Panasonic Youth

Day 1 Craftsmanship Swap at 8th Light

Tuesday marked the first day of my craftsmanship swap at 8th Light. All in all it was a good day of pairing and learning with a fun trip to downtown Chicago on the end.

First order of business was grabbing a ride with [Steve Kim]( “”) for the short trip over to the 8th Light office, and checking out the area. 8th Light is located in a nice office park in Libertyville, IL, overlooking a marshy area, making for a great view from their office. Libertyville is a suburb about 45 minutes north of Chicago, with a quaint ‘main street’ type strip not far from the office.

I spent most of the day getting up to speed on a shared workstation/timeshare application that 8th Light has been working on for a while, which involves a lot of moving parts and quite a few languages. As I overhead someone explaining, it’s a Java application written in Ruby, with C and Objective-C thrown in for good measure. All told its an impressive app that wrangles a pretty complicated problem domain well.

[Doug Bradbury]( “”) was my patient pair for most of the day and clearly knows both the tech and the domain very well. I helped Doug write some acceptance tests in Fitnesse, which went pretty well once I was able to wrap my head around Fitness. I haven’t written Fitness acceptance tests before, but once I understand some of the terms used and basically mapped it to how I think of Cucumber features, things went well. The ‘a-ha’ moment came when I realized a Fitnesse ‘fixture’ roughly equals a Cucumber ‘step’.

After that Steve, Eric Smith and I headed out to the Metra to grab a train downtown to attend the Chicago Ruby meetup. There were two talks, with the first one on HTML 5 WebSockets really grabbing my attention as having a lot of potential for “real” interactive apps in the browser being possible in a year or two. It will be a happy day for web devs we can drop ajax and polling as our solution for ‘live’ interaction with the browser and have something more first class and less hacky.

We closed the night with a few adult beverages at the Elephant and Castle, and after a train ride back I was back in the hotel before midnight. All in all a great introduction to 8th Light and the Chicago Ruby community.