International Craftsman Swap Day 1

Today was day one of my Craftsmanswap with eLabs developer Anders Tornqvist, and so far they have treated me with the hospitality and graciousness I expected. Largely they’ve been led by my pair, pictured at right.

This is Pixie, who’s been working in the same room as me all day, and when she hasn’t been barking at me she’s been growling. It’s been a tad…terrifying? Especially when the blood is dripping from her teeth, and she can leap so high!

Actually poor Pixie had a rough time of it last night, and it apparently led to her being out of sorts. She eventually got along with me just fine, and I was able to have a productive day pairing with Ingemar.

I hope I was helpful, as I’m trying to spend most of my time listening. I hate being the guy who shows up on a project and immediately tells people how to do stuff, plus Ingemar had a grumpy boxer/pit-bull mix next to him so I wasn’t gonna ruffle feathers.

The problem with that approach is that you can end up failing to contribute by being too passive, but I think I did okay today. Tomorrow I’ll probably be a little more vocal, and more so the next day. You know, just in time for me to leave.

The highlight of our day, for me anyway, was implementing drag and drop in JQuery. I’ve never done it before—I think I’ve done it in Prototype but it’s been a while—and it’s amazing what a breeze it was.

I’m going to have to find an excuse to use JQuery more, and I’ll probably try and find out some info on ScrewUnit.

Of course on the plane I started reading “Growing Object Oriented Software, Guided by Tests” and a new iPhone book, so I’m nothing if not capable of overbooking myself. Speaking of which GOOS looks like a real winner, if you didn’t already know.

In addition to some JQuery at one point or another, Ingemar touched on a gem or idiom I wasn’t familiar with, often with me hurriedly scribbling notes probably without him realizing. The list of gems from today was:

  • formtastic
  • hitch
  • machinist
  • launchy
  • carrierwave

Hitch was seriously cool, allowing us to push git changes as a pair. Formtastic is an interesting form builder, and although we had some struggles with it today Ingemar assures me it’s awesome. It did have a nice DSL syntax.

We used machinist’s blueprint feature for building factory objects, kinda like factory girl. I admit I like the concise syntax, but I wonder if we should be making it easier to create lots of objects in setup for a test.

Launchy cleanly launched the browser when testing at a given point, and finally I’m excited to use carrierwave for file uploads tomorrow.

I have more notes, particularly regarding the different way that eLabs does standups, but I fear this blog post has become disjointed and a tad dull, so I shall leave you until tomorrow.

Eric Smith, Software Craftsman

Eric Smith has a Master's Degree in Video Game Development from DePaul University.