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My first VCD (Virtual Community Day) Session – ABAP Source Code Review

Well, that’s over.  Got myself a beer, and beginning a rambling reflection on the process.


In a fit of impetuosity back in July I submitted a title to Craig for the VCD sessions.  Mainly thinking – I’ll give it a go.  Not expecting to get many votes.  But as it turned out – I didn’t need any!  So three weeks ago, I dug out my old SCR training course that I developed a few years back.  Utterly useless, I thought. I can do so much better.

So, I launch FreeMind from SourceForge, and started using that wonderful mindmapping tool – combining and putting down idea.

I had this image of coming onto stage doing a presentation, to some loud rock music.  I’m involved in a Panto, and Pink Floyd’s song “The Wall” will be used.  So I started playing with some lyrics

We don’t need our code reviewing
Programs they don’t need control
No comments is the way we like it
Hey, QM, leave our scripts alone

All in all, it’s just more paperwork load.
All in all, it’s just more paperwork load.  

My son had the idea of showing some stills of geeky, nerdy types, but I couldn’t find any.  So I used an angry baby.  I think it gives the impression that people who reject source code reviews are pretty immature.  The band is a live cover. I recorded my own vocals, added some distortion, created a new track an octave higher and another an octave lower, and put it together.  All using Nero software.  Oh yes, I used Virtual Audio Cable to capture some audio from a video.

Come in here, dear boy
Have a cigar
You’re gonna go far
YOu’re gonna fly high
You’re never gonna die
You’re gonna make it if you try
They’re gonna love you.

Well I’ve always had a deep respect,
And I mean that most sincerely.
The program is fantastic,
I’m really quite impressed.
As coders go, your the best.

I did the same for the final video, but I’ve just added reverb to my voice.

Looked at a few of the other VCD sessions to make sure I was in the right ballpark.  Hey, some of those are pretty good!  They’ve been during my work day, so I’m not able to join live.

Then I took my mindmap created by FreeMind, and started to produce a presentation using OpenOffice Impress.  The hardest part was deciding the template to use.  Actually some of the graphic bits were awkward.  If you look at the end of the playback, when it comes, you’ll see I switch to edit view on one of the slides.  Then you can see the animated gifs I had in their – that DON’T animate in slideshow view.  Thank goodness for Mr Clinton.

So, yesterday, I put it all together.  I used Windows Movie Maker to make the videos, Wikimedia Commons for the graphics and  AVS video converter to get it to MPG.Went through it a few times.  Bored my wife. Corrected a few errors. 

Presentation day

Got home far too early – but there wasn’t much on at my client’s site – a momentary lull in the project lifecycle, so I couldn’t hang around the office anyway.  Got my main computer in my office up and running, and made sure I had access to the raw files.  That was fortunate… as you’ll see later.  I also got my laptop prepared, another potential internet connection using the WiFi hotspot capabilities of my New phone.  And checked that my home phone batteries were charged.

After several hundred years, at about 16:45, Craig started up the virtual room, and I could log in.  Rather than following instructions, I used the contact numbers.  But Craig soon put me right, and I hung up, clicked on my icon, and… didn’t get a call back.  So I told Craig, and he performed an arcane and deeply disturbing ritual, and then my phone rang, and I was in the conference.

I checked a few things, like I’d got the right screen shared. ( I have two 22″ monitors on my desk, which is great for flight simulater – why two?  Well, when the great author Terry Pratchett was asked why he has SIX monitors, he replied “Because I can’t have 8”.  ( Oh no… I’ve just go the joke… doh! ).

Then – into the presentation itself as the numbers dialling in increased quite nicely.  One of the hardest things is that there’s no feedback.  Not the whiney audio feedback, I mean audience feedback.  I cracked my best joke and I can’t tell if they’re rolling in the aisles, or sitting stoney faced.  I hope the former… I don’t think anyone hung up at that point.

Had a technical crisis, when the video wasn’t showing throught the shared desktop.  I’d embedded the video in the presentation.  I could see it perfectly.  But no-one else could.  Fortunately, like I indicated before, my raw files were quickly to hand, so I bunged the video through Windows Media Player… and, after dismissing the request to update, all was well.  But they had to suffer “Ancient art of Code Review” audio, twice. 

As is normal, I spotted errors in my slides, but I think I covered it.  You know… oh… that’s not right… that should be xyz.  But I doubt anyone noticed… 🙂

I made a mistake of watching the chat box on the bottom left, and it slowed my flow.  Not Michelle’s fault that, but you’ll notice I lose the thread.  Memo to self.  Don’t look at the other screen.

A small amount of discussion and I’d managed to get to the end.  Phew… Beer, write blog, put in links. publish.

Btw – when/if you watch the replay – that’s Ada Lovelace on the video – just before the credits.  A little nod of honour to the world’s first programmer.

That was fun.  I think I’ll do it next year.

( if they let me ).

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