Practice in the Dojo

Dojo La Montagne

Meeting Topics

One of the things that makes this user group unique is that we have a hands-on portion where you have a chance to try things out and not worry about having to ship code. That’s not to say that our coding exercises don’t have a goal; the goal is to practice development techniques so that they feel more natural, and can become part of your “day job” routine as well. For example, maybe your work environment doesn’t really seem to understand why you would want to spend time writing tests along side features being implemented (or bugs being fixed), but you’d like to get more comfortable with using TDD so that you feel more confident trying it out at work.

Keeping with the martial arts analogy from our code katas, there is something called a coding dojo, where everyone participates and learns from the experience. More or less, this is the style we’ve been using when we work through our katas in this group. Other’s have set forth more formal rules, and we’ve deviated a little to fit our group format and time allowances.

For this month’s meeting, the goal is to practice. Something I really strive to develop in this group is openness — we’re all experts at some things and novices at others. I want this to be an environment where you can begin to feel comfortable practicing with others. We’ve all stumbled, and we’ve all been new at something. The openness of this environment means you can feel free to make mistakes as well as build confidence as your skills improve. The mix of experience each of us brings allows us to mentor and be mentored. All of these things — practice, learning from failure, feeling pride in well-crafted code, teaching, learning — I believe are at the heart of software craftsmanship.

On a related note, we follow something more akin to the coding dojo during the Global Day of Code Retreat (which usually occurs in December). Here we have the concept of working for a fixed amount of time and then throwing away everything and starting over with a new programming pair and coding session goal. Good stuff!

There’s no set kata we’re planning to cover; we’ll let the group decide when we meet. Here are some of the more common code katas:


The meeting will be on Thursday, August 9th at 6pm (Click here to RSVP). As usual we will have food and refreshments. If you have special requests for food (e.g., vegetarian-friendly), please leave us a comment below.

Claris Networks is no longer able to host the group, so this month’s meeting is being held at the TEKsystems office on Cedar Bluff. The address is 408 N. Cedar Bluff Rd. Suite 325 on the third floor of the first office building behind Papa John’s on Cedar Bluff.


[whoscoming event_id=”12″]


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