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Summary of January's AgileNorth Meetup

Update 19/01/06: Phran Ryder informs me that my unnamed pair is in fact Stephen Hutchison.

Monday night was the January meetup of the UK north-west AgileNorth group. It was again kindly hosted by Katie at computing department of the University of Central Lancashire, Preston. There were 11 attendees, and like last time it was run by Murray Tait (with laptop and software setup provided by David Draper).

We continued off from last time with more coding dojos, the first being a simple problem of reversing a sentence. Given "AgileNorth meets once a month" we had to produce "month a once meets AgileNorth" (maybe we could call this "Yoda-speak").

David Draper & Charles Weir took to the laptop to be the coding pair mainly responsible for typing in the code to implement the unit tests and referring to the JavaDoc where necessary. The rest of us were communicating to the 'customer' (Murray) and deciding what the next unit test should be (which was also noted down by Murray). This exercise ran from 7:00 till 8:00 and we managed to satisfy to the customer that we had provided a complete solution including what to do with symbols and numbers, double-spaced words, etc.

We had a quick coffee break and then dived into the next dojo that ran from 8:15 till 9:15. It was to write a 10-pin bowling scoring system and the customer was Isobel Nicholson, with Ant Grinyer making a note of the next unit tests. We did ok on this one, I was pairing at the laptop with ???? (sorry I have no idea of your name! please post it to the AgileNorth mailing list) Stephen Hutchison. At first I was running the unit tests for the previous dojo, and that got quite confusing! :(

We managed to get basic scoring working per frame (a frame was two balls), and managed to get 'spare' scoring working correctly. We were about to start moving onto strikes but ran out of time. We struggled with this one on how to start, it felt like we wanted to write a large object framework of balls, frames, game scores, tries, etc. without ever having a failing test. Even the initial failing test was tough to get started on. Once the first test was written and a very stupid "return 5;" implementation done we started to pick up speed - I really like writing that first immature implementation to get some working code out and a green bar to give me a boost.

From my point of view it was good to get through a couple of different dojos in the evening (admittedly we didn't finish the second one) as it mixed up the pair programmers, and mean that different people were leading different sections of the problem domain. I also enjoyed meeting quite a number of new faces, and coding Java with 10 other people watching my every keystroke on a projection screen is a very strange feeling!

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