We are participants in the Clean Code Developer (CCD) movement. This initiative provides a way to perpetually learn, train, reflect and act on the most important topics of today’s software development by formulating a value system and a learning path. The learning path is subdivided in different grades, associated with colors. Every Clean Code Developer progresses continually through the grades, focussing on the principles and practices of the current grade.
If you want a tongue-in-cheek explanation of what the Clean Code Developer is in one sentence: It’s a sight-seeing tour to the most prominent topics every professional software developer should know. But other than your usual tourist rip-off, you can just stay seated and enjoy another round without ever paying anything except attention.
An important aspect of learning and deliberate practice is proper visualization. We invest a lot of work at our workplace, our software and the interaction with our customers to make things visible. When we reflected on our Clean Code Developer practice, we knew that it lacked visualization.
The proposed equipment for a Clean Code Developer is a desktop background picture, a mousepad with an image of all grades at once and some rubber wristbands in the colors of the grades. The wristbands serve as a reminder and a self-assessment tool. The desktop background picture is nice, but only visible if we don’t perform actual work. This let us concentrate on the mousepad.
Duplicate if necessary
The mousepad is the most prominent “advertising” space on the typical work desktop. We want to advertise the content of our current Clean Code Developer grade to ourself. The combination of these two thoughts is not one mousepad, but one for every grade. Imagine six mousepads in the colors of the grades, displaying your currently most important topics right under your fingertips.
We liked the idea so much that we worked on it. The result is a collection of mousepads for every Clean Code Developer to enjoy.
It took us several full cycles of planning, design, layout and proof-reading to have the first version of mousepads produced. It took only a few hours of real-world testing to start the second iteration to further improve the design. Right now, we are on the third iteration. The first iteration had the five colored CCD grades printed on real mousepads. The second iteration added the mousepad for the white grade and a little stand-up display for the initial black grade. The third iteration incorporated the official Clean Code Developer logo, the website URL and improved some details.
Here are some promotional photos of the five first-iteration mousepads:
As you can see, we chose to print ultra-slim mousepads to test if it’s feasible to use them stacked all at once (it isn’t, your mileage may vary) or use them even if you aren’t used to mousepads at all (it depends, really). You might want to print the images onto the mousepad you prefer best.
Do it yourself
Yes, you’ve read it right. We are donating the mousepad images back to the community. You can download everything right here:
- The promotional photos of the five first-iteration mousepads
- The printable PDF document for all six mousepads (third iteration)
- The printable PDF document of the stand-up display for the black grade
- Potentially useful renderings of the six mousepads (third iteration)
- Everything above wrapped up in one big archive (well, about 7MB)
All documents are bare of any company logo or other advertising and free for your constructive usage. There is only one catch really: the documents are in german language. This might not be apparent at first because we really like the original english technical terms, but some content might need translation for non-german speakers. If you are interested to produce an all-english version, drop us a line.
These mousepads wouldn’t exist without the help and inspiration of many co-workers. First of all, the founders of the Clean Code Developer movement, Ralf Westphal and Stefan Lieser, provided all the content of the mousepads. Without their groundbreaking work, we probably wouldn’t have thought of this. The design and production is owed to Hannegret Lindner from the Hannafaktur, a small graphic design agency. We admire her endurance with our iterative approach. And finally, the initial inspiration sparked in a creative discussion with Eric Wolf and Benjamin Trautwein from ABAS Software AG.
It’s your turn now
We are very curious about your story, photo or action still with the mousepads (or the little stand-up display). You can also just share your thoughts about the whole idea or submit an improvement. We’d love to hear from you.