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Events coming up

There is another fun and engaging Clojure Coding dojo on Tuesday and is as popular as ever as the event is full.  It will be the last dojo before my “Getting started with Clojure” talk at JAX London, so am looking forward to learning some more things I can put into the talk.

Simon Maple and Zoey Slattery are also running the “OSGi: Lets get started” event on Tuesday.  This will be a great way to understand OSGi and what it can do to help your Java development and deployment.

Please see the list at the end of this email for a full schedule of up coming events. 

Time is running out to contribute to the community testing of the Java SE 7 Developer Preview Release .  The latest build is feature complete, stable and ready to roll – so download, test and report bugs before the April 4th deadline.  If you submit a bug report before the 4th, the Java product team will sing your praises on the Java SE 7 Honor Role, plus they will send you some Java swag. Bugs reported later on might not get fixed in time for the initial release, so if you want to be a contributor to Java SE 7 do it before the April deadline.

Firefox 4 was officially released last week and has already broken all the browser download records, with twice as many downloads as IE9 in the space of 24 hours.  In less than a week there have been around 37,000,000 (37 million) – which you can see if you head over to the neat looking download stats page, a great example of data visualisation and interaction.  Its good to see Europe beating North America at something, as we are still ahead in numbers of downloads.  Inside of Europe, Gernany is well ahead of everyone else and has more than twice the downloads of the UK.

Full Circle #47 is out and includes more programing in Python, LibreOffice and eBook Reader Software.  There is also a special edition: The Perfect Server detailing how to build a an Ubuntu 9.10 server and configure lots of common server services, available in English and Italian.  Even though its based on the older Ubuntu 9.10 server, all the steps are pretty much the same for the lasted 10.10 server version.

There are more videos available from The Server Side Symposium, including this short about Java 7 from two people you may recognise.

Summary of Last weeks events
At the Weekday testers event, there were over 40 testers online across several countries trying out different aspects of Firefox.  Javascript processing is much improved and makes certain sites much quicker to load.  Flash support seems much better and watching flash videos seemed quicker to load and start than in Chrome.  If you get the very latest build of chrome (or chromium on Ubuntu) then firefox was a few milliseconds slower, but the page rendering differences were hard to measure as they were so close.  I still use Firefox and Chromium together for my browsing, mainly so I can have different accounts on the same sites. 

Cuke Up was a great day of behaviour driven development and acceptance testing with many of the project leaders and influential people speaking or chatting between talks.  Highlights of the day for me include:

Matt Wynne – Mortgage Driven Development
Dan North and Liz Keogh – Deliberate Discovery
Aslak Hellesoy – Keynote and Cucumber update

It was great to hear that Cuke4Duke, the cucumber style acceptance testing framework will be getting a major upgrading to make it simpler to use.  Currently it runs via JRuby and a few other libraries, so the plan it to make it more Java like so you can use  There is also active development in the management of all your scenario files with the development of the Relish tool,  a web based tool to manage and navigate through your scenario files.  You will also be able to work with your cucumber files via a website, allowing you to edit your scenarios and features, making it very easy for non-technical team members to work with cucumber.  To see some of the soundbites of the conference, look at the twitter tag #cukeup

Applying Lean Software Development Principles Throughout the Organization

If you have write-ups of any events, please let the list know or send them directly to me.

Thank you


Events coming up

This week there is the talk on ScalaZ by the London Scala user group and the Developer round table by the London Software Craftsmanship community.

Tonight (Monday 7th) I am running a games night to help people learn and explore kanban, lean and system thinking.  I am joined by Karl Scotland who is another experienced practitioner with experience of delivering agile and kanban practices to many organisations.  If you are new to kanban and the ideas behind it, then its a great opportunity to learn more in a practical way (no kanban experience required).  Many teams are starting to adopt kanban, so its a good time to learn.  If you have been using kanban for yourself or you team, then you can share your experience as you play the games and learn some ideas from others.

The LJC are running a Getting Started session on OSGi by Simon Maple (IBM) and Zoe Slatery (IBM) soon and you may want to read the blog post Martijn wrote on OSGi as a warm up.

From Martijn Verberg blog post – As OSGi matures as a technology for application developers and with Jigsaw also coming into the mix around Java 8, now is a good time to learn about modularisation technologies in the Java space.

For those of you who want to practice your test driven development skills, there is a code retreat on 12th March down in Winchester.  You will get a full day of TDD coding in a collaborative way and get to share ideas as a group.  If anyone wants the LJC to run another code retreat in London then why not suggest it as a meetup event.

If you want to practice your Clojure skills and learn more about functional programming, the March Clojure dojo (29th) is almost full, so sign up soon.

On Monday 14th I am running a workshop on distributed versus centralised version control, comparing git / mercurial / bazaar with subversion.  The workshop is mainly aimed at students and graduates, so if you know anyone who would benefit from this workshop, please let them know.

Full Circle magazine #46 is now out, full of useful guides and news on Ubuntu.  A special python programming edition has also been published to help get you started with the language.

Last week there was a major release of GlassFish Server 3.1.  This release extends the Java EE 6 Reference Implementation with new application development capabilities, centralised administration and high availability features.  Also including improved OSGi support for Java EE Applications, OSGi web console and Apache Felix 3.0.6 (Apache Gogo shell).  Another good feature is that when applications are re-deployed, GlassFish maintains HTTP session and EJB state, enabling rapid iterative development.  If you are new to Glassfish, also have a look at the community website.

Last week was also the first release (war) of Jenkins Continuous Integration server, since moving from the Oracle trademarked name Hudson.  There has been a flood of developer activity on GitHub and the project is looking very healthy.  There are also packages available for Ubuntu and Debian.  I’d be really interested in hearing from anyone else who has tried Jenkins CI, especially migrating from Hudson.

Summary of Last weeks events
There was a good sense of camaraderie and sharing of painful experiences as I discussed the frustration of working for a company with a Mafia-like culture.  It seems that there are still a great number of companies out there that have problems looking at the way they work, with everyone too busy getting on with today’s work (problems) without knowing if its really benefiting the organisation.  I had lots of questions in the pub afterwards and lots of feverish scribing during the talk, so I hope I imparted some useful survival tips and maybe the seeds of change. 

JAX London Preview night was a little wobbly, due to the fact we were on a boat on a busy Thames river.  I think the wavey nature of the boat added to the ambiance of the evening though.  There were two great talks that evening, one on event driven architecture with Comet and the other on lots of new things in spring 3.1 (features just released that day).  Everyone that braved the cold had a good evening and we were treated to drinks at the bar by the JAX London team (on Facebook now).  I had all the vitamins and minerals I needed for the rest of that week from the Guinness that was bought for me.  Thanks everyone.

I had my first book review published on after a lot of trial and error.  The book was on Inkscape, a really great example of open source software which can be used to create all sorts of graphic design work, from simple buttons and logos to complete web site designs.  The submission process is a bit fiddly and not quite so clearly documented as I’d like, so I wrote my own guide.  Thanks to Packt Publishing for supplying the Inkscape book.

If you have write-ups of any events, please let the list know or send them directly to me.
Thank you.

Video of the week
I recommend watching another animated video from The called Language as a window on human nature.  A humorous, interesting and timely video giving insight on the aspects of human nature that may be driving the events in Egypt at the moment.  The video covers three main relationship types and the veiled language we sometimes use and why we use it.

Events coming up

Tuesday is social night for the LJC (including members from GDC,LSug,LCg,LtdWIPSoc), so I’m looking forward to meeting friends and making new ones.  The porterhouse is a lovely pub with a great selection of beers and some really nice food.   We have a large room at the back of the Porterhouse and there is a bit of a crystal maze to find it, so see the attached rough guide.

There is always a great mix of people at the social event, giving you an opportunity to talk about a wide range of topics from core java, how to get a job, functional programming with Scala/Clojure/Haskell, agile and lean practices.  As an icebreaker and default theme we are talking about diversity in the IT world.  If this is your first time at the social, we have greeters to help you meet people and feel welcome.

The GDC associates are also running a brainstorming session at the start of Tuesdays social to organise more events for the graduates on top of those already planned.  If you want to have some direct input, then come along to the social at any time and see what we have come up with.

This Thursday is the London Scala user group coding dojo.  This month we will be splitting into groups of 4 and working on a new problem.  If you have not come the Scala dojo (or have been away for a while) its a good opportunity to join in.  Free pizza and beer is kindly provided by Thoughtworks.

Since there are so many startups now in London, its not surprising that the Lean Startup group has become very popular.  There is a great talk coming up by Benjamin Mitchell on March 1st.  If you are involved in a startup or are thinking of setting up your own, this will be a very rewarding event.  These talks fill up pretty quick, so if you are really interested then sign up soon.

My mugshot has been put up on the JAXLondon event site for my “Getting started with Clojure” talk.  If you can prove to me you have viewed my bio, then I may buy you a pint at this weeks LJC social.  Any constructive feedback is welcome.

Summary of Last weeks events 

I ran a very enjoyable and educational kanban clinic last week and my thanks to everyone that came along.  The evening was mainly spent around whiteboards and I divided the packed out room into three groups – beginners, intermediate and experienced.  I walked through the basic kanban concepts with the beginners whilst the other two groups started to collaboratively design and enhance their own boards.  I also presented my first iteration of “Subway as a Kanban”.  There was a great mixture of roles in the room, including devs / testers / pm’s / hr / recruitment / etc so there were lots of interesting questions and ideas floating around.
If you are interested in Kanban or are trying to improve the way you work, I have another session at the end of the month on how kanban can help change a “toxic cluture” in my talk titled Kanban Vs the MAFIA.At DevTank last week there was a talk on how to engage with the (technical) media from Mike Butcher at TechCrunch.  It seems journalists are flooded with information on a daily basis and it requires a lot of work to build up a good relationship and send them the right information in a timely way. 

After eating from some very large pizza boxes and drinking some beer, thanks to sponsorship by Moo (who have some great business card designs), there was talk on Erlang.  Erlang is another functional programming language that was developed by Ericsson and is still widely used in telecomms today.  (who else is using Erlang..).  The talk gave lots of useful info and tips on how (and why) to get started with Erlang…..

Unfortunately I was away and missed “Learning Clojure the dojo way”, so if anyone has a write up, I am sure we’d be interested.
Thank you
John Stevenson

What is the LJC

The London Java Community (LJC) is a group of Java Enthusiasts who are interested in benefiting from shared knowledge in the industry. Through our forum and regular meetings you can keep in touch with the latest industry developments, learn new Java (& other JVM) technologies, meet other developers, discuss technical/non technical issues and network further throughout the Java Community.