Past weekend I had the chance to attend the 1st Coderetreat event in Thessaloniki

Coderetreat is a day-long, intensive practice event, focusing on the fundamentals of software development and design. By providing developers the opportunity to take part in focused practice away from the pressures of "getting things done", the coderetreat format has proven itself to be a highly effective means of skill improvement.

The above is a sort description taken from the central Coderetreat website. As you can see there are some keywords emphasized; practice, fundamentals, development, design, skills. To add a few words more I could say that in Coderetreat you get out of your comfort zone but in a safe environment (there is no customer here). There is a real "problem" to solve and all the sessions are involved with this problem which is "The Game of Life" by John Conway done in 1970. 

It is impressive how many thing can someone learn in less than 6 hrs and for free! If you think about it, every time we attend meetups, hackathons, sprints, conferences etc the main reason behind that is to learn new things and meet new people. Well, this event is just about that. Learn new things and meet others with no pressure (like in hackathons), no deadlines (like in sprints), with equal participation (instead of meetups and conferences) and all these for free. Another cool thing with Coderetreat is that you always work in pairs under the concept of "Pair Programming" which is something I can rarely do since I am a freelancer working from home.

I left the event and it was obvious that it is worth attending it (I believe that everyone has the same opinion though). For the next day I will have to focus and practice on some new things I 've learnt in the event such as:

  • Test Driven Development (TDD)
  • Functional programming
  • Testing
  • Write "perfect" code

Don't forget I am a Drupal guy and with Drupal 8 being almost ready we will have to write Object Oriented code with PSR-4 standards and create even smaller tests. This event came just in time.

Meanwhile I saw how Java code (some pairs were with Java developers), what IDE do people use, what is Mocha testing framework and how important is to design a solution in details before writing down any code...

Finally, I believe that the event should have a better marketing and branding but this is not only an issue for the local event it is about the main event itself. The main website needs a "refractoring" (a redesign) so it communicates the message better. I can say there are events that offer nothing but have a better presence in the developers' world. Also, a small fee would be fine to pay for. I mean that. Usually, paying for an event makes it more "valuable" to attend.

Waiting for a more localized version of CodeRetreat event as the two organizers suggested. Hope not in Java ;-)

Picture by @nzinas taken from this Flickr alblum.