As the title says, I attended my first (and definitely not last) Coderetreat. And we also made history, because it was the first one in Croatia. It was organized by Željko Filipin and Aljoša Mohorović, and we also had a great facilitator, Péter Zsoldos, who really made us think differently in solving an easy problem, at least it was easy on first sight. Also, his insights into our code and the ways we should think outside of the box, even if it doesn’t make sense in a given situation, really helped. Big thanks to Tentamen for sponsoring the event, and Aljoša for being a great caterer who transformed the sponsorship into enough food and drinks for everyone.
You are probably wondering what a Coderetreat is now. It is an activity that serves to teach us (the programmers) better ways of thinking, while doing TDD, and pair programming all the time. There were about 15 of us, and that was an ideal number. Not to crowded, and everyone had another pair for each session. Working with people you regularly don’t work with, switching between development environments, and sometimes languages can be really hard, if you don’t open yourself to accepting every possible way of stepping out of your comfort zone, so you can learn a thing or two. If you have never been to an event like this, I won’t spoil the fun, but you can always go and read about the Structure of a code retreat on their official website.
The problem to solve is always the same, it’s Conway’s Game of life. A simple mathematical problem, that only has four rules you need to obey. By using a simple enough, but not a trivial problem, one can focus on sharpening the skills as a programmer, which we tend to skip in our day to day lives. We “know” how to do our work, and rarely step out of the comfort zone, and do a thing differently, not because it should be done that way, but for fun, trying different things, and learning new tricks.
I learned a lot there, and had fun pair programming with people I never had a chance to work with, which is great by itself. All of us are quirky in our own way, and adapting to that takes some time, but it makes you a better person, not just a better programmer. I’m looking forward to attending the next event.