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Twin Cities Code Camp #12, Day 1

It’s that time of the year again, it’s the Twin Cities Code Camp (TCCC) event! A beautiful, sunny Saturday morning here in Minneapolis, perfect for getting the event started. Well, almost anyway. There was a Gopher charity run going on, so most of the university road entrances were blocked off. Unfortunately, I missed the breakfast and the welcome session, but we have a long day with a lot of coding discussion sessions!

Here’s the discussions I will be attending today:

* 2D Character Animation Techniques for XNA (Ananth Balasubramaniam)
* Leveraging jQuery’s Special Events API (James Greene)
* Javascript Unit Testing with QUnit and Mockjax (Nick Scweitzer)
* Android Development for. NET Programmers (Mike Marshall)
* Open Source 101: Get Involved with GitHub (Keith Dahlby)

For more information on TCCC, and check out their website at http://www.twincitiescodecamp.com/ I will be voice recording the discussions and will post them at a later time.

First up, 2D Character Animation Techniques for XNA!

Update 1: 2D Character Animation Techniques for XNA (Ananth Balasubramaniam)

First discussion was on 2D animation techniques for the Microsoft XNA game framework. Ananth went over utilizing the bone objects of a sample model (built in 3DSMax) directly in XNA. A demo of an animating robotic bone was shown, run in XNA.

Update 2: Leveraging jQuery’s Special Events API (James Greene)

This discussion focused on the Special Events API. Greene briefly went over the version history of jQuery, and the functions that were introduced with each version. He noted that the functions bind, live, and delegate were depreciated in the latest revision of jQuery and that on/off should be used instead. Greene then proceeded to show two programming demos utilizing the Special Events API, Multiclick (simple interactive function that performs an action with multiple clicks) and TextSelect (function that displays texts using the API). Unfortunately, there were some technical issues with executing the code live, so a walkthrough of the code was discussed instead.

The code examples can be found in full at Greenest website: http://jamesgreene.net

After this, it’s off to Campus Pizza for lunch! (courtesy of the Nerdery)

Update 3: Javascript Unit Testing with QUnit and Mockjax (Nick Scweitzer)

The first day of TCCC is already halfway over! For the first discussion of the afternoon, I sat in on Nick Scweitzer’s discussion of Javascript Unit Testing with QUnit and Mockjax. Lots of great coverage on the usage of QUnit and Mockjax.

Nick started off explaining the merits of unit testing for Javascript and that KnockoutJS, QUnit and Mockjax provides a great platform for doing so. He then proceeded to discuss the use of KnockoutJS in unit testing and why it is preferable over Backbone, and as it is utilizes an MVC architecture, MVVM, and controller support. Nick then covered the basic syntax of QUnit, going over the usage of module(), test(), asynctest(), and expect().

An MVC application demo (seat reservation site sample) using QUnit and Mockjax was then covered. Nick went through the usage of QUnit and Mockjax in the Javascript code.

The slides and full code samples can be found at Nicks website: http://www.thecodemonkey.net/

Update 4: Android Development for. NET Programmers (Mike Marshall)

In this session, Mike Marshall began by mentioning the current state of the Android Market. He focused particularly upon the large user population and it’s ease of access for developers and explained why .NET developers should care about Android Development. He also brought up the common excuses that .NET developers typically bring up about Java/Android development and argued that it’s far easier to get into than commonly believed.

Marshall then talked briefly about setting up the Android SDK environment and it’s requirements, as well as using Eclipse, it’s functions, and using the Android emulator for testing. Mike also mentioned that as phone providers put out so many different Android phones with varying versions and slow updates, it is very important for Android developers to test your application for intercompatibility between different Android versions, resolutions, and phones.

Marshall went to go over several Android example code for the rest of the session and went over the general structure of a Android program, such as activities, layouts, oncreate, findviewbyid, R, etc. He also pointed about the concepts in which .NET and Android/Java are similar. For the final example, a MovieService app was used, in which Marshall talked about the imprortance of activity stacking, intents, mapview, asynctask, as well as the use of Gson.

For those interested in getting the Android SDK setup on their machines, Mike Marshall’s website has some tutorials on how to do so here: http://www.mike-marshall.net/

Update 5: Open Source 101: Get Involved with GitHub (Keith Dahlby)

For the last session of the day, I decided to attend Keith Dahlby’s discussion of open source software and using GitHub. Keith did a great job in explaining about open source, as well as the nature of making contributions to the code and the community. He then dove into discussing about how to use GitHub for open source projects.

With GitHub, Keith mentioned that it offers a great environment for being able to interact with the open source developers and to make contributions to open source projects. He stressed the importance of interacting with the community, as well as conforming to expected coding standards for projects. Keith also pointed out that forking is extremely easy to do on GitHub. For the rest of the session, Keith went over a live example on using GitHub and it’s functions using his test account on GitHub. A rather humorous meme of Jason Bock was created during this session.

Update 6:

Well, it’s the end of the first day of the TCCC #12 event! Like with all TCCC events, there were prize giveaways to attendees. Such prizes included t-shirts, books, accessories, as well as larger prizes like an 32″ LCD TV, Xbox 360, Kindle Fire, and a camcorder.

Surprisingly, my name was drawn during the giveaway, in which I was offered to choose between a pencil holder and a black bag. I decided to get the black bag, as it seemed to be the better of the two. When I received it, I was told to “guard it with my life” and to “open it”, as there was more inside the bag. Inside the bag was a Bose QC15 (a very nice pair of headphones)! I was surprised, as I was only expecting just a simple bag. Either way, I was very happy.

I’d like to thank Jason Bock, Mike Hodgewick, and the rest of the TCCC team for organizing this great event, as it offers a lot of great ideas and concepts for programmers and developers.

Coming tomorrow is TCCC #12 Day 2! Check back tomorrow for some coverage on that day!

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