Saturday was the Global day of Coderetreat, an event occurring every year and which brings people, on their free time, to pair-program with complete strangers. The website tells about 115 participating cities and many many developers worldwide.
I was one of them, and Wow, it was really enjoyable!
What we did
Six rounds of 45 minutes, with another developer, starting fresh each time (the code is thrown every time, that robot voice shouting “DELETE THE CODE…NOW!”).
Each time with different constraints. I should say with different game rules.
For example, we did:
- a TDD approach, classical
- a Fast TDD loop, aka Ping-pong: one writes the test, the other the code, the first refactors, then we start over
- an Extreme TDD loop:
git reset --hardif something is not working in 2 minutes
- Silent pair-programming: no talking at all, no message, communicate just by coding
- Develop with one or many constraints: only keyboard (no mouse/touchpad), no primitives…
What I learnt
I learnt many things, and the first one is that I can write code (share the keyboard) with complete strangers and enjoy it a lot, in a saturday!
Two things I will try:
First, I will experiment with a Commit-per-Pomodoro approach. I sometimes commit more often than 25 minutes, and some times I do not commit for ours. Aiming for an task/subtask every 25 minutes can be a good thing to try.
Second, when pair-programming for too much time, I will propose to renew how we do it. Let’s add a new rule, like not using the mouse. This should be lightweight and fun. The purpose is to get a little boost of motivation when tired and when we “can’t” stop pair-programming.
The global day was really fun. A log of good vibes, and interesting discussions at lunch.
Next year, I will be there!