For those of you that haven't figured this out yet, if I can't come up with another idea, presentation, or volunteer, we usually default back to the easiest thing for everyone to participate in: Coding Dojo. The rules are simple, everyone that wants gets a turn at the keyboard, and we all usually learn something. Best of all, I don't end up making endless presentations to the group!
Here's the gist.
First, pick a problem. A trivial problem. Something that sounds really simple but no one ever really needs the answer to... There's probably a million solutions anyway. The point isn't to pick a really hard problem that really needs solving. No, the point is to practice our coding skills on a really soft problem... That's always more complicated than it sounds.
Second, pair up on one computer. One person is writing code - the pilot; the other is there to help and talk things out - the copilot. Everyone else is in the audience, and every so often a timer sounds. The pilot's turn is over, and he goes back to the audience. The copilot gets promoted to pilot, and someone from the audience becomes the new copilot. This rotation continues until everyone gets a turn, we run out of problem to solve, or we run out of time.
Finally, since we're practicing here, we're going to agree to follow a particular strategy to help us discover the solution to our problem: Object-Oriented Programming with Test-Driven Development. That is, we're going to write one or more classes as a part of our solution, and we're going to write tests first. That's right, before we write a line of code towards our answer, we're going to write code that tests the expected behavior of that code first.
This experience should change the way you write code. Slowly. Oh yeah, it's slow-going at first, but the the techniques we'll uncover while on the way to that Roman Numeral decoder or Tic-Tac-Toe game will astound you... And teach you exactly how hard writing gaming engines really is...! O_O
We're trying out a different location for a while: Panino's Pizza on Orange Ave (http://g.co/maps/u9bwj). If you're looking for parking, on-street metered parking is free after 6pm, and there are a number of city garages nearby. I don't recommend parking at the Plaza, though.
Looking forward to another great meeting this month,
David @ OrlandoPHP.org