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The 2010 Michigan Pairing Tour Stops at Healthmedia

2010 August 30
tags: ,
by Nayan Hajratwala

Fitting these pairing sessions into my schedule has been a bit trickier than I expected. A lot of recent difficulty has occurred due to people’s summer vacation schedules. Now that school is about to begin, I hope the frequency improves.

After some timetable negotiation, I was excited for the opportunity to spend a day at Healthmedia (a company providing Healthcare-related services) in Ann Arbor, by invitation of Helene Gidley, Matt Long, and Brad Neighbors.

Upon arriving, I sat with Matt for a bit and he gave me an overview of the application his team was currently working on, showed me their story tracking system, and generally oriented me.

Shortly thereafter, many people arrived in the team area and conducted their standup, after which most of those people left. I found this a bit odd, but it’s hard to make any sort of judgements with such a small dataset.

My first pairing session was with with Shilpa Nalgonda. We worked on some java code dealing with surveys and worked through discussing and then writing an outer level Acceptance-style test to drive our inner loop of TDD. We discussed test method naming and mocks. The team was using EasyMock, which I’ve never used due to my dislike of the record/replay syntax. I prefer using Mockito, as I think it a more natural DSL.

I also got into a discussion with Lyudmilla Mishra and a couple other folks regarding their move over to start using a dependency manager (Ivy) for their builds. It was interesting to hear about some of the issues they had to consider from a healthcare/HIPPA perspective. I shared my experiences with Ivy and Maven (Maven, FTW!).

Brad, Helene & I went across the street to Grizzly Peak for some lunch, which was great as usual.

After lunch, it was more pairing with Shilpa, joined by Brad for a bit of tripling as well. Brad shared some of his experience using the Builder pattern for creating test objects. I had combined Fluent API and Builder in my mind, but Brad reminded me that they were actually different things for different purposes.

During this pairing we experienced the pain of the current dependency management setup firsthand, having to wait 5 minutes between changing a domain class and being able to use the changes in the service layer. Hopefully, this will get solved with the Ivy implementation.

We finished off the day with some informal retrospecting between myself, Brad, Lyuda, and Matt. I provided them with my observations of the day and a few suggestions (visible task boards, introduce WIP limit, develop end-to-end rather than in architectural layers). All in all, a great bunch of people who I’m sure I’ll be seeing around the Ann Arbor Area.