This second sprint brought with it some challenges in moving to online classes for the ongoing epidemic, but with it a stronger grasp on communication and documentation using GitLab and Discord, both out of necessity and intentional effort. We have learned to better work with LibreFoodPantry workflow and are ready to go into our next sprint with our REST API, Database, and Frontend all working in isolation.
For the first half of the sprint, we were still having weekly meetings to work together. One of our troubles last sprint was that we were discussing things in person and not doing well documenting the reasons for decisions we made. We improved on this even while having in-person meetings. By the second half, although we were all coping with changes brought on by moving to online classes, we did well in keeping each other updated and communicating through GitLab. In hindsight, it’s probably a good experience to be forced to do this. Especially if this epidemic inspires more software companies to promote working from home.
The biggest issue we had as a team was working with merge requests. There were a couple cases where code on a feature branch was not kept up to date with the master branch. As a result, there were a lot of merge conflicts to work together on resolving as a team. Overall, working through these together as a team was a good experience, because this is bound to happen when working in tandem with version control. However, now we will be reminding ourselves to pull changes from origin/master as we are working on our local branches.
We also improved with creating merge requests for each individual features, although this took a few weeks for us to all do efficiently. GitLab has a great feature where you can tightly-bind an issue to a merge request, but this caused a couple of problems for me. When the merge request is accepted, the issue is automatically closed. This messes with our workflow, because we want the issues in the “done” column, only to be closed by the product owner. Moving forward, the issues should be linked with their merge request but we will have to take care that the description doesn’t include a “Closes issue” tag.
Furthermore, when a branch is automatically made in GitLab, it creates a very verbose branch name, which is simply annoying if your Git isn’t configured to autocomplete branch names when pressing “tab”. In the future, I will create a new merge request and manually select my already-created branch. Then I will manually link the issue.
The team’s willingness to quickly meet over Discord about an issue we were having was the best thing about this sprint. In the few cases where something occurred outside of class time that required all of us, we were able to set up a time the same day or the next day and resolve the problem. This flexibility to schedule work within the sprint is what helped us get as much work done as we did.
The next sprint will involve combining our individual pieces into a working product that is capable of storing actual checkout transactions. There is a still a lot to learn and to do, but we are well on our way to finishing a viable product that we are proud of, albeit with much room to grow in the future. We will have to pay close attention in the next sprint to creating well-written documentation as we combine our API, database, and front end so that future developers can easily recreate what we’ve done and get it running.