On Saturday, we had the pleasure to be among the hundreds of developers participating in a simultaneous event. We attended the event in Frankfurt (http://www.coderetreat-rhein-main.com/) that was organized by the local chapter of Germany’s Softwerkskammer (http://softwerkskammer.de).
So far, we only heard of these events but never attended one ourselves. We were curious. We didn’t have much expectations.
The day started with a small breakfast accompanied by our host’s explanations of what the day would be like.
Finally, we were allowed to code! – And yes, this was a moving experience. My first partner confronted me with what I’d usually call “procedural crap”. But hey, I was there to get out of my usual habits! – And, you know what? – It worked quite well. The code looked quite nice and even showed the intention of what it does. Our solution was even almost close to complete. – At least closest compared to what I experienced with my other pairs. Leaving the comfort zone paid off.
I spent the next rounds with different partners and we experimented by focussing on different aspects of the code: naming, avoiding primitives, revealing intention, naming classes with verbs instead of nouns.
Very impressive was the round where no speaking was allowed. Only coding. One of the pair codes a test. The other has to fix the test with the worst possible implementation without breaking any other test. Great!
Conclusion: This day was worth the 150km ride. Great facilitation, great partners, atmospheric location.
If you’re afraid of spending a day with coding nerds (that’s what I had feared before Saturday), I can tell you: there is no reason to. Everyone is a great and a bad programmer at the same time. Experience often helps, but at the code retreat it is about forgetting what you usually do.
Organize one in your city!