The conclusion of Programming with the Stars at Agile 2009 was an awesome event. A huge thank you to Jeff Nielsen and Joshua Kerievsky for coordinating the event and pulling together the great list of judges and contestants. A huge thank you to the judges and contestants, as well. All made quite a commitment to the event. The final day of competition was the free style day, which meant the contestants could choose their exercise, and were given six minutes to strut their stuff.
The first pair of James Grenning and Kenrick Chien opted for a learning day. They provided a great overview of how a pair might learn from each other through some simple exercises. On numerous occasions, they jumped at the opportunity to suck up to the judges. The highlight came when Grenning, who works on a Mac, chose to jump into a virtual machine running Windows in an attempt to come under the good graces of Judge Newkirk who works at Microsoft, by stating:
Finally an opportunity to work in a Microsoft environment
Judge Marick, however, noted the importance of this playful attempt to suck up when he commented on the important role that VMs will have on the development environments and how developers will leverage them in developing software going forward.
Next up was Gerard Meszaros and Ola Ellnestam, who put on an excellent display of pairing. In the final judging session, Judge Marick jokingly expressed his concern over the obvious corrupt nature of the judges. The final judge voting gave the Meszaros pair a slight lead over Grenning and Chien. But the competition wasn’t complete.
To conclude, the audience got a vote, and while the votes were being tallied, a bonus round commenced. Each pair was required to disable their mouse and using only keystrokes, create a program that printed “Hello Programming with the Stars” to the console. While it appeared Grenning and Chien finished their coding exercise first, it took them a bit longer to execute the program. Possibly because C was their language of choice? Maybe, maybe not. Judge Marick noted that while the two contestants were completing the bonus round, he and Judge Newkirk tried the same exercise using Ruby, but that it took them longer than either of the two groups of contestants. He explained this pretty clearly by joking,
It’s clear that we’ve now proven what statically typed language advocates have been arguing in favor of for quite some time. Java and C are much better languages for mission critical applications.
In the end, it was a great week for Programming with the Stars, which was ultimately won by the Meszaros and Ellnestam pair. Here’s hoping that Agile 2010 serves as host to this fun competition!