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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 is a unique part-time paid opportunity for any Undergraduate interested in Software Development.

 Skills Matter is Europe’s largest training organization focused around Open Source Technology & Agile Software Development. They regularly hold events on bleeding edge technologies in their offices in Clerkenwell, London. They are looking for a pool of approximately 20 Computer Science Students to help with the filming and podcasting of these free evening sessions.

This really is a superb opportunity for computer science undergraduates:

  • You will receive £50 for the evenings work.
  • You will receive a voucher to attend one day’s worth of a Skills Matter course on Open Source Technology or Agile Software development, absolutely free, for every 12 accepted podcasts + articles. (terms apply)
  • You will have a chance to attend presentations from some top industry speakers on a variety of events and keep up to date with what is going on in the industry.
  • You will be networking with top industry professionals. Previous podcasters have gone on to get full time positions in major industry consultancies and become committers of major Open Source Software products as a result of their involvement in the podcasting.
  • You will receive a voucher to exchange for a free drink at the pub after the event.
  • Finally it will be impressive on your CV and a good talking point at interviews.

A few of our members have already been involved in this scheme. Here is the feedback from Ikenna Okpala:

“As a student of computing, it has been my desire to learn more about open source technologies and understand in detail what agile processes are all about. 

I have been filming events and talks for Skills Matter for seven months now. It has been a very good experience working with the staff. In return for what I do, I get paid for each video and can choose a training course. I have taken the Spring course and hope to do more if time permits. I also get to attend important conferences and events organized by developer and agile communities. At these conferences I get to meet great minds, participate, learn and get the materials free of charge from the events. 

This has greatly broadened my knowledge of open source software and especially Lean/Agile methodologies, which I am now ever fond of.”

It will be of interest if you are interested in the following areas:

  • Java and JEE
  • Ajax and RIA
  • Agile and Scrum
  • SOA and Rest
  • Erlang
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Open Source .Net
  • Apache and Tomcat
  • Cloud and Grid

If you would like to apply please send an email to please say that you have heard about the scheme through the Graduate Development Community please also advise of your chosen area of technology interest. For the full details of the scheme see here:

We had a superb evening on Wednesday. For those that want to check out what we do – here is a link to the podcast of the event:

Thanks firstly to Darci Dutcher, Rebecca Stafford and Jenny Wong of Thoughtworks Ltd for their presentation and hosting the game. They did a great job of explaining the principles to Agile and XP techniques before hosting the game and providing examples of how a real software development project plays out.

Thanks also goes to SkillsMatter, the largest technical training organisation in Europe, for sponsoring the venue. Please visit their site at to see the latest free events and training course they run.

 Here is some feedback on our official site from the event:

“Wow, it was great fun. Special thanks to ThoughtWorks for providing a great seminar with an interesting game with LEGO. Will totally end up purchasing some LEGO for Christmas now :-)”

“Excellent introduction to Agile principles. Nothing beats a quick practice session to get a good overview. I left the meet-up with a better understanding of professional software development. Thanks for that!”

“Great event last night. Looking forward to the next one! Met an awesome group of people, will have to add you all on here shortly… :)”

More events to follow in 2010. Please help us grow by forwarding this to any undergrads, professors or graduates so they can follow the work we’re doing.

Barry Cranford

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.