I have to admit I was somewhat unsure how our first Coding Dojo evening would turn out not having ever experienced one let alone facilitated one. However the feedback has been really positive and everyone, it seems, really enjoyed the evening and got something out of it.
For the evening we had a choice of 3 kata's.
Kata Roman Numerals
Kata Word Chains
Kata Towers of Hanoi
Everyone decided to pair up which was great, and there were some good discussions going on around the tables afterwards. I had intended that groups break off into rooms based on the kata they had chosen. As it turned out all bar one pair decided to tackle the Roman Numerals problem, with the other pair doing the Word Chains problem. Interestingly, Kata Roman Numerals probably seemed to be, on the face of it, the easier challenge....oh how mistaken one can be. :) But that in no way took away from the evening. It was really encouraging to see a bunch of great developers with a dogged determination to tackle the problem at hand.
Just about everyone tackled their kata using a TDD approach and mostly using C# in VisualStudio. The only breakaway from that norm was a Python implementation. One interesting observation was that while TDD was helping to validate the algorithms people were developing (many and varied I might add) it certainly didn't guarantee that a valid solution was found. There was a bit of discussion and debate surrounding this issue at the end too.
All in all a great night and once again thanks to Oakton for putting up with us all and refreshing us with beers and pizza.
See you all on August 18th for a Lightning Talks evening.
Edit (9/8/2010): David Burela posted a blog of his experience of the Coding Dojo night.