Sunday, 11 January 2015

Week 3 - The value of conversation and collaboration

Hi everyone...

I hope your first week back at work/school was not to bad. It's always tough this week, so I am gradually easing myself back into the routine starting with only one gym session... I might try 2 next week ;-)

First week back at Makers and it has flown by. We had been developing the front end for our back end battleships programme this week. The front end is the user interface and this is what you would see if you play my battleships game. This was fun, creating web pages and seeing the visualisations that I had created, be them very basic...

So what have we been learning this week?

This week has been about the web. I thought we were going to learn about Sinatra, which is a Ruby web application framework. Once we started delving into Sinatra, it became apparent that we would be also be using Cucumber and Capybara. I had set myself to focus on one technology, only to be ambushed by two more.

This is Makers and this is what they do!  (This is a good thing!)

Cucumber is a software tool that is used for testing other software. It runs automated acceptance tests written in a behaviour-driven development (BDD) style.

Capybara helps you test web applications by simulating how a real user would interact with your app.

Fortunately for me, I had dropped all the stress and anxiety I had over the holidays, just before the course re-started, otherwise I may have been in a bit of a pickle... This took a lot of work, and conversations with my fiancée and an incredibly special lady, Sian Morgan, who could be described as a psychologist, life coach, author, advisor and many more. I describe her as “someone you just have to talk to”.

My fiancée is in the process of launching her business, The Human Leaders, in which she is seeking to inspire a change of working culture to create sustainable business and promote the values she has highlighted on The Human Leaders manifesto.

Please check out the Facebook page

Together, they helped me understand the difference between “knowing” and “believing”. By believing, I let go of the stress and the negative thoughts that I was not learning, and instead, I just cracked on with it… I was able to find my flow-state… On Friday afternoon, I sat down at my desk at 1330hrs, put on some focus music and started the HTML & CSS course on Codeacademy while working on my weekend challenge simultaneously. I got up again at 2000hrs to go home.

I would not advise this, but sometimes, it happens, and you just gotta roll with it.

What a difference 24hrs can make!

Thursday was a bad day for me. I was knocked off my stride because I found myself working alone, working on the Battleships web app using technology that I had never used before. My pairing partner had decided to create his own version, staying up until 5am, and therefore he was in no state to pair program.

The previous two days were brilliant. Our collaboration creating our joint app was going really well and we had made great progress. Our conversations for our app design were extremely useful and are important in all app design.

I found the transition from pair programming, to working on my own with no one to bounce ideas back and forth very difficult, and not something I would recommend to any novice programmers.

The week had highlighted the incredible value and power of conversation and collaboration, and why Makers is so keen to promote Pair Programming.

What is a weekend?

I must confess… I am a Downton Abbey fan. Last night I watched episode 2 from the first series, and there was a line from the Dowager Countess of Grantham in which she asks the dinner table “What is a week-end?” I was in stitches, but I can relate to her question during my time at Makers.

I have created a “to-do” list that includes Ruby refresher, some pre-reading for next week and the weekend challenge - to create a Rock paper Scissors game for the web.

This is a rolling “to-do” list… Seems like I’ll be carrying this list with me for many years to come, I am, however, ready for next week… Something to do with databases… I genuinely can’t wait…

I’ll keep you posted J

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