As a team last week we decided to work through a “Coding Kata” as a learning experiment. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a Kata is a Japaneese word that refers to a choreographed series of movements. In the context of programming, a Kata refers to repeatedly solving a problem with incrementally improving technique. The challenge we decided to look at was a somewhat contrived Bank OCR problem described on codingdojo.org.
We only looked at “User Story 1” which describes a process for translating lines of ASCII text into the decimal numbers which they represent. The task isn’t particularly hard but what we were interested in was how different people approached the problem, what considerations they had, and where they got hung up. As a group, the consensus approach was to decompose the problem into pieces, decide on data structures, and then sketch out some pseudo code.
After we wrapped up on the whiteboard we ended up implementing 3 solutions. A functional solution using a 3×3 array for the numbers, an imperative solution also using a 3×3 array, and an imperative solution using a 9 character string to represent the numbers. The solutions are similar but the style of the original author still definitely comes through.
Anyway, how would you have approached a problem like this? We’d love to hear in the comments!
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