Coding Katas – Improving the mechanics of coding

If only one could code straight from the brain – Alas, we aren’t there yet. If you want to reduce the impedance between a programming idea in your mind and the act of coding you can do exercises that concentrate on reducing that impedance. This is what Code Katas are: exercises whose problem domain are understood by you, and which by repetition you can concentrate on the mechanics of coding. After all, you don’t expect a musician to only ever play her instrument on a gig, right?

The past day I’ve gone through this small coding Kata posted by Roy Osherove, the String Calculator.

One important aspect of improving the mechanics is knowing well the tools you’re using. I must admit that I’d never attempt this exercise without resharper. In preparation for a Katacast I also had to improve some of the tooling that I commonly use:

  • Using Alt+ArrowUp, ArrowDown to move between members of a type

  • Defining two live templates

  • one “test” file template that defines a test class as Test fixture with a setup and a first test

  • one “test” template to use inside a test class to define the correctly attributed method for a test* In VS Under Tools/Options/Environment/Keyboard, define a shortcut for the command Resharper.ReSharper_UnitTest_ContextRun. That will allow you to use the shortcut in a test class to run the test in the current context. Depending on cursor position it will run all tests in a test class or the one test the cursor is in.

  • If the solution explorer is necessary e.g. to create a new file, you can Press Alt+V,P (View Menu –> Explorer) to jump into the solution explorer.

In combination with the shortcuts I’m already using + the awesome resharper functionality it allows for pretty long runs of mouseless development in red-green-refactor cycles.

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Frank Quednau 2022