Code And Cocktails

#coderetreat Thoughts

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The code retreat at the 8th Light offices was the first one I had ever
attended. Overall I thought it was great, and again was well organized
like the SCNA conference was.

I came into the code retreat feeling a bit intimidated and left feeling
tired and a bit intimidated. Just like the conference the code retreat
was _tiring_, but still a good tired. And like the conference I was a
bit intimidated by all the passionate, smart people around me. I hope
to be half as good as these people are.

I am very happy that I did get to pair with really smart people in
Clojure, Ruby, Javascript and C#.

* High Points:

** I had never written a line of Javascript before and never even really
read much either. It is very weird, but in a good way. I'm going to
add it to my list in order to at least familiarize myself with it. I
think knowing a bit of it will help me understand other languages
better. My pair (Sean McMillan) did a very good job taking the time to explain the
features and constructs of the language so that we can work
together.

** The God class was an accident, as most gods are probably. Marty and
I started the session saying we'd work on the 'always delegate'
constraint. We quickly decided that Cells needed to delegate to
someone above them... who could that be? God of course. But that
flippant naming changed EVERYTHING. The whole session changed. All
our naming changed. Near the end, we were writing some code and it
wasn't feeling right, Corey pointed out the encapsulation problem in
it. Cells were telling God what to do. Nothing can tell God what to
do! The problem would have been visible without the naming but with
the naming the code FELT wrong.

** During lunch we had a discussion that brought up the idea of the
Cells themselves knowing about their neighbors, mixing this with
genetic programming could lead to extra data on each cell which gets
combined when the dead cell comes back to life rule is applied, as
this could be seen as a reproductive step. Furthermore the extra
data could be somehow relevant to the Game of Life itself, e.g. some
cells might be more resistant to over/under-population than others,
thus surviving longer. I found this a very interesting idea and may
try to find time to play with it more.

* Low Points:

I felt I was a bad pair in a few cases as my thinking got rather cloudy
and unfocused at a few points in the afternoon (especially when pairing
in C# with @MaggieLongshore! sorry!)

* In Retrospect: In retrospect I feel I could have gotten more out of it if I could have
snapped myself out of my mindset that I wanted to "get as far as I
could" earlier in the day. That would have let me play with other
constraints, like no numbers, totally functional etc.