September 2009 Meeting

The next meeting of LRUG will be on Wednesday the 9th of September, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. As usual our hosts Skills Matter will provide the space, at our new venue The Crypt (it's very close to the other venues). We still need people to register though to make sure the room is set up properly.


Coding Dojo

For this meeting we'll be running a Coding Dojo. You can find out much more detail on these at the Coding Dojo wiki, but the basic idea is as follows:

The Dojo starts with the definition of a problem to be worked on. It'll be something relatively simple, but with enough scope for plenty of interesting choices to be made about the design. We'll have one laptop connected to a projector and two developers will pair on it to iterate towards a solution. Every so often, the "driving" developer (the one at the keyboard) will sit down, the other developer will become the "driver" and another member of the group will step up to complete the pair. Lather, rinse, repeat.

For our Dojo, because the group is so large, we plan to split the attendees on the night into 2 or 3 groups to work on the problem and will time the "every so often" such that everyone should get a turn at the laptop. To help speed up the splitting into groups on the night you should add your name to a team on our spreadsheet. To frame the Dojo-ing we'll introduce the concept of Dojo's at the start of the evening in a bit more detail, as well as describe the problem to be worked on, and then at the end of the meeting, we'll go round each group and let them say how they found the experience and describe their solution. There'll also be one or two people floating around not participating, but making sure that the Dojo is running smoothly and giving advice to groups struggling.

Hopefully everyone gets a turn at the laptop and so everyone will write some code on the night. We hope it'll be a good way of letting inexperienced developers see how more experience developers approach problems and hopefully learn a lot by watching and working with them. Of course, those experienced developers will also get a chance to be pulled up on things and forced to think outside of their, perhaps, fixed mindsets.

There are still some details to be thrashed out, like what the problem will be, and how to split the meeting up into groups to ensure a even spread of ability in each group (see the spreadsheet). We'll discuss all that on the mailing list, so do sign up and follow along.

The idea for this meeting wouldn't have been possible without help from Matt Wynne and Ivan Sanchez, who have both run Dojo's in the past and will be helping out on the mailing list and on the evening itself.

The code produced by each of the 3 groups is available on the LRUG github account:

  1. Skills Matter : London Ruby User Group : Coding Dojo

"Analogue Blog"

Following on from last month there'll be 10-15 minutes at the start of the meeting for the analogue blog. The Analogue Blog is open for anyone to say whatever they think is interesting; you could announce a gem you've written, you could point out a nice plugin or tool that you've been using recently, you can mention a blog post that got you thinking, you could ask for some help on a pet-project, basically anything goes, just keep it short so that everyone else has time to speak!


This meeting is going to be very different to our normal presentation-based meetings, and as such is bound to generate a lot to talk about. No-one likes to talk with a dry throat so, as usual, we'll head on over to The Crown Tavern for some sweet throat lubrication. Although we start the formal meeting proceedings at 6:30, and are open to late-comers, there are plenty of LRUG regulars who can't quite make it. If you're one of those feel free to head on over to pub for about 8pm, which is when we aim to finish up the Dojo.


Our new venue shouldn't have any capacity problems. However, we'd still like for people to register with Skills Matter if they are planning on attending. Registration lets Skills Matter layout the room properly and make sure everyone has a name badge. For this event it'll also help us know how many groups to split up into, so please do register as early as you can to help us out.

There's also an upcoming event for those of us that love online calendaring, but this is not a place to indicate attendance in a meaningful way for Skills Matter.

Also, there's a spreadsheet of teams you should add your name to if you are coming. This'll speed up the splitting into groups when we start the Dojo, and it'll also hopefully mean that each group has an even spread of abilities in it. Go add your name!.

Posted by Murray Steele on Aug 18, 2009