Two guys, one laptop, and 4636 kilometres of pure Canadian coding. This is the Cross Country Coding Tour 09. Read more...
As the rain whips against the windows of our home-office, Cameron is sitting at his desk behind me, coding a new component for the application we started building in June. It's the type of day I wish I had a proper desk lamp, because our overhead lighting is insufficient, and working too long in the dark pinches the back of my eyes. It's one of those days where I wish we could be working from somewhere else.
We've been on a bit of a journey lately, building our first product as a pair. It's exciting and terrifying, especially since we're in the midst of our first release. I don't expect it to get much easier, but believing it will is a comforting illusion. Since I'm a manager, and Cameron's a programmer, my job is to do whatever it takes to let Cameron sink deep into writing code. When I'm not busy doing that, I'm by his side, getting him to think out loud, asking questions and making small contributions when I can.
It's an intense process. There's a lot of disciplines getting thrown together, and the most challenging obstacles are invisible and masked in subtlety. Most of the time, those challenges are only resolved when a new perspective emerges. A new perspective, a different angle, a change of scenery.
And as luck would have it, my parents told me they would love it if I could drive their car from Seattle, where they live, to Toronto. No can do, I thought, too much work going on. And while the idea was unappealing at first, after a while it crept back into my head. I've always wanted to see more of Canada. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it could actually be possible. Eventually, the thought became a dream and the dream became hard to shake. So we talked about it and decided to do something about it. And so was born the Cross Country Coding Tour 09.
It's all about the code, so while I'm driving, Cameron will be right beside me working from the passenger seat. It'll be just like working in the office, except the office will be moving rapidly across Canada. Cameron will be working on his local machine, and we'll check in our code every night from wherever we find ourselves staying. I might have to take care of my QA during our down time, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. We're going to stop every night so we can rest up, but this is a full time job.
- YYZ to SEA: One way flight on September the 11th, 2009, from Toronto to Seattle. We'll spend the weekend in Bellevue with my parents, raid my dad's book collection, meet with some of his colleagues, and eat a lot of good food.
- SEA to YVR: Might as well get the border crossing out of the way sooner rather than later.
- YVR to YQR: Not sure what's in Regina, but I have a funny cousin named Erin who lives there.
- YQR to YWG: I love Winnipeg. It's where wild things have been known to happen.
- YWG to YQT: I hear they have a solid minor league hockey club in Thunderbay.
- YQT to YYZ: And home sweet home.
I should probably also mention we've applied for a Guinness World Record for most lines of code written while driving in a car. It takes four weeks to find out if they'll endorse the idea, so no promises. I'll keep everyone updated when I hear back.
We're doing this for a few reasons:
- Perspective: We've already established that your environment affects the artifacts you produce. Our time traveling is going to let us take a step back and reflect on the application as we develop it.
- Constraint: There's nothing like sitting in a volkswagon bug for a week to get some serious work done.
- Experiment: We'll find out if mobile telecommuniting is, in fact, possible.
- Carpe Diem: It's not enough to say, "Maybe one day we can do this." It's now or never, because it'll never get any easier.
If you think what we're doing is cool, and you want to do something to help us out, worry not. Here's how you can lend a hand:
- Place to stay: If you know anyone who lives on our route, and if they might have space to sleep two polite lads who like to cook, put us in touch so we don't have to spend money on run-down motels (although run-down motels are amazing).
- Must sees: If we're going through a place that has an incredible off-the-wall tourist attraction (thirty foot muffin is a good example), unforgettable culinary delight, or fascinating dive-bar, let us know.
- If you know anyone interesting that we could meet up with (Ol' uncle Ricky from Lethbridge woooooo!), we would love to hear from you.
- Otherwise, your best wishes are always welcome as well.
We'll be blogging as much as we can from the road, and we still have plenty of time until we head out west, so stay tuned for updated itineraries, unsubstantiated predictions, and shouts of excitement. Oh and ps - if we can pull this off, so can all of you.