautiful code outside of the pressure of day to day work.
  • Corey talks about how deleting your code at the end of every 45 minute session means you can concentrate on learning rather trying to complete anything.
  • Jon asks if people are working towards any kind of graphical output, and Corey says that the focus is really on the code, and learning how to respond to changes and constraints.
  • Twitter question from George Dinwiddie (@gdinwiddie) “What was the most interesting starting point for the Game of Life” Corey talks about people often start with traditional object oriented noun/verb approaches in the morning and move towards an outside-in mentality in the afternoons. He’s seen some interesting work with functional languages such as Clojure and J.
  • Jon asks about the breakdown of programming languages that he sees people using.
  • There’s a discussion of how setup and install can often eat up a lot of time at this kind of event, and Corey talks about how that’s not such a problem here: people show up with working development environments, are working at the testing level, and can just pair with someone who
  • Jon asks what common patterns he sees people learn. Corey talks about some big changes in TDD focus and application design.
  • Scott and Corey talks about the benefit of pairing with a lot of people at differing skill levels.
  • Twitter question from Steven Proctor (@stevenproctor) “How often do you get to pair at these events” – Corey says that the facilitator role means you don’t get to pair, so he’s only been able to a couple times.
  • Kevin asks how new pairing is to attendees, and if there’s any specific focus on learning how to pair better. Corey talks about some specific exercises which focus on paring techniques, including a Mute session (no talking, all communication through code) and Find The Loophole (in which the the coder purposefully tries to write the wrong algorithm while passing all tests).
  • Scott says he
  • Twitter question from from Maggie Longshore (@MaggieLongshore) “How he makes each code session unique so it doesn’t get monotonous. Share some tips for facilitators.”
  • Jon asks about the upcoming Global Day of Coderetreat on December 3. Corey explains what will be going on worldwide, and how he’ll be exploiting a flight over the international date line to attend the full day sessions in both Sydney and Hawaii.
  • Jon asks about some of the guidelines for listed hosting a Coderetreat, including a good (non-pizza) lunch and no cost to attendees. Corey says that in some cases there’s a deposit which is fully refunded provided you show up.
  • Jon asks Corey how people can find out about a Coderetreat near them, and if it’s still possible to set up a Coderetreat if there isn’t one in your area. Corey says yes, and points us to Coderetreat.org for all information about the Global Day of Coderetreat on December 3.
  • Jon asks Corey about his MercuryApp, a micro-journaling system with analytics that he and Sara Gray run.
  • The guys chide Corey for slacking off by setting his Global Day of Coderetreat so low, and he talks about his difficult decision to exclude astronauts this time around.

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Herding Code 128: Corey Haines on Global Day of Coderetreat