At a rainy Saturday in march in the year of the lord 2017 28 ABAPers made their journey to Passau to join the 5th ABAP Code Retreat that took place since this format was born in 2016.
The location for this edition was the minnosphere lab in Passau which I think was a quite cool place to stay and make your hands dirty with a bunch of motivated developers using test-driven development.
What happened at the Code Retreat …
… Does not stay at the Code Retreat. No hidden magic, here is what happened. Damir and Christian kicked of the event by giving a short introduction to ABAP in Eclipse (yes this is the IDE that was used throughout the event – there is some very nice video introduction of Christian that is available here: https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/events/ABAP+CodeRetreat) followed by a comprehensive introduction to test-driven development.
After that the hands-on was only one more “theoretical” session away. This session laid the foundation for the code retreat as it explained the rules of Conway’s game of life.
The development of an ABAP program simulating the game of life was the task of the day. But that would have been too easy, right? The development should be done via pair programing and in test-driven mode. Still too easy? Well, the name of the game was not to implement the game till we would call it a day, but we had time-boxed 45-minute session
followed by a 15-minute discussion about the session and the experiences the participants had made.
So, the main idea of the retreat was not to finish up the task but to get experience or better to experience test-driven development together with pair-programing.
I also want to mention that the pairs were grouped anew after each session and each session slightly differed in the way the test-driven approach was practiced e. g. the timing the key board was switched or the duties the partners had during the implementation.
The experience was quite exhausting for the participants, so it was assured that their brain hat enough food to be working well
What was my impression …
Well, what was my impression? I must admit that I was only the host so I did not actively participate (so I was busy with other things ... and by the way … you folks drink too much coffee ?), but I have been a developer for quite some time and I have worked with developers for quite some time, so I assume that I can interpret the interaction and body language between developers.
What absolutely kind of surprised me: the participants were talking to each other when trying to get their things done. They were interacting when trying to find a solution. Did you ever see that in real life … well I rarely heard rumors about that, but daily business looks different.
It was also interesting to see how the participants got more comfortable with the way test-driven development works and that just within several hours … think about what will happen when doing real coaching over a longer period (I hope some of our decision makers read this blog).
I am 100% convinced that this format adds a lot of value for the participants to get in touch with test-driven development and pair programing. A big advantage is that this experience is made apart from the daily business without any pressure from project management, customer and so on. Consequently, you can focus on the development (the stuff a developer usually likes to do most) and are not bothered by any other organizational overhead.
The spark ignited the fire as even breaks were used to discuss more on test-driven development and build chains (thanks to Gregor for the short break-out on the build-chain)
I also only got positive feedback from the participants, so my impression seems to be the right one.
First, thanks to Christian Drum and Damier Majer who kissed this format alive for the ABAP community. Two impressive proofs of the power of the community.
For sure also thanks to all the sponsors that made the event possible at this nice location.
And last but not least, thanks to all the participants that made this event such a great experience! Hope to see you soon again at another community event like a SAP Inside Track ?
In case this blog made you curious and you want to participate or even host a ABAP Code Retreat you find more information on that topic in the SAP Community Wiki: