Two years ago, confronted with a second COVID lockdown, week 4 of our training had to be done online. Not to overload the students and the trainer we decided to split up the week 4 program and spread it over two weeks having a (virtual) classroom program only during the morning and leaving the students to work on their assignments during the afternoon. Like last year, this year too we decided, in close corporation with our stakeholders, to do exactly the same with three major advantages: lesser traveling for the students, lesser travel and housing cost for their employers and twice as much time for the students to make the subjects theirs.
Hence on Monday the 14th of November the junior devs and their trainer, Luc van Vugt, met again, this time not in the hotel in Putten, but online in our virtual Teams classroom.
week 4a – technical track
The two main topics of week 4a were reports, both printable and non-printable, and test automation.
Monday – printable reports
But before we were to work on these topics, Monday morning started with a recap of the Support Registration case that students were send home with at the end of week 3 based on the review by me, their trainer.
- What design patterns had to be applied?
- What was done well and what typical recurring failures or omissions were made in the code?
- But altogether more important:
- What did you learn from it?
- What does your employer get out of it?
Based on the latter two questions the students had to write a retrospect and learning assessment later that day, to be complimented with a personal check list that is going to help them tackle these recurring failures and omissions in future deliveries.
It was very interesting, and actually quite impressive, to read the various essays later that week. A compliment to the students for their introspective skills.
The second part of the Monday morning I introduced the concept of a printable report. A whole set of new terminology and concepts were introduced and demoed. Report object, dataset, dataitem, RDLC layout, grouping, Excel based dataset inspection, etc. Loaded with these the students got to work on their first printable report, an addition to the major case in week 3: the Seminar Registration-Participant List. Not only the functionality of the Seminar Registration extension, but also to Azure DevOps project, with its build pipeline, it was stored in in week 3.
Tuesday – processing only reports
After our daily quiz, recapping things learned the day before, and a review of the homework, I elaborated on a what we call processing only reports. Reports that allow easy implementation of data loops contrary to the usage of
if FindSet then repeat until Next. Another addition to the Seminar Registration case was expected of the students: a processing only report called Create Seminar Invoices.
Having learned the two basic forms of a report object, there was some room left to learn about and work on some advanced report layout features:
- Conditional coloring
- Alternating background coloring
- Row visibility
It was nice to see that the students got gradually own the new skills.
Wednesday – test automation introduction
On Wednesday morning, after the daily quiz review, I concluded the reporting part of this week by demoing two layout alternatives for RLDC: WORD and EXCEL. And the new way to include multiple layouts (of the same type) in your report objects. Time to move to the next topic of this week: test automation. The topic the students were to be working on for the remaining part of the week. An introduction followed by spoon-fed exercises on this day and …
Thursday and Friday – more test automation
… closer to real live test coding during the following two days, based on ATDD test definitions. Each student was couple to another one which worked out very well providing them a mate enabling a better reflection on the work (to be) done.
Each student had his/her own package of homework to take with them: closing open ends, i.e., not yet completed exercises of the week behind and parts of the Support Registration case that were not yet implemented.
The group will meet on-line again for week 4b on December 12, 2022, to continue with data exchange, upgrade, and SQL matters finalizing our road to the last project in week 5.