Codegram Retreat aftermath

So a week has gone by and we can look back to the Codegram Retreat with some perspective. It has been (again!) a blast. A great way to explore new paths and think outside of the box as well as try new technologies and approaches without the mental (and physical) constraints of the office.

This time we decided to go a little more comfy and we rented a house on Sant Andreu de Llavaneres, a nice town near Barcelona. Featuring a swimming pool, paddle tennis, 8 ball pool, a barbecue and, most importantly, an actual working WiFi - which we didn't have last year, we set up for a successful experience.

You could think we've spent the whole 7-day week relaxing and doing essentially nothing, but that wasn't the case - not that we didn't use the time to do some of that too.

Takeaways

As trying to summarize all our individual experiences into a single post would be quite difficult, here's a quick list of the most relevant stuff we've learned:

  • spacemacs_ is a great alternative to vim and some of us have adopted it in our day-to-day. With its evil mode, you won't notice the difference - but still get a performance boost and a better architecture. No need to choose between being an emacs or vim user again!
  • Clojure might be a bit of a challenge to get used to at first, especially when you come from a language like Ruby, but it rapidly pays off - specially when combined with clojure-emacs provides (integrated REPL and the absurdly awesome clj-refactor). We built a twitter bot that mustachifies it followers, a web backend, and a webhooks processor for an internal project, all of them using Clojure. We strongly recommend Clojure for the brave and true as a really engaging way to get into the language.
  • ClojureScript and OM are a game-changer. Thinking about UIs in terms of components connected via core.async channels, plus figweel for auto-reloading makes you feel you're programming from the future. We built a card deck builder, which unfortunately isn't yet ready to be shown to the average foe. Om's wiki page is a great way to start learning about it.
  • AWS' Kinesis + lambda + Clojure are a killer combo for scaling your app, one piece of work at a time.
  • Swift 2 is amazing and a good iteration over its previous version, but still feels incomplete and the lack of support from third party libraries can be a bit frustrating.
  • You should watch Kung Fury. And Mad Max 1, 2, 3 & 4. And Silicon Valley. And Maggie. We most certainly did.
  • Full Stack Fest 2016 is gonna rock.
  • Barbecues are awesome but they can be a little too much when you've had 4 of them in a week.
  • We don't always play paddle but when we do, Oriol wins.
  • We don't always play Magic: The Gathering cards but when we do, GenĂ­s wins.
  • We don't always play Billiard but when we do, Marc Riera never wins.

Wrapping up

If your startup/company isn't doing something like this, you should definitely give it a try. It's a nice team building experience, a great excuse to get a break from your day-to-day and learn some new stuff and just really, really fun.

And remember: Code hard, party harder!