Jan 17, 2013

January Meeting Retrospective

Hello Memphis JUG,

Thanks everyone who attended the last Memphis JUG meeting.

Once again we were hosted by Southwest Tennessee Community college and treated to dinner courtesy of VACO Technologies. If you're looking for work be sure to let Diane Tabulog from VACO know. You can find her contact info at http://www.vaco.com/memphis/team/diane-tabulog.

We had two talks this month: a lightning talk, "Twillio with Santa" by Chris Roberts, and our main talk, "Test Driven Design (TDD) with Code Katas" by Robert Frey.

Before our talks began I shared a few links that the group may be interested in:

A list of items to test a web application for with associated tools for each item. It is very comprehensive.

We've had a fair amount of interest in Clojure in the user group and this tutorial was well recieved on Hacker News. It includes links for a couple of interesting Clojure tools as well.

If you've ever had to create PDFs in a web app, you might want to check out this tool which allows you to create PDFs with only JavaScript (Flash required on lower versions of IE).

This is the lowest friction introduction to creating a Facebook app that I've seen. It also is a guide for an online code editor and hosting solution for Python.

Chris's talk covered the Twillio library for handling automated phone calls. Chris used it to create an application which allowed him to call Santa and put his kids on the naughty list. The API however is extremely flexible and potentially any automated phone system in use today could be created with it.

Our main talk took on "TDD with Code Katas". Our speaker was Robert Frey. Robert can be found on Twitter at @rob_frey.

In the talk Robert briefly covered the concepts of TDD and Code Katas. Test driven development is based around the idea of writing automated tests for a new feature, writing just enough code to make it pass, and then refactor. You then repeat the process with a new test. Code Katas are short programming problems designed to let a programmer explore potential solutions and methodologies. This makes them a perfect fit for learning TDD.


Robert covered a quick FizzBuzz kata and then dived into a much longer SuperMarket example. We spoke a bit as a group about how companies space out their training and all hands on deck coding sessions. Robert's company's practice of daily dedicated learning sessions seems unique. Maybe it is something we should consider promoting at our places of business.

We still have open slots for speakers in 2013, so let us know if you'd like to give a talk of any length.