Write Your Code and Tests in a Browser!
A while ago I ( JonJagger ) attended several coding dojos. I enjoyed them but noticed it often took a long time to install the necessary compilers onto some of the laptops. It occurred to me that it should be possible to run a code-dojo entirely within a browser - write your code and tests inside a simple web-based editor, submit everything to the server whenever you like, the server would run your tests for you and return the outcome - green if they all passed, red if some failed, yellow if there was a syntax error. As I thought about it I realized that this format also offered several extra possibilities. For example, if someone had to leave early and take their laptop with them, another laptop could instantly substitute for it. So I’ve written a server! It’s called CyberDojo .
- CyberDojo server is at http://www.cyber-dojo.com
- CyberDojo is open-sourced at http://github.com/JonJagger/cyberdojo if you want to build your own server
- CyberDojo extra blurb at http://jonjagger.blogspot.com/p/cyberdojo.html
- CyberDojo video screencast of me doing the Roman Numerals kata in Ruby is at http://vimeo.com/15104374
I’ve added two extra features to CyberDojo to help promote collaboration amongst the whole group , rather than solely at the laptops (see DeLucasLaw )
- A traffic-light displaying the red/green status of all participants.
- Every 5 minutes the server asks the players to rotate.
Software Development Metaphor
A good way to really emphasize collaborative development is to do a CyberDojo session as a metaphor for software development. Viz
- the kata on each computer represents a feature for a product, with the product being the sum of all those features
- if everyone’s tests pass all the lights will be green which represents a stable releasable build
- if any computer’s light is not green, the build is broken and can’t be released to the client
Then, periodically, call for a release and watch what happens.
Working in Pairs and Alone
Another interesting idea is to arrange a pair (or more) of developers at each laptop - except one. Because of the frequent rotations, this will give all the participants experience of working in pairs most of the time but also having the occasional period of working alone.