I’ve been on and off working on course material for a Seaside training course for a few months now. A few weeks ago, the best thing that can possibly happen happened: a Customer of ours asked for a Seaside Training for their Smalltalk development team.
Such an event is good and bad at the same time: You have to finish the work that’s imminently waiting under loads of other stuff on your desk within a very short period of time.
So what’s bad about it? Well, the other stuff is just shuffled around in its pile 😉
And what’s good? Well, it will finally be finished and usable!
The material is about to be finished in the next few days, and the course will have its premiere in early March. In that team, we decided to start with a two day workshop on Seaside Basics, followed by a second workshop of one or two days after an initial phase of 4 to six weeks in which the team members can get their feet wet and find the pitfalls. The course is designed for three days and focusses more on the differences between fat client systems and web server apps in Seaside, rather than introducing all the bells and whistles of web technologies like AJAX and jQuery.
I think the hurdles of understanding all the things related to the way web applications work (teamplay of Components with CSS, things done by the Browser and the job of a Web App Server) are high enough for developers that haven’t touched Servlets (or similar technologies) before.
I think it’s a lot easier to understand jQuery and friends once you took that initial hurdle, but looking at these too early just turns your head into a tumbler spinning at 1500 rpm. It’ll be easy to learn AJAX/jQuery once you know what rendering means and what CSS IDs and Classes are and what they are good for.
My training courses are somewhat different: Instead of a set of comic books with instructions like “Click here, select that menu before you can enter this text into that settings dialogue”, I give short talks introducing a topic before we go and simply use the stuff.
The feedback so far tells me this is good. I have handouts for the attendees, but I provide no solutions to excercises with them. People carry the solutions home in .dat files or parcels or .mcz. We typically have a lot of interaction in the group and sooner or later people do pair development, which boosts their understanding and enables them to help each other. Helping your seat neighbour means reflecting about a problem and therefor means deepen your understanding of the topic.
So far, attendees of my courses always left with a mix of exhaustion, fascination and motivation. All of these are essential for success.
So if you are looking for training courses in Smalltalk basics, advanced VA Smalltalk programming techniques or Seaside (these pages are all only in German, but we can provide english course descriptions as well), feel free to contact me.
All course material is in english so I can give the courses in both german and english.