August 24, 2010

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Express Yourself In Code: Seeking Session Leaders for SC2010

Hello there!

As you may have heard, Software Craftsmanship 2010 has sold out. Which is great news for Bletchley Park and great news for software craftsmanship in the UK and Europe. I'm not aware of any conference in our line of work that has sold out as quickly.

Having a mansion full of enthusiastic craftsmen (and craftswomen) with their laptops, coding together, will be an exciting experience. The coding sessions at SC2009 went down very well, and it was great to see some well-established practices and theories coming under practical scrutiny.

Session submissions have been coming in, albeit slowly, and I think we already have enough great sessions to fill one track.

If you're stuck for session ideas, or a bit put-off by screencasting, I thought I'd post a few pointers which might spur you on.

1. Screencasts are easier than you think. The tools are out there, both free and commercial, and your screenacst doesn't need to be a polished video production. If it's a bit rough around the edges, a bit unrehearsed, don't worry. As long as people can get what you're trying to say, it's good enough.

2. Tools: I use Camtasia, which is very good indeed for screencasting. They have a free 30-day trial, which gives you plenty of time to record your SC2010 submission. Free screencasting tools include Jing and Camstudio.

3. Rehearse your screencast. Just run through it a couple of times to iron out any major kinks.

4. Cue cards. Bullet-point a rough high-level outline of the order of your screencast and key points to cover.

5. Keep a back up of any initial code. If you're going to run through it 2-3 times, and you're starting with some code already written, make a copy before you start.

6. Keep it simple. If it's a complicated screencast, it could be a very complicated session. Take a look at some of the submissions so far to get a feel for what would work well in a 30, 60 or 90-minute session.

7. Don't be afraid. We all worry too much about coding in front of an audience. First you'll disover is that you're really no worse than the rest of us at typing and using the shortcuts etc.And we're not expecting everyone who submits to be a coding rock star. Indeed, less of those would be dandy, thanks very much. If you've got a technique, a kata, a burning question, a challenge or just a bit of silly fun, we want to see it. Expressing yourself in code is the most meaningful way for a programmer to communicate, and at SC2010 we want to hear ideas from all quarters.

8. Video hosting in HD is now pretty commonplace. YouTube supports up to 1080p, Vimeo up to 720p. and for videos < 10 mins and 1 GB in size, it's completely free. If you're screencast is > 10 mins, just break it into smaller chunks.

Sharing is very much a cornerstone of craftsmanship, and free and cheap HD screencasting's giving us a way to share like we've never been able to before. If a picture's worth a thousand words, a 10-20 minute screencast can pretty much convey a whole book. It will be interesting to see what effect this has on the learning curve in software development as a whole, and especially within the craftsmanship community.

Posted 7 years, 8 months ago on August 24, 2010