Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Test Driven and Refactoring class in Chicago

Completed a two day Test Driven and Refactoring class in Chicago today. The class went really well and I think I really was able to get a few developers to come down off the TDD fence and really buy into it. That is always satisfying. The class was again offered by DevJam.

I did have a few participants that actually bowed out after the first day of training. One in particular was very abstinent about not writing tests and really does not believe unit testing and TDD in particular are useful in software development. This person was very much in favor of big design up front. This person's views really threw me for a loop. The group that I gave the training to has significant issues with quality, so the view of testing not worth the effort seemed very ironic in this situation. Needless to say, I was not able to get this person to realize how unit testing and TDD help you in the design process. Oh well, you can't win them all over.

I heard a lot of good feedback around the mock objects example that I demonstrated. In this example, I demonstrated not only behavior verification with the mock objects, but also was able to demonstrate capturing indirect outputs on the mock objects and then verifying the state of these indirect outputs. I used mockito 1.8 for the demo. All in all a great class.

Second Groovy and Grails training in the bag

Completed my second Groovy and Grails training for DevJam this past Saturday. This training session was much smoother than the first training. Still too much material and exercises to be taught in just one day. Received a lot of good feedback from the participants and hopefully this feedback helps solidify the training. I'm always amazed at how much stuff I could focus in on for the Groovy training. Really need to beef up the meata-object protocol stuff in the Groovy training.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Using the new Groovy-Eclipse V2 plugin

Started using the new Groovy-Eclipse V2 plugin. I'm continuing to fine tune some Groovy training that I've come up with in collaboration with DevJam. So far so good. Seems to work pretty well. I'm not expecting much at the moment, but the alpha seems pretty stable. We need an open source Groovy IDE for the training, and I would love to use Eclipse and this plugin to fulfill that role. I think I still prefer IntelliJ for Groovy stuff (it seems more mature), but it costs some money and most people are using Eclipse these days.

Monday, October 05, 2009

First Groovy and Grails training is in the bag

I made it through my first test run of Groovy and Grails training for DevJam this past Saturday. Had a couple of snafus occur. Nothing major and easily fixed. Did learn a couple of things though:

Don't put developers on an operating system that they don't know for training

The DevJam training has Mac minis which boot either Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Windows Vista (via Bootcamp). I had the systems booted to Mac OS X for the training. Unfortunately all of the developers that came to this training were unfamiliar with Mac OS X, but willing to try it. Bad move on my part. I ended up answering far too many questions on the operating system and which tools were were going to use. Oracle SQL Developer also gave me problems in the Mac OS X environment when trying to update the tool with the MySQL drivers through its software updating system.

If you think you have enough code examples, you don't!

I had about 10-12 Groovy code examples to demonstrate various features of the language. Far too few for the questions that cropped up. Luckily, it was Groovy and writing new code examples or changing existing code examples was pretty straightforward. Kudos to Groovy for being very easy to explore and play with. The participants thought very highly of the interactiveness of the coding during the session.

Don't try to do both Groovy and Grails in a single day.

I knew going in that doing both was going to be very difficult. I just didn't realize how difficult it would be. Again, due to operating system and tool snafus, I didn't finish up the Groovy stuff until well into the afternoon. Not much time for Grails. I was looking forward to the exercise in Grails and we didn't get very far with it.

Automate the packaging of the student materials in electronic format.

We decided to put all the training handouts, examples, and anything else helpful for the students on 4 GB flash drives and give the flash drives to the students to keep. That's good. What's not good is missing some things on the flash drive and updating flash drives during the course. Next time I'll use an Ant build script to build a distribution and clean out any Subversion metadata from the student materials.

The Groovy Eclipse plugin seems to be making headway.

One of the participants in the group, Nick Spilman, had his laptop along and was using Eclipse Galileo and the new Groovy Eclipse plugin during the Groovy portion of the training. He thought it worked well with Groovy. I used IntelliJ 9.0 EAP (Maia) and that also works well. Looks like SpringSource (or shall I say VMware now) is getting serious on the tooling for Groovy and Grails.

Need to spend more time on understanding Groovy's meta-programming facilities.

It's one thing to use Groovy and use its meta-programming faclities (aka MOP) successfully in your own work. It is a far different thing to try and teach others about Groovy's meta-programming facilities. Teaching a concept, especially a concept as complicated as meta-programming, is extremely difficult.

Performing test runs of presentations and trainings is essential.

I'm very pleased that I was afforded the opportunity to be able to offer a couple of test runs of this training to some developers before offering it to the public. Like anything else, it takes practice and feedback to get good at something. I have another test run of this training later this month and I'm sure it will be much better than it was the first time out.