Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pairing Tour: Day 1

As part of my Apprenticeship, I get the pleasure of going on a pairing tour with four 8th Light Craftsmen. While pairing, the Craftsmen will be working on client projects, so I will gain some exposure to our current clients and an idea of what client work is like. This also gives me a great opportunity to learn from the Craftsmen I will be pairing with. The tour also gives a few Craftsmen some exposure to me, which will allow them to evaluate me fairly at the end of my apprenticeship. Today marked my first day pairing with a Craftsmen, Eric Meyer, whom I met with at a client office. We worked on two interesting stories that kept us busy all day. A few things a took away from the day. 1) Eric really takes ownership of his development environment. He was able to navigate around his system very quickly. He has lots of bash aliases set up. He has even set up a special windowing system. Recently, I made a conscious decision to avoid extravagant customization of my development machine because it makes context switching (changing machines, pairing on someone else's environment, etc...) a lot harder. I want to stay flexible with my set up. However, after watching Eric today, I'm starting to rethink that decision. 2) Continuous Integration servers (done right) can be pretty sweet. The CI server at the client had a lot of cool features, such as testing a branch based on the branch name, testing and then merging branches automatically. However, the downside to the really cool CI server is that it takes 45 minutes to run the test suite (Ouch!).  This makes it hard to get instant feedback. Yet another example of why Rails needs to be contained. 3) The client we were at had a really cool talk over lunch today about reusing client and server code via node.js. It was extremely intriguing. It looks great in theory and I would love to build an application to see how well it works out in reality. Hopefully someday soon.

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