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Next Meeting

We'll continue our SudokuSolver in Ruby again (tenatively) on Monday, October 15 at 7:00 PM in PGH 550 at the University of Houston.

The idea behind the dojo

As Pragmatic Dave points out, to be great at something requires practice. Of course you should know the theory behind your craft, and how to use the tools at your disposal. Unfortunately, however, "in the software industry we take developers trained in the theory and throw them straight in to the deep-end, working on a project."

A group of graduate students in the University of Houston Computer Science program found that to be the case, and decided it would be great to have some place to practice and learn as a group, from each other, as each of us has something to offer.

What we're planning to do

Pragmatic Dave talks about the Kata, something you can try as practice, without pressure. Laurent Bossavit in Paris took that idea further and started (as far as we can tell) the first code dojo, where programmers come to practice and learn their craft, just as martial artists might. Then Agile Finland took that idea further, and instead of watching "someone carrying out a rehearsed choreography of developing a solution for a given problem," they started "using a more interactive version called Randori which is an exploratory form of a kata where the whole group participates in carrying out an improvised choreography rather than following a rehearsed sequence of steps." Soon thereafter "four Pittsburgh hackers" began doing something similar, and we're planning to follow in all of these groups' footsteps.

Beginning on a monthly basis (and with increasing frequency as interest dictates), we'll be practicing our craft. We plan to rotate languages to increase exposure - so one session you may see a problem solved in Ruby, while another may be Java or C#. Further, if you have ideas for problems to solve, let us know. In the future, we'd like to provide a mechanism for voting online about which topics we'll cover. And, aside from just programming, we may also delve into some of the books every developer should read, and discuss the merits and/or drawbacks of the ideas they present. In the end, this is something in which we all will participate, not just the "presenters."

Why should you join / come to the meetings?

Ideally, you'd want to come because you want to pursue excellence, and help others pursue it. On the other hand, it might not look too bad on a resum?to have shown some interest in programming outside of your required degree plan. =)

How you can find out more

You can join our google groups mailing list. Of course, the best way to learn is to come to one of the meetings! Also, announcements will likely be updated on this website.

Our Meetings

Our first meeting was held on January 29, 2007 in PGH 550 at 7:00 pm. Generally, we meet there at that time. Feel free to join our google groups mailing list and ask if you aren't familiar with where that is.

Write-ups on the meetings:

Fall 2007
September 17, 2007: SudokuSolver
October 1, 2007: SudokuSolver Part 2

Spring 2007
January 29, 2007: YAGNI and the first meeting of the UH Code Dojo
March 5, 2007: Anagrams in Ruby
April 16, 2007: Microwaves and Ruby: Keep it simple, stupid!