About Jason Tang

Jason Tang has been with the company since 2007 where he joined as a Perl developer and has recently joined Web Ops on a secondment to gain special powers. Prior to joining net-a-porter he had been known to program in Perl, C, C++, Java and some other less well known languages like Scheme.
Hack Days

A quick Quick Search

Previously for our Hack Days, I’d been inspired by technical issues that are more commonly known as ‘Technical Debt’. Usually these are things that prevent me from being able to deliver features to the business. For example, a mechanism to black-box test our Order Importer, which later came in very handy as part of a significant project that happened about a year after writing that code. Good job that code wasn’t thrown away!

Our next Hack Day was fast approaching, and I didn’t feel there were any obvious quick hacks that I could provide a proof-of-concept for in two days, especially on my own. So I had a nosey at the wiki page that had been set up for people to post their ideas, and possibly draw in some interest and extra hands. This entry at the top (with the head of IT’s name beside it!) caught my eye:

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Software Engineering

Agile Tetris

Tetris. Reading this should strike a nostalgic chord with most if not 100% of us born into the computer generation. If you’ve never heard of it then you’re either less than 3 years old or you’re asking what a computer is. Well for the benefit of those people I’ll try to summarise.

Its a puzzle game based around the idea of having different shapes made up of four blocks falling from the top to the bottom of the game area and settling at the bottom. The idea is to complete a row by filling in the gaps, at which point the row will disappear. The game space is a fixed number of rows so you need to be careful rows are removed regularly else the entire game area is filled up and the game is over. To the side of the game area usually it’ll show you the next piece – this is invaluable in planning where to drop your current block. As you remove more rows the speed of the falling blocks will increase and it becomes a challenge of how fast you can think and plan the blocks.

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