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What did I do at codeX?

I left codeX at the end of September, and I though I’d do a “Year in Review” kind of thing. I had a few big areas of stuff: mentoring the coders; writing new curriculum stuff; reviewing curriculum stuff; process stuff.

Writing new curriculum stuff

  • I wrote about the building blocks of testing and testing one thing a time. The emphasis was on not having to use huge amounts of data in your tests (or “real” data), and just testing enough to be sure that things are good.
  • I started a list of git best practices, but didn’t have time to finish it off. I put together a little text-file exercise for peeps to practice the mechanics of Git Flow without worrying about the other pieces.
  • I even wrote a thing about documentation! Well, the good kind. Just enough documentation and a dependencies file.
  • I also wrote a bunch of Code Kata-like things. My favourites were two early ones: Cape Town Green (aka Red for Taxis) and Playing With Matches. They’re introductions to HTML, CSS, and the beginnings of JavaScript.

Writing new front-end curriculum stuff

I wrote up a bunch of my ideas and beliefs around Front-endian things.


  • I stared with a Style Guide for voice, tone, and markdown. That seemed a bit too manual, so I moved to using a retext-powered checker. Ideally I would have liked to do something fancy with pre-commit hooks.
  • I put together a new look and feel, a quick and dirty HTML and CSS template set for Jekyll-powered docs, instead of just the GitHub-flavoured markdown pages we had before that.
  • I also wanted it to be more easy to produce new curriculum modules, so I got experimenting with Yeoman and made a generator for the template shell.


  • When I started, the team weren't doing stand-ups (although the coders were). I helped get us started again, since I missed them and thought they were useful. The same for retrospectives.
  • I helped structure the day a bit and give us mentors some space for deep work by introducing the QQ. The Q(uestion) Q(ueue) was a board where people would post their questions (on stickies). On the hour the mentor team would divide the questions up between them. It worked well to give the mentor team some space, but it also helped students formulate their questions more clearly and to not get stuck for too long. We tried to make it clear that it's okay to struggle with a thing, but you should never be stuck for more than an hour (the gap between QQs).


In writing it up, I feel like I achieved quite a lot. The curriculum didn’t really have space for much “advanced” front-end stuff, but we covered lots of the basics (and a whole truckload of back-end-y things and general principles that apply to both sides).