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Events coming up
On Monday 14th I am running a workshop on distributed versus centralised version control, comparing git / mercurial / bazaar with subversion.  Its a good chance to try out these tools and get a good understanding of what is used in industry.

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 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.

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
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.

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.

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

“This post is from one of our current members who signed up and has attended the events to date, to give you an idea what to expect…”

I first heard about the Graduate Development Community (GDC) in November, through an internal email from the Senior Student Advisor at Brunel University. I have been to three events since then and have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far. The organizers have asked me to provide some feedback about the events so here’s a little post documenting my views.

The email I received about the GDC was sent to the 2nd and final year students in the computing department. The email was about the GDC’s first official event, which was held in the SkillsMatter office. It was a tutorial/presentation by ThoughtWorks about Agile methodology accompanied with an Extreme Programming (XP) Development game with LEGO pieces. I was interested about learning more regarding agile methodology, so naturally I signed up on and responded with a “yes, I’m coming” to the event.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with the first meet up, I had been to one of the London Facebook Developer’s Garage events a few weeks prior, which I had great fun at. I arrived a little early and met a few others who arrived around the same time. Sure, I was a little nervous at meeting new people, but everyone attending was interested in software development so everyone had at least one thing in common. I broke the ice with a few people by just asking them how they found out about the event and how their day has been so far. I met quite a lot of the attendees, roughly 40 people showed up.

ThoughtWorks LEGO Agile Presentation
One team hard at work discussing how they will approach the task

The presentation by ThoughtWorks was great; I paid much more attention than most of my lectures at university. After the presentation, we were split into roughly four teams of 8-10 people. Each group was given a box of LEGO and we were asked to build a specific thing over 3 different iterations. The full product eventually came together as we progressed through the iterations. After the game, each group tallied up there marks and my group came first! It was a fun, interesting and informative event. Most of the group headed to the pub after for a few beverages.

ThoughtWorks LEGO Agile Presentation
What we ended up making

Overall, my first meet up was very good so when I heard about the next one I almost responded with a “yes” without reading the date.

The second meet up was a joint event with the London Java Community (LJC), another group managed and run by Barry Cranford. It was a pub event, in which we all meet up in a pub and network with each other over a bunch of beverages. Why would any student or recent graduate decline a pub event?

Anyway, I went to this meet up and met quite a few people from different backgrounds. I found out that some of the attendees were also in some of the other groups on, such as the London Android group. It was interesting to find out the different perspectives and views people had on technology and software development. I learned about through one of the attendees, which is a website with 250+ mathematical/computer programming problems. The trick is that you have to develop code to solve each problem; however I want to learn more languages so I will have to solve each problem with a different programming language, this could get quite tricky!

The second meet up was a success too, I must be on a roll here, or maybe the GDC is just the right group that I had been waiting to join for a long time.

I received a notification about the third GDC event entitled “A glimpse into the future: What to expect in IT by 2020.” It was a talk presented by IBM’s Rob Nicholson about the Global Technology Outlook (GTO). IBM has been doing the GTO for over 25 years and spends around $6 billion a year in the Research and Development department to stay on top of everything. I was interested to find out what lies ahead in technology because I’d more than likely be working with it.

I accepted the invite and showed up to the event. I saw a few familiar faces and met a few new people who had joined the GDC through word of mouth. It was a very informative talk and I am excited about what will happen in the near future for technology and once again we all headed down to the pub after the event for a few.

Collected Business Cards via Networking
Some of the business cards I have gained by networking

If you’re currently studying a computing related degree, or you’ve recently graduated, or if you’re just interested in computing than why don’t you come along to our next meet up, you’ll be sure to have a great time. Developers are more sociable then you might think, and Barry is very helpful and accommodating. You’ll learn lots and you’ll be able to network with other graduates and professionals, plus you’ll have fun!

Daniel Lemon

What is the GDC?

The GDC, or Graduate Development Community is an independent community of undergraduate software developers. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the worlds of Academia and Business. We organise and host presentations and events with senior members of the development community as well as offering advice, guidance, internships and jobs through our community site.