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Let's build a word game together ;-)

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#1 citypaul

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 09:38 PM

Hello.

So for a while now I've been talking to Lyndsay about the possibility of working on a side project to help demonstrate a few of the techniques I've mentioned somewhat briefly in some of my posts on this forum.

Lyndsay has made a word game (and done a really nice job of it too) that you can see here: http://word-scrambler.co.uk/

There's nothing wrong with what she's done at all, in fact when I viewed the code I could tell just by reading it that she'd put quite a lot of thought into the structure and organisation of it all. When we were chatting informally about some of the stuff I've talked about on here though, I just thought a really nice way of demonstrating some of these ideas may be to basically rebuild this site, but by using these techniques, so I'm here to firstly tell you all about it, and secondly see whether any other people would like to get involved at all.

At the moment, I see this as being something that me and Lyndsay would be leading for the most part, so I'd imagine most of the calls on Skype would probably be between me and her and we'd aim to film some of the things we learn along the way. I deliberately say "we" there, because I'm planning to include some tools and techniques that are new to me too, so I'll be learning stuff myself I hope :-)

I should say right now that the way I approach programming is very different to what most of you are probably used to. I follow a test driven development approach, which (in a very short summary) basically means I write automated tests that assert my code is working, BEFORE I write any implementation code. In fact, I use the tests to drive the design of my code (hence, test "driven" development). I suspect most of you are not familiar with this technique, but this could be a good thing if you're willing to come along for the ride ;-)

It's very early days yet and we don't even have a spec (I was thinking we could do at least one, probably more, sessions on creating our spec, so this will come later)

I'm thinking currently of doing it using a modern javascript framework by Google called Angularjs, following the test driven approach of course.

During the course of development we will be using plenty of modern tools including:
Git, Github, Sass/Compass, Angularjs, Karma, NPM, probably Foundation and other automated tooling processes along the way. I'm also considering building a virtual machine that we could share with everyone else, so you can follow development and even contribute along the way.

We'll do a bit of a session on workflows in github I'd imagine, and this will prove that it's possible to let anyone contribute without risking the code quality, because we'll talk about branching and merging and pull requests, and how we can use code reviews to maintain quality and not let bad/buggy code get into the system.


In my head, I'd see the order of sessions as something like this:

- Version control - both the theory behind it and also a good workflow that seems to work quite well

- We could do a bit of a session on writing a spec for it that we can work from
- Foundation css framework and perhaps a bit about Sass/Compass
- Test driven development - a bit about the theory and maybe a little demo to get things going? Also a bit of a talk about refactoring?
- How to maintain code quality via automated tools on top of tdd - stuff like jshint, jslint etc
- Setting up the php environment
- Angularjs overview
- Continuous integration
- Actually start writing the code and see how it goes

This is all completely liable to change though of course.

I did have a little call with Lyndsay recently just to talk things over. We ended up going into a bit of detail about version control and I showed a typical branching workflow where each feature lives on a separate branch. I may have gone a little fast there, and we didn't film it, so perhaps we could go over the same stuff again and record it this time? Perhaps I could do the version control introduction with a different person so I'm not just repeating myself? I'm not fussed really.

I'd be interested to know what people like Teodora think here too - would you be interested in helping with the css again, but this time using Foundation as the backbone and editing using Sass/Compass?

I said above that there are some things I want to learn for myself here - one of these is Foundation, which I've never used, and my front end css/sass skills are a bit rusty these days, so I'd like to get a bit involved in that stuff too, but it's all good fun. The other major thing for me is the continuous integration stuff, which I've deliberately not mentioned in any great detail here. If we follow test driven development and we're strict about adhering to linting rules (which we'll cover), then the continuous integration element could be fantastic. I'm planning to setup a CI server for myself for the first time and once I've got that up and running I'll show you all how it works and what benefits it gives us.

As you can see, there's a lot of stuff to do before we even start coding here, but the good news is that once you're used to these things and you know the theory, in reality you tend to start coding relatively quickly. There's always a bit more setup involved when doing TDD, but it pays off massively by helping maintain better code and giving us assurance that code is working. We will also refactor our code all the time - constantly, and in small iterations.

So, this is just the general plan right now and it can all change of course.

One thing I should mention early - I cannot commit to specific times, and there WILL be times when I'm just not available for sustained periods - this is a project that will probably go on for months and months, but it could be quite exciting.

I should also mention that I wouldn't even be able to do the first session right away as I have a 20 month old daughter who is having sleeping issues right now, so I can't do anything until she gets over this rough patch ;-)

Let me know if you are interested, and if you are, we can start taking it from there. Again, no promises about time, but I'll do this if you are interested in this stuff.

Cheers!

Paul



#2 rbrtsmith

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:27 PM

I'm very busy with projects but I'll be happy to contribute in some way, I'm sure we could learn some new stuff together :)


#3 Mr Ben

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 10:50 PM

Im in if you need help too :) I want to test Angular out on a real project.



#4 citypaul

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 05:56 AM

Glad to see some interest in this...

 

I'm about to go on holiday from Monday for 2 weeks, so it'll have to be after then when we can start, but if the interest is there then by all means we can start and see where we end up.

 

How proficient are you guys with Git? I'd also want to setup a vagrant virtual machine, but I can do that and explain how it works later.

 

I've chatted to Lyndsay and Teodora about this idea privately and they both seemed quite keen, so perhaps we could start with a session on Git and workflows and take it from there?



#5 ChristyMathew

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 06:00 AM

yeah sure, but i need some more time to do with you because of my lag of my works, make some stuff together.



#6 rbrtsmith

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 08:32 AM

I use git everyday, I'm proficient in brancing merging etc, but I've never had to go past that so I'd be keen to learn a little more.



#7 NOCK

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 09:01 AM

Hi, I'm interested in helping out if you want me. I could do with learning GIT so already I know I would get something out of it.

 

I built a game around a year ago, albeit with EaselJS. So hopefully, I'll have something to add to the party :)

 

You can see and play the game here if you like:

http://www.officeolympics2013.co.uk



#8 drt_t1gg3r

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 08:35 PM

Very interested in seeing where this goes. :) Being a tool newby, maybe this will be how I get my feet wet :p



#9 citypaul

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 01:05 PM

Ok guys, glad to see some interest in this.

 

I'm going on holiday tomorrow for 2 weeks, so obviously can't do anything until I'm back.

 

My plan was to do a few skype style sessions with people on this forum and hopefully film them so other people can join in. I'd imagine starting with Git and talking about how to setup the environment and workflow in such a way that everybody can at least checkout the code and get it running on their machines - we would do it in such a way that anybody can contribute to it.

 

If we could film those sessions we could make them available for other people on here.

 

@teodora @Lyndsey would you be interested in doing a skype style call with me together when I'm back? I'm thinking if there's three of us on the call I could demonstrate some git stuff and show you how our workflow could work?

 

Let me know guys. This is something that will go on for a long time I'd imagine as I know we're all busy, but it could be a lot of fun and we could all (including myself) learn plenty from it I'm sure :)


Edited by citypaul, 13 July 2014 - 01:05 PM.


#10 citypaul

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 01:06 PM

Also, if others want to get involved in the call, that's cool with me. Not sure whether skype would be the best way to do it or not (possibly we could try a google hangout?)

 

As I say, I'm away for two weeks from tomorrow, so I'll check back in with you all soon.



#11 teodora

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 01:42 PM

@citypaul good timing, I have deadlines for next week and weekend is booked, too. We can arrange something for the weekend after you come back, if that works for you.

It will be good to talk to @Lyndsey and if she could fill me in on your previous conversation :)



#12 citypaul

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 02:24 PM

Cool, sounds good! I've had a quick look at Google Hangouts, and it looks like it might be just what we need, so I'm thinking we could try that? I'll contact you in a couple of weeks to sort it out.

 

It could be good if you could take a little look at Sass/Scss before then if possible, but no probs if you can't.

 

I'm thinking we could use the BEM naming conventions as I've seen that work really well in my workplace (we have specialised front-end people for the html/css stuff, so that's their domain, but it's working out really well). Not sure where that would leave us with Foundation, but I think it would be fun to look at that too.

 

Perhaps take a little read up on that stuff before then if you can? It's all good fun :)

 

Further into it, when we start working on our spec and planning it out, I'd like to also use some kind of ticketing system so we can break down the work a bit, but there will be no pressure on time for anybody for obvious reasons. It'll be used to make sure we know where we're heading and stuff like that.

 

There's lots to do here, but I think it could be a fun little project. Will speak to you guys in a couple of weeks then :)



#13 rbrtsmith

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 05:19 PM

I'm a Less person myself but already using the BEM method in the websites I code along with the other oocss standards.   SCSS is very similar to less so it would be no problem to work with.  I also have some experience using Angular.js  I guess you will be using grunt as the task runner for this project?

 

Like I said earlier I'm pretty busy with projects, and I see us getting a large influx of work this coming fall so my contribution would be somewhat limited but if I get some spare time I'll be glad to help out.


Edited by rbrtsmith, 13 July 2014 - 05:20 PM.


#14 citypaul

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 05:36 PM

I'm a Less person myself but already using the BEM method in the websites I code along with the other oocss standards.   SCSS is very similar to less so it would be no problem to work with.  I also have some experience using Angular.js  I guess you will be using grunt as the task runner for this project?

 

Like I said earlier I'm pretty busy with projects, and I see us getting a large influx of work this coming fall so my contribution would be somewhat limited but if I get some spare time I'll be glad to help out.

Cool, it'd be good to get you involved. I would plan to use Grunt as a task runner, certainly. I may also look into Rake for some things too, although I'm not sure yet.

 

My initial idea is to create a vagrant virtual machine for the project that can be shared by everyone. This would mean all dependencies are managed for us, so we'd all have the same version of php, ruby and so on. At work we do this and have a couple of Rake tasks that are executed that then setup the whole project. I'm considering playing with that, for one, because I don't know much Ruby and I've never used Rake, so it's a nice opportunity for me to learn something too.

 

I'd prefer Sass to Less just because the syntax is more CSS based, and it seems to be the more popular choice these days.



#15 teodora

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 06:22 PM

@citypaul There is certainly a lot to get my head around - will definitely have a read when I get time! Foundation looks good, need to study it a bit more. I had an intention to learn SASS before and got Compass, but due to work commitments didn't get far with it... hopefully I'll be able to soon.


#16 citypaul

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 06:56 PM

@citypaul There is certainly a lot to get my head around - will definitely have a read when I get time! Foundation looks good, need to study it a bit more. I had an intention to learn SASS before and got Compass, but due to work commitments didn't get far with it... hopefully I'll be able to soon.

Yeah no probs. It's just a project for fun anyway, so no worries. We'll sort out a call after I'm back from holiday and take it from there :)



#17 NOCK

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 07:31 PM

I've just read the original post again and definitely want to join in with this if I can. I'm happy to set Skype up if necessary, I normally avoid it like the plague because FaceTime is easier :)

I'd like to think that I'll add something, even though you sound like a genius! :)

Edited by NOCK, 13 July 2014 - 07:32 PM.


#18 teodora

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 08:08 PM

I've just read the original post again and definitely want to join in with this if I can. I'm happy to set Skype up if necessary, I normally avoid it like the plague because FaceTime is easier :)
I'd like to think that I'll add something, even though you sound like a genius! :)


Ha, ha, all that talk of version control, Git and all makes me feel a bit intimidated, too :D Hope I'll be able to bring my knowledge up to standards soon :)


#19 citypaul

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 08:18 PM

Ha, ha, all that talk of version control, Git and all makes me feel a bit intimidated, too :D Hope I'll be able to bring my knowledge up to standards soon :)

Honestly, it's really not as scary as it sounds. We'll start with Git and I promise I'll help you understand it easily. You'll go from intimidated to thinking "how did I ever work without this?" in no time :)

 

And @NOCK glad to have you on board :)

 

I'm watching the world cup final now and going on holiday in the morning, so I've had a few cheeky drinks and I'm a little drunk hehe... Looking forward to having some fun with this project. Seriously guys, don't be intimidated by anything - it's a project for fun and it's fine if you're learning as we go along :)

 

Right I'm off to watch the rest of this match and drink more beer :)



#20 citypaul

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 08:28 PM

I just realised I'm really going to town with the smileys in this thread. I blame alcohol :flm7: :flm12: :tv17:



#21 teodora

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 08:31 PM

You can't beat me for abusing smilies :) :)

:D


#22 NOCK

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 08:37 PM

Have a great holiday, I look forwards to talking to you and getting going on this on your return. GIT doesn't scare me, but the test-driven development part might bend my brain a little aha.


#23 citypaul

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 08:52 PM

Have a great holiday, I look forwards to talking to you and getting going on this on your return. GIT doesn't scare me, but the test-driven development part might bend my brain a little aha.

TDD is something that took me quite a long time to work out, but now that I "get" it, it's improved my code massively. There are still some elements that I'm learning (I strongly believe we never stop learning in this game), but I certainly have enough experience to be able to show you how it works and why it's such a great tool. Believe it or not, it allows you to actually improve your code over time - not to just maintain a good quality, but to IMPROVE it... I'll show you how when we get going with it :)

 

There's those damn smileys again!!


Edited by citypaul, 13 July 2014 - 08:52 PM.


#24 drt_t1gg3r

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 01:07 AM

I can't wait! now hurry up and come back from holiday!   :yahoo:

 

 

haha j/k, it's just that you people got me hungry for more and now I wait anxiously for the crumbs that may fall off the table.  :crazy:



#25 citypaul

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:44 AM

Hey Guys,

 

So I'm back :-)

 

It'd be good to sort out a call soon to go through some version control stuff. I'm thinking we can do it on Google Hangouts, because that also allows us to broadcast it and even save it on youtube, apparently.

 

Setting an exact date is a little awkward as my daughter is a bit patchy with her sleep right now - it's definitely going to have to be after 8pm for me I'm afraid. There's a chance during a call I may have to come off to due to sleepwalking babies, but I'm sure we can figure something out.

 

How are people for dates then?

 

I've created a poll here to work out what dates work... can you please add yourself on here so we can work out what works and what doesn't?

 

We don't need thousands of people as I'll aim to record it and share it on here afterwards. Probably me and two others should be fine, although we can do a few more if people really want to.

 

I've set the dates starting this friday as I'm busy before then. I also appreciate some people may have social lives (lucky you), so perhaps Friday isn't the best day. Just tick on the page to let me know what works!

 

Finally, those who are coming, I'll tell you what software to install before we start.

 

Cheers!

 

Link to poll:

 

http://doodle.com/wtkbhcrh4w58ik2v


Edited by citypaul, 05 August 2014 - 11:44 AM.


#26 rbrtsmith

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 01:30 PM

This whole thing sounds fantastic, but unfortunately I'm overwhelmed with projects and it's only going to get more busy this coming fall so I don't think I'll have the time to contribute in any meaningful way but I'll keep a keen eye to see how this project progresses.  :)



#27 teodora

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 04:12 PM

I will need to see what my schedule will be like - only weekends for me, as I have unfinished work and new projects are coming in...



#28 teodora

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 04:14 PM

P.S. @citypaul hope you had a good holiday :)



#29 citypaul

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 04:36 PM

@teodora holiday was great, thanks.

 

I've got Sunday on there at the moment as an option - would you be able to do something on Sunday? Not sure I'd be able to do Sat, but may be able to rearrange. I think it would be good if you were on the call as it sounds like you'd benefit - it's also great because the fact you're not currently using version control means we'd start from scratch, which would be better for other people viewing the video. Ideally it'd be good if we could get me, you and at least one other person on the call - @lyndsay are you back from holiday yet and available?

 

Any others who would like to join in are welcome though of course. We can just see how it goes and play it by ear :-)



#30 NOCK

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:33 PM

Hi Paul, I hope you had a good holiday?

 

I've added my votes to your poll. I will also be starting with GIT from scratch.



#31 citypaul

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:38 PM

Hi Paul, I hope you had a good holiday?

 

I've added my votes to your poll. I will also be starting with GIT from scratch.

Sounds good. Sunday could be a possibility then...



#32 NOCK

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:42 PM

Sounds good. Sunday could be a possibility then...

Sorry, I totally messed up there... I can do Saturday or Tuesday onwards....


Edited by NOCK, 05 August 2014 - 05:42 PM.


#33 citypaul

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:18 PM

Sorry, I totally messed up there... I can do Saturday or Tuesday onwards....

 

No probs.

 

I've added Saturday as an option now, and have changed your tick to Sat :-)



#34 teodora

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 03:30 PM

Sorry guys, can't make it this weekend - too much going on and I'll be working over the weekend :(



#35 mantis

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 03:28 AM

Hey there, I realise I'm catching this a bit late but would love to help (I love word games.) I'm on holiday at the moment but its sort of a working holiday (although in a different time zone) and I'll be back next Wednesday. I'm fairly proficient with Sass, Compass, Grunt, and use git everyday but only on my own projects (so for all I know I'm doing it all wrong). I've also used Foundation on several projects and had a look at Angular although I've never built anything with it. I've read about test driven implementation and was interested but don't usually work on projects of that scope. So I'd love to follow along and help if I can. 



#36 Lyndsey

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 08:29 AM

@teodora holiday was great, thanks.

 

I've got Sunday on there at the moment as an option - would you be able to do something on Sunday? Not sure I'd be able to do Sat, but may be able to rearrange. I think it would be good if you were on the call as it sounds like you'd benefit - it's also great because the fact you're not currently using version control means we'd start from scratch, which would be better for other people viewing the video. Ideally it'd be good if we could get me, you and at least one other person on the call - @lyndsay are you back from holiday yet and available?

 

Any others who would like to join in are welcome though of course. We can just see how it goes and play it by ear :-)

 

Hi Paul,

 

Hope you enjoyed your holiday! I'm available Mon-Thurs evenings and could probably squeeze in some Sundays if I'm needed. Unfortunately, Friday evenings through to Sunday evenings are when I'm unavailable. I've filled in the poll in any case.

 

@mantis - nice to see you on board. Didn't know you were a word game lover, like me. What games do you enjoy?

 

Lyndsey



#37 mantis

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 01:23 AM

OK, I filled out the poll. 

 

@Lyndsey yes, I had a minor addiction to online scrabble for a few years and another one I can't remember the name now. I try to limit myself these days but as vices they're not so bad :D



#38 Lyndsey

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 06:58 AM

OK, I filled out the poll. 

 

@Lyndsey yes, I had a minor addiction to online scrabble for a few years and another one I can't remember the name now. I try to limit myself these days but as vices they're not so bad :D

 

Awesome, I had an addiction to Scrabble and it's variations a few years back. I played at many places, isc.ro, lexulous (formerly scrabulous), wordsteal, literati to name a few... But I'm more a boggle lover myself... nowadays you will find me playing bitWordy or Prolific on Facebook or Scramble with Friends/Ruzzle/Wordament apps. Can you tell I love word games? :p



#39 mantis

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 03:31 PM

@Lyndsey I like it! Simple but compelling. Great job. I remember when you were talking about making it and I got the impression it was some sort of scrabble cheat but this is really great :D I have a couple of suggestions for enhancement when/if we get to that as it would be really fun to either play against people or compare scores. 


Edited by mantis, 08 August 2014 - 03:36 PM.


#40 citypaul

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 05:16 PM

@Lyndsey I like it! Simple but compelling. Great job. I remember when you were talking about making it and I got the impression it was some sort of scrabble cheat but this is really great :D I have a couple of suggestions for enhancement when/if we get to that as it would be really fun to either play against people or compare scores. 

 

I like the idea of multiplayer. I was thinking at one point that we could have a play with nodejs and do some websocket stuff to make it really real time, but I'm not sure... We can start with the angularjs route and see where that takes us anyway. I'd love the idea of other people contributing feature requests though.

 

In terms of the date for the first group call - Wed seems to be a date that works for the most people. How about that then?

 

The first one will be about version control, specifically git. We'll go through a bit of a practical example and will hopefully have enough time to talk about workflows and how we can approach this project in such a way that anyone can contribute, without lowering quality. 

 

There's really a couple of parts to this - version control first, and then the concept of a specific workflow that could work for us, including code reviews. I think to do it all in one go may be a bit much, so perhaps we can break it into two parts.

 

If we go the way I've mentioned earlier in this thread, it will actually be some time before we start writing real code, but it'll be worth it I hope, because once we get going I think we can do it in such a way that we maintain and even improve the quality of code over time. A large part of that comes down to test driven development and continuous integration, but more about those concepts later.

 

So how does Wed night sound? @teodora, does that work for you too? 







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