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CodeCraft Bring-A-Book 2021 Entries

Our annual tradition of getting together and discussing books has continued into its fourth year! It’s not a book club in the traditional sense. Instead, we invite attendees to Bring-a-Book (or blog post, podcast, other media) that has influenced them.

This year we ran online, and the number of people around meant it was good to discuss topics as a single group. The entries are as follows, in no particular order.

Books

  • “Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers” by Dave Gray/Sunni Brown/James Macanufo
    • (ps: not about video games, but games in general)
  • “Become an Effective Software Engineering Manager: How to Be the Leader Your Development Team Needs” by James Stanier
  • “Performance Analysis and Tuning on Modern CPUs: Squeeze the last bit of performance from your application.” by Denis Bakhvalov
  • “Systems Performance (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series)” by Brendan Gregg
  • “Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine” by Derren Brown
  • “Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software” by Eric Evans (the blue book)
    • Possibly better starting point: “Implementing Domain-Driven Design” by Vaughn Vernon
    • Goes well with: “Introducing EventStorming - An act of Deliberate Collective Learning” by Alberto Brandolini
  • “Take smart notes” or ZETTELKASTEN by Christian Tietze
  • “Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers)” by Paul Butcher
  • “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown
  • “Thinking in Systems: A Primer” by Donella H. Meadows, Diana Wright
  • “Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change” by Kent Beck, Cynthia Andres
  • “Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value” by Melissa Perri
  • “Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology” by Ellen Ullman
  • “Alice and Bob learn Application Security” by Tanya Janca
  • “Technically Wrong, Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech” by Sara Wachter-Boettcher
  • “Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men” by Caroline Criado Perez
  • “You Look Like a Thing and I Love You” by Janelle Shane
    • Subtitle: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder Place

Podcasts

Blogs / Posts

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TDD is my Shame Notes

Last week, we had Gary Fleming give a talk on TDD called “TDD Is My Shame”. During the talk and in the conversation afterwards, a number of books, courses, and blog posts were recommended. We’ve collected as many of them as we can remember below. We hope it helps!

Did we miss something? Let us know on twitter!

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By our silence, we shout our complicity

Diversity in our community is the core of what makes CodeCraft. It makes us stronger.

It is our duty to challenge those who think otherwise, encourage others to talk about it, and educate. We should never lose capacity to be outraged at the injustice in this world. We should never accept persecution of minorities and the discrimination they face on a daily basis.

This week the issue of racism has resurfaced due to the killing of George Floyd and protests in the USA, but the system is inherently racist and we cannot stop challenging the status quo. We cannot pretend that systemic racism is not also present in the UK.

We are still learning and educating ourselves on the struggle which the black community goes through everyday. We will not always do everything right, but we promise to always engage in conversations about racism and actively challenge our bias and prejudice. Now we ask members of our community to do the same.

Black lives matter. And until they do, not all lives matter.

Learn and Support Resources:

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CodeCraft Book Club 2020 Entries

Our now annual tradition of getting together and discussing books has continued into its third year! It’s not a book club in the traditional sense. Instead, we invite attendees to bring a book (or blog post, podcast, other media) that has influenced them. Everyone discusses their book in small groups, and gets to see a variety of recommendations.

Due to various reason (including the horrendous weather), it was a considerably quieter event than in previous years, but that let us get deeper into conversation around each topic.

Books

  • “Humble Pi” by Matt Parker
  • “Node.js: Beyond the Basics” by Samer Buna
  • “Learn to Program” by Chris Pine
  • “Remarkably Easy” by Danielle Macleod
  • “Seven Languages in Seven Weeks” by Bruce Tate
  • “Now The Chips Are Down” by Alison Gazzard
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Logos and Venues

A year and a half ago, we talked about changing our tagline from “craftsmanship” to “crafting”, and since then we’ve made some more changes.

CodeCraft was founded in a pub. Our founders, Joe and Gary, would meet in various pubs around Glasgow to argue about technical matters. They both enjoyed craft beer, so when they formalised the meet-up and opened it for other people, the venues were always pubs that had craft beer. CodeCraft, as a name, was a play on words, taking from “craft beer” and “software crafting”.

Over time, we realised that this policy was preventing people from attending. We got clear feedback from our conference and meet-up attendees that some had felt initially uncomfortable going to a meet-up in a pub. In particular, people from underrepresented groups felt less comfortable. If we wanted to be a diverse and inclusive meet-up, and we did, something had to change.

Additionally, our logo wasn’t helping matters. It was a stemmed beer glass whose sides were formed out of curly braces (the stem is actually a pipe character, and the base is a minus, but that’s less obvious). We realised that if a direct association with alcohol was causing people to feel apprehensive, then our logo was problematic.

Changes were needed.

Firstly, we’ve changed our venue policy substantially. For the last 18 months, we’ve only run our meet-up in professional settings, such as offices. We believe this will help us be more welcoming to those members of our community who would rather not go into a bar. We’ve made good links with a number of companies around Glasgow to help us continue this, but welcome offers of hosting our events. There might be rare occasions where we can’t obtain office space, but we don’t currently foresee this being an issue. We’ll do our best to deal with these cases in a way that helps include as many people as we can.

Secondly, our logo has also changed. This took us far longer than we would have liked, as we don’t have graphic design skills, and struggled to find someone to help. We switched to our new logo a few months ago. It’s a cup with steam rising from it in the form of backticks. We believe this captures a lot of our original intent by mixing imagery for bringing people together socially, with a geeky twist. You get to decide what’s in the cup.

We don’t see these changes as an end. If there is anything we can do to help you become part of our software crafting community, we’d be happy to hear about it.

We’d also encourage other meet-ups to reflect on why we’re doing what we’re doing, and what changes they might want to make to promote greater diversity and inclusion through action.

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Community Tickets

CodeCraft’s ethos is that everything we do, including meetups and conferences, should reflect the members of the tech community, which in reality, encompasses people from different walks of life, experience, nationality, age, colour, sexuality, and gender.

Over time we have done a number of things in order to create a space in which people feel safe, comfortable, and included. We introduced a code of conduct, moved our events away from pubs into office spaces, rebranded from craftsmanship to crafting, and changed our logo and branding to remove alcohol from our imagery. We have also started to run a podcast, to connect to those who can’t make it to our events.

This also affects our conference, CodeCraftConf. Every year we put effort into having guides from different backgrounds. In addition to that, we also have a small number of free tickets which are designated for underrepresented groups in tech, for which the cost of the ticket would prohibitive to attending the conference.

In the past, we had found that calling the free tickets, “Diversity Tickets” was not the right phrase.

Some of the feedback we received was that diversity tickets had the connotations of “diversity tokens” and many people were sceptical of them. Some felt the name perpetrated the notion that if the person was to take the ticket they are only going in order to up the “diversity quota”, or that they were given a ticket purely because they are not a white male in tech. In addition to this we found that having conversations about the tickets with potential recipients made it difficult, as people were sceptical, and the name “diversity tickets” did not help to build trust.

This is obviously not what we wanted our efforts to portray. As our conference focuses on conversations led in groups (we do not have any speakers), everyone is given a platform to speak and share their experiences. We are hoping that people who would otherwise not be able to attend but can with the help of a ticket would enrich the conversations by making their perspective heard, if they choose to do so, over the course of the day.

In order to reflect that, we have started calling the free tickets, “Community Tickets”. We hope that the name change will reflect the intention behind those tickets and that those who receive them will feel welcome at the conference, and remain a member of our tech community.

If you would like to apply for such ticket, please email contact@codecraftuk.org

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CodeCraft Book Club Entries

For the second year in the row, we kick started our year with a book club event in which everyone brought in their favorite text/audio and discussed it. What was really interesting is that there were more podcasts than books this year, but technical books still held strongly.

We have composed a list of worthy entries (as deemed by the January attendees) for anyone’s 2019 reading/listening resolutions. The entries are as follows, in no particular order:

Books:

  • Bounce - Matthew Syek (Book)
  • Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential - Dr Carol Dweck (Book)
  • Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell (Book)
  • The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the World - Michael Lewis (Book)
  • The Bottleneck Rules: How To Get More Done at Work, Without Working Harder - Clarke Ching (Book)
  • The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement - Eliyahu M. Goldratt (Book)
  • Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter - Dr Dan Ariely, Jeff Kreisler (Book)
  • Ends.: Why we overlook endings for humans, products, services and digital. And why we shouldn’t - Joe Macleod (Book)
  • Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think - Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund (Book)
  • ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever - David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried (Book)
  • It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work -Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (Book)
  • The Phoenix Project: A Novel about It, Devops, and Helping Your Business Win - Gene Kim and Kevin Behr (Book)
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism - Robin DiAngelo (Book)
  • This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor - Adam Kay (Book)
  • Working - Harvey Pekar’s adaptation of Studs Terkel’s book,

Code Technical Books:

  • Working Effectively with Legacy Code - Michael Feathers (Book)
  • Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship - Robert C. Martin (Book)
  • Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code - Martin Fowler (Book)
  • Infrastructure as Code: Managing Servers in the Cloud - Kief Morris (Book)
  • Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns - Kent Beck (Book)
  • Test Driven Development: By Example (The Addison-Wesley Signature Series) - Kent Beck (Book)

Podcasts:

  • Syntax Fm (Podcast)
  • Soft skills engineering (Podcast)
  • Futility Closet (Podcast)
  • Answer Me This! (Podcast)
  • No Such Thing As A Fish (Podcast)
  • The Bike Shed (Podcast)
  • Griefcast (Podcast)
  • The Infinite Monkey Cage (Podcast)
  • Dr Death (Podcast)
  • How I Built This (Podcast)
  • Coding Blocks (Podcast)
  • UI Breakfast (Podcast)

Other

  • Toyota Improvement Kata (Various Resources)
  • Learning from failure. Why feel like the fool? - Gillian Carmichael (Blogpost)
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Craftsmanship To Crafters

Last week we changed the main tagline on our website, from “We are a software craftsmanship meetup” to “We are a software crafters meetup”. There are other changes to come, but let us explain this as a starting point.

CodeCraft was founded on the idea of diversity. Pretty literally. Our founders, Joe and Gary, enjoyed a good argument in the pub with each other but found that they agreed a little too much. Realising that would get boring, they decided to seek out others. When they couldn’t find an existing meetup group that quite scratched their itch for cross-language technical practice discussions, they decided to start a new meetup. We figured at the time that, in order to differentiate ourselves from our friends at Lean Agile Glasgow, we’d tag onto the idea of “software craftsmanship”, rather than try to position ourselves as “the technical part of Agile”.

CodeCraft was picked as a name as pleasantly alliterative, while taking from “craftsmanship” and “craft beer” (the latter being dropped from our event descriptions a long time ago).

Since then, we’ve been trying hard to encourage diversity and inclusion through our events, through our organising committee, through the guides we get for our conference. At every level, we want people of all backgrounds to feel like this is a meetup that is for them. It is a meetup that is for them.

Fast forward 4 years to last week, when we spotted this tweet by Emily Webber:

It made us stop for a minute and consider that word we’d brought in at the start: “craftsmanship”. Emily was right. Craftsmanship is not gender neutral. If it was bothering her, it bothered us; and would almost certainly bother someone else we’d like to turn up. We had to change.

The change itself was easy. The issue was raised on our internal Slack channel and gained consensus to change pretty quickly. The only concern raised was that if we were to change from “software craftsmanship” to “software crafters” we might confuse people if we continued linking to the software craftsmanship manifesto. Fair enough.

While we feel that manifesto should probably change its title too, we’ve never really been tied to it anyway. We discuss anything we feel is relevant to people involved in the production of software. We’ve discussed modern agile, BDD, TDD, mental health in dev, big data, microservices, modern testing, and a whole mess of other stuff.

Changing to use “Crafters” from there on was an easy and quick change. We were happy to do it if even one person feels more comfortable. We are always happy to hear how we could improve our efforts to create a diverse and inclusive community. Please let us know if there’s something else we can do. We do listen. We do change.

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