Global Coderetreat 2011 in Berlin

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I attended the Global Coderetreat event initialized by Corey Haines. The general purpose of this event was to get a bunch of hackers together to implement Conway’s Game of Life.

Coderetreat@Immobilienscout - Photo was taken from

Setting up goals

As J. B. Rainsberger mentioned in his article four elements of simple design, it is best to setup goals for your retreat to get most out of it. Here is a list of what I achieved in each session:

  1. Being a mentor of TDD: I taught dedan how to use TDD, why TDD helps you to think about your design.
  2. Being a mentor of BDD: Showing a fellow Rubyist how to do BDD.
  3. Doing something completely stupid: I played evil coder and ping-pong pairing with @tilosoenke - we couldn’t communicate with words, only with code, one writing tests and other the implementation of the tests.
  4. Discuss about names: We said together and discussed about right names for methods, variables, and classes. We concluded that good names saves you scary comments in your code.
  5. Explain Ruby to a Java-Programmer.
  6. Being mentored about Lisp: We solved the whole ‘Game of Live’ in common Lisp , while @HansHuebener explained me the strength and beauty Common Lisp.


It was great to get so many people with so many different skills and mindsets together, exchange experience and encouraging others to try something new. I will definitely have a closer look on Lisp to enhance my Ruby programming style.