Strangling Legacy Code

Wednesday, the 15th of August 2018 was our usual NE Bytes developer meetup, … except that it wasn’t because we had the wonderful Amitai Schleier over to visit to talk about mob programming and how to replace or enhance a legacy application without rewriting it, using the strangler pattern.

This was our first time running an event in a new venue - our home for the last four years, campus north, is closing it’s doors in September - and the Scott Logic offices provided us with a nice intimate atmosphere for gathering together to work on some code.

Amitai started off by introducing mob programming and the strangler pattern before moving onto the coding scenario and the code we, as a mob, were to build on. It’s fair to say we had a few technical challenges with connections, keyboards and mice but our newly formed mob coped with those problems, managed to make progress on new features in the code with Amitai’s guidance and gathered confidence as the evening proceeded. We swapped out drivers every 4 minutes which meant everyone who wanted to was able to experience driving for the navigator and the mob.

Here are a few photos from the night.

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As a new mob, we were working in an unfamiliar IDE on unfamiliar code, in what was, for many a strange, new language and in front of lots of people who were relative strangers AND typing in front of strangers while standing up! The strength of Amitai’s approach - his facilitation and coaching skills - meant that none of this mattered. We were able to complete all of the features and have fun doing it. We would love to have Amitai back when he’s next within travelling distance of Newcastle.

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